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September/October 2002

Friedland Family Makes Donation to the Gerald R. Ford Conservation Center

The Friedland Family Foundation has once again made a sizeable donation to the Nebraska State Historical Society Foundation in support of the Gerald R. Ford Conservation Center Library in Omaha. Their generosity has contributed to the wide array of resource materials available at the Ford Center's library.

The library is the only one of its kind in the state and now, with the help of the Friedland Family's most recent gift, the materials in this specialized collection will be available for search and access via computers across the state, nation and even the world.

With the donation from the Friedland Family Foundation and a matching grant from the Nebraska State Historical Society Foundation, the Ford Center will be able to purchase equipment to install and provide cataloging services for the entire holdings of the library. A temporary library assistant will be hired to process the cataloging and install the system.

Private funding and generosity such as the Friedland Family's donation make it possible for all Nebraskans interested in protecting our cultural heritage to utilize the information and resources of the Ford Center Library to its full potential.

The Foundation and the NSHS Visit Retirement Communities Throughout Lincoln

The Nebraska State Historical Society Foundation, in conjunction with the Nebraska State Historical Society, is embarking on a new series of programs with retirement communities throughout Lincoln. The programs are designed to increase the awareness of the Foundation and NSHS and share a sample of the vast resources held by the Historical Society through entertaining stories of Nebraska's past.

The illustrated presentations explore Nebraska's past from its role in the production and consumption of food, to the settlement of the prairie, to the birth of the prairie capital. We have visited Silvercrest and Savannah Pines in Lincoln. Both locations had a full house for our "Lincoln in the Nineteenth Century" program with our featured speakers Jim McKee and John Carter.

We also visited Gramercy Hill and had a great turnout for our program "Photographing the American Dream" given by John Carter. We will visit The Landing on September 12, 2002, and hope to return to all the locations to present a new series of programs in about six months.

We're encouraging attendance not only from the residents of those retirement communities but also from family and friends in the Lincoln area and especially NSHS members. Please join us if you can.

Contact Stephanie Leutbecher at 402-435-3535 for more information or to learn more about scheduling a program in your community.

"Good" Assets vs. "Bad" Assets

Most of us have both "good" assets and "bad" assets in our estates. While nearly everyone considers his IRA a "good" asset, to the children, nieces, and nephews assigned to inherit your estate, there is a significant difference between stocks and bonds and an IRA.

If a child receives stocks and bonds, there is a stepped-up cost basis. He or she does not have to pay either income tax or capital gains tax on the value transferred by the parent. Of course, if there is a later increase in value, there may be capital gains, but only on the increase.

For this reason, the child considers a transfer of stock, bonds or land as a "good" asset. The child may continue to invest the asset for capital growth. With the lower capital gains tax, or a sale and charitable trust strategy, the child may live for thirty or forty years with an effective 10 percent tax rate on those invested assets.

On the other hand, an IRA for many children is a "bad" asset. The IRA distributions to the child will be taxed at ordinary income rates. Since they are added to the child's income, they may be taxed at a very high rate for state and federal tax purposes. For this reason, the IRA is not nearly as attractive an asset to a child, grandchild, nephew, or niece.

Recognizing the "good" assets and "bad" assets in their estate, many IRA owners have decided to transfer their stocks, bonds or land to children and their IRA or pension plan to charity. Because under the new rules you may select a charity as designated beneficiary with no change in your distribution schedule, this is now a very attractive option.

Selecting a charity, such as the Nebraska State Historical Society Foundation, saves both income and potential estate taxes on the IRA. In some cases, an accumulative income and estate tax on an IRA could be 50, 60, or even 70 percent. This is an excellent asset to give to charity, and it is very simple. Merely include the Nebraska State Historical Society Foundation as your designated beneficiary.

Your children will realize greater benefits from your estate by removing the "bad" assets. And your gift to the NSHS Foundation will impact the effect the Nebraska State Historical Society has on the appreciation and understanding of Nebraska's history.

For more information on how to pass "good" assets to your children with minimum tax consequences for them, contact the NSHS Foundation, your tax advisor, or attorney.

Nebraska State Historical Society Foundation
215 Centennial Mall South #408
Lincoln, NE 68508

Saving Your Family Papers
By Julie Reilly, chief conservator, Gerald R. Ford Conservation Center

Families accumulate a wealth of important and meaningful papers that denote the milestones in their lives. A ticket stub that brings back memories and emotions of a special date, paintings by our grade school "Rembrandts," wedding certificates, and family photographs all shuffled together in an old cardboard box on the top shelf of the laundry room represent the archive of each of our families. How can we save these treasures for the future?

What should I do first? Organize! Before any preservation activities can begin the papers, photographs, and mementos must be organized. A curator or archivist might recommend organizing the papers by family member or date, for example. After the papers are organized, it might be a good idea to separate those items that should be duplicated for other family members or for display.

How can I duplicate my special items? Papers and other memorabilia can be duplicated by a number of processes: photocopies, black and white negatives and prints, color transparencies and prints, and digital images and prints can be made. Black and white negatives are good archival duplicates. Photocopies can be used as facsimiles for access and reading to reduce wear and tear on the original. Digital images can provide the maximum detail and allow for easy duplication and sharing of images. The most important thing to remember when duplicating precious original materials is that photographers or processing technicians can easily damage them, because they are usually not trained in the special handling that fragile old papers require. Photos that are curled or curved can be broken under the cover of a copy machine. Clumsy "touch-ups" by a restorer can permanently damage items. Take them to a professional that you trust.

How and where should I keep my papers? The most important aspect of storage for special items is to provide a stable environment that doesn't include wide swings in temperature and relative humidity. Basements and attics are generally not good places to keep anything for the future. It is better to store these items in living spaces, like under the bed or in a closet. Acid-free, lignin-free, paper storage boxes, folders, and enclosures are good for storage. They allow for air movement and buffer changes in relative humidity. Plastic boxes don't allow moisture in the air and in items to moderate as the environment fluctuates. Plastic containers can cause condensation, which can damage papers and other items.

How can I display important items? Flat, paper-based items can be matted and framed in acid-free, 100 percent ragboard mats with acid-free, 100 percent ragboard backboards, but they must be properly affixed in the mat. Double-sided tape or pressure-sensitive tape of any kind is damaging and should never be used on your original objects. Photo corners should be used. In many instances, a conservator should be consulted for advice on framing. A better solution might be to display a good copy of the original. Extensive light exposure causes irreversible damage to paper items, so display of original items should be limited.

Original family papers and photographs should be handled very carefully. Deteriorated paper is much weaker than the new paper encountered on a daily basis. Items that have been tightly rolled or folded for a long time might need the attention of a conservator. These items are often torn when well-meaning individuals attempt to pry them open. They can often be safely and successfully flattened and repaired by a professional paper conservator. This type of work is very technical and cannot be done at home. The conservator will have the proper equipment and chemicals to do the work safely. If you have any questions about your special family archives, please contact the Gerald R. Ford Conservation Center, 402-595-1180.

Foundation Board of Directors

James W. Hewitt, Lincoln, President
Allison D. Petersen, Walton, Executive Vice President
Joanne F. Shephard, Valentine, Secretary
Robert D. Northrop, Lincoln, Treasurer
Jack D. Campbell, Lincoln
Thomas Creigh, Jr., Hastings
Martha A. Greer, Lincoln
Steven E. Guenzel, Lincoln
Diane N. "Diny" Landen, Omaha
Dr. Frederick C. Luebke, Lincoln
Lu Marcotte, Nebraska City
Dr. Martin A. Massengale, Lincoln
John D. Massey, Scottsbluff
George H. Moyer, Jr., Madison
James F. Nissen, Lincoln
Cynthia Olson, Lisco
Amy Scott-Willer, Omaha
John W. Webster, Omaha
S. N. "Bud" Wolbach, Grand Island
Dr. John Wunder, Lincoln

Dorothy G. Hevelone, Beatrice, Director Emeritus

Lawrence J. Sommer, Lincoln, NSHS Director, Ex-officio
Keith Blackledge, North Platte, NSHS President, Ex-officio
Jim McKee, Lincoln, NSHS Treasurer, Ex-officio

Contact Information:

Jackie Spahn, Executive Director
Nebraska State Historical Society Foundation
215 Centennial Mall South, #408
Lincoln, NE 68508-1813

Ph: 402-435-3535
Fax: 402-435-3986

July/August 2002 Issue

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Last updated 30 August 2002

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