Acidic paper = bad Acidic paper turns brown and extremely brittle. Acid from low quality paper can bleed onto neighboring pieces of paper. 4
Store your paper to protect it from six hazards: Keep at a stable humidity. Humidity above 70% promotes mold. Rapid changes damage paper. Keep away from heat. Heat causes paper to decay. Keep away from light. Light causes fading. Handle carefully to prevent tears. Avoid curling or folding. Store flat (horizontally or vertically) in acid-free folders. Beware of acid. Isolate acidic paper. Make preservation photocopies. 5
Store photos and negatives in a dark, cool, dry and ventilated place. Relative humidity of 20-50%. Temperature of 65-70ºF. 6 Protect your photographs. Enclose in safe plastics (Mylar®, Hostaphan® or Melinex; polyester, polypropylene, and polyethylene). Enclose in acid-free, lignin-free, paper envelopes or folders. All supplies should pass the Photographic Activity Test (PAT).
Hold photographs & negatives at their edge. Label your photographs Write on enclosures OR Write on the back Use No. 2 pencil for B&W Use felt tip, film marking pens for color. Write on the of the photograph on a flat, hard surface. 7
Display copies on the wall; protect your originals. Light will fade them. If you really want to display them... Use museum-quality mat board. Make sure photographs don't stick to the glass. Use photo corners, edge strips, or paper hinges. Display infrequently. Keep away from bright light, heat, and dampness. Should I digitize? Sure, but don't throw away the originals! 8
Take images at high resolution. Use common image formats (.jpg,.tif) Organize them logically. Back them up often. Understand the consequences of compression whenever you save. (Jpeg files are compressed.) Add captions that can travel long-term with the photographs. Avoid investing in proprietary or uncommon software. 9
Control the storage environment. Ink jet photographs are more sensitive than traditional prints. Use the best combination of paper and ink. Pigment-based inks are more stable than dye-based inks but have a smaller color range. Select archival papers that are acid-free, buffered, lignin-free and optical brightener-free. Coated ink jet papers work best with compatible inks. 10
All papers, plastics, and adhesives should pass the Photographic Activity Test (PAT), particularly anything that comes into contact with the photographs. Colored paper rarely passes the PAT. Never laminate. Types of albums Plastic pocket pages Paper pages (with or without plastic covers) Self-stick albums (Avoid at ALL costs.) The album should provide room for expansion. 11
When adhering items to paper pages… Do not use household white or yellow glues, hot glue guns, and rubber cement. They can fail, or cause staining or fading. 12 Do not use tape, even tape labeled as archival or passing the PAT. They ooze beyond their edges. Use plastic or paper photo corners that have passed the PAT. Use preservation quality adhesives, (e.g., purified starch paste or methyl cellulose) but dry carefully and dont add too much.
Older albums on black or colored paper… May not be harming your photographs. Staining and fading could be from poor photo processing, not the paper. Interleave pages with plastic sheets or acid-free paper. 13 Self-stick albums Dont remove photographs if the adhesive is too tacky. Store and handle albums carefully.
Keep books away from light, humidity, and heat. Dust carefully with a dry, lint-free cloth or a soft-bristled brush. Shelve books vertically; store large volumes flat. Don't pull a book off the shelf with the top of its spine. Leave an inch in front of and behind the book. Don't force a book open too far. Use bookmarks, not folded corners. Avoid post-it notes, inks and highlighters. 14
Store in a cool, ventilated, dark, dry place. Keep away from dust, smoke, and oil. Keep videos away from electromagnetic fields. Play on well-maintained equipment. Store videos on their side. Before storing, play through and do not rewind. Store film reels flat. Make sure they are evenly wound. Migrate videos often...or lose them. Videotapes degrade quickly (lifespan = 10-30 years). DVD formats keep changing. Be aware of compression in digital files. 15
More advice California Preservation Program calpreservation.org/education/ training_tools.html calpreservation.org/education/ training_tools.html Canadian Conservation Institute www.preservation.gc.ca Library of Congress www.loc.gov/preserv/familytreasures National Archives www.archives.gov/preservation/ family-archives www.archives.gov/preservation/ Northeast Document Conservation Center www.nedcc.org www.nedcc.org Society of California Archivists www.calarchivists.org/pubs/SCA_PY H.html www.calarchivists.org/pubs/SCA_PY H.html Wilhelm Imaging Research www.wilhelm-research.com www.wilhelm-research.com Archival suppliers Creative Memories www.creative-memories.com www.creative-memories.com Gaylord Bros. www.gaylordmart.com www.gaylordmart.com Hollinger Corporation www.hollingercorp.com www.hollingercorp.com Light Impressions www.lightimpressionsdirect.com www.lightimpressionsdirect.com Metal Edge, Inc. metaledgeinc.com Get Smart Products www.pfile.com Talas www.talasonline.com www.talasonline.com University Products www.universityproducts.com www.universityproducts.com Webway Photograph Albums os.shopwebway.com 16