While looking for something interesting to watch on tv, I happened to stop on an old episode of “Pawn Stars.” If you haven’t seen it, normal, everyday people come to this family-owned, Las Vegas-based pawn shop.
One sell in particular got under my skin. This older gentleman was selling photos taken in 1898 during the Spanish-American War. Originally, he bought the photos as an estate sale. He wasn’t expecting to get much for them nor did he ($100 for 25 pictures).
It bothered me because I thought, “why not give them to an archives?!” To think how many cool, historic documents, photos, and artifacts that people give away makes me want to scream. I don’t begrudge anyone wanting to make a little money. After all, times are tough. But, when someone is looking rid of what they term “old junk,” it would be nice if they donated these materials or something.
But, maybe that’s where archivists should really step in and step up. Let people know that we take that stuff. It upsets me to think these items are being purchased at pawn shops and then sitting out or in storage under God-knows what type of conditions.