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DeepSkyBagger

Leaving a Legacy

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This might seem a wee bit morbid, but I've recently been wondering what will happen to my observations, journals etc., once I shuffle off this mortal coil. I've been making observations for over forty years (and hope to make them for several more decades yet, I might add), and this all amounts to several journals and lever arch files full of my drawings of deep-sky objects.

I doubt they'll mean much to any family members, so I was wondering if anyone knew of an organisation or body that would take these items and curate them for the future. 

This may seem trivial, but they're important to me, and represent a substantial amount of work over my life. I know it won't bother me when the time comes, but right now, I worry that my 'life's work' will simply be chucked within a few weeks of me trotting off.

Anybody else worry about this sort of thing? Any ideas?

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I would have thought a local Astronomical Society would take them, assuming they have the storage facilities?

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How about scanning them all so you have them electronically at least as a start? They could then potentially be made available more widely in a more useable format, perhaps even on a website of some sort.

I agree it would be nice to give the hard copies to an astronomical society of some sort, but I would make sure it is a sizeable one with a facility to make them available for people to access.

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I feel remainders after death are reminders that we loved those who have now gone but we must try to let go of most of their things, as we learn to 'let go' of those we loved. I know this sounds callous but for those who still live, deciding what to keep when a loved one dies can be incredibly overwhelming and emotional. Our heart is already broken from the death of a loved one and now it is wrenched further as we face the cruel burden and the terrible guilt of sorting through their private belongings and memories.

In view of this, in view of those who will still live after I go, I try to keep my clutter to a minimum. Every twelve or eighteen months, most things get chucked or sent to charity. Scale models, paintings, sketches, note books, log books, journals, writings in general, are simply binned. Nothing is sacred. I'm only just in my fourties but have kept this habit ever since my father died some thirty years ago and if there is concern about a legacy, a gentle whisper from Benjamin Franklin will bring me back down to Earth, "If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead, either write something worth reading or do something worth writing."

Perhaps your astronomy journals will be of benefit or a pleasure for future generations. Perhaps they could be tweaked and turned into an excellent guide or insight into the adventures of a stargazer. Perhaps there will be a legacy worth keeping. I don't know. But I do know every person has a legacy. It may not be something we can write on our tombstones, but we all have an impact on this world. If that impact can be of love and of being good to people and other living creatures, then surely that will suffice and would be a wonderful legacy of one's life's work to leave behind.

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I have thought about this regarding my images, years and hours of work and I mostly have them on websites.

Over the years these websites could shut down and they will be lost to cyberspace after all that hard work.  Plus family and friends don;t know where to find them on the internet anyway.

So earlier this year I decided to get them printed in a book, and gave both my kids a copy and various friends have bought some and so my images will live on.  I hope the book will be handed down the family generations.

I did not print the book for selling purposes as that would have doubled the price, but a few friends, especially astro friends have bought a copy off me at cost price.  

I have also made a leaflet (which badly needs updating), of all my equipment because no-one in the family will know what is what, what they are worth and where they could sell stuff.  It is in the safe with my Will.  Photos, descriptions and value against each.  I'd hate to think my kit was given away or dumped because they didn't realise what it could be worth or how to deal with it. 

Carole 

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That is why I bought the 3 volumes of Burnham's celestial handbook. For the pure pleasure of perpetuating his memory. If you don't know who he is, his life is a tragedy

So, maybe you could put this all in the form of a book and self-publish it ?

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24 minutes ago, carastro said:

So earlier this year I decided to get them printed in a book, and gave both my kids a copy and various friends have bought some and so my images will live on.  I hope the book will be handed down the family generations.

What a lovely idea ! Once I get enough (good quality) material, I might actually do the same :) What a nice way to be remembered.

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My legacy will be the Astronomy Centre, all of my equipment will stay on and hopefully continue to be useful long after I am gone.   😀

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A couple of people I knew died recently. One left a huge collection of interesting but distinctly, narrow interest, antique items.
Which were duly auctioned and bought by a further generation of obsessive collectors.
Fortunately the number and rarity of so many items was worthy of two days of specialist auctions.

The other wrote a large and heavily illustrated book on the abstruse subject related to the physical materials of the other's collection.
The number of copies sold and the likely number of a new reprint are [unsurprisingly] very small indeed but much admired by collectors.

Their names will both be remembered for at least another generation of the few bods who find the subject matter interesting.
Both contributed, in their own way, to the sum of human knowledge. Albeit within a very narrow field of special interest.

Several related forums have risen and fallen again with changing ownership of the forum platforms. There are very few posts or posters.
My own blogging has fallen foul of the same problem. Tech empires rise and fall again. Sweeping away familiar names.

Conditions change, as does the technology.  The ability to post pictures and then videos and their technical quality, improves constantly.
What price my own software in BBC basic on floppy disks or cassette tapes? Or VHS videos, music cassettes and 78s?
Most vinyl ends up in a charity shop. Where is rests until permanently warped by the cardboard box it came in.

Unless something is published and of general interest it is very unlikely to survive a generation change.
Interesting collections are converted instantly to "that old junk he used to play about with" once the dearly obsessed moves on and the family are left to bicker over the worthless spoils.
Beloved items from a lifetime's obsessive collecting [hoarding] quickly descend to charity shop status. Or worse, a trip to the recycling yard. Or, more often, direct to the tip.

Do we owe anything to the next generation unless it has real and lasting value? Our egos might desire immortality but will it survive a house clearance?
Burdening the next generation with your "life's work" may not even be a kindness. Does it have real scientific or historical value?
Is your "junk" easily recognisable as valuable antiques roadshow fodder which might contribute to the funeral costs? Be honest!

Does your family have access to the few other obsessives who share your interest but are scattered behind user names and spread thinly across the Internet?
My own "junk" might fetch only a few thousand if only it could be distributed efficiently into the right hands. But most items are large and heavy and very fragile.
They are also in completely the wrong place geographically to find a ready audience for any "bargains." My specialist library will never survive my parting.
After an accident I stuck Dymo tape labels to my most valuable items as guide to their age and maker's names. But who will ever read them?
Do your family a favour and get rid of your stuff before you have your accident, heart attack or stroke.

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A chap inherited an old violin and an ancient oil painting so he took them along to an antiques expert for a valuation. After due deliberation the expert said "the good news is that you have a Stradivarious and a Rembrant, unfortunately Rembrant made rubbish violins and Stradivarious couldn't paint to save his life".     😀

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