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care & preservation

To properly store your treasured photographs and documents in your home . . .

  • Store your photos in the driest and coolest area of your home, such as a closet (an average year-round temperature of 68°F is ideal).  While basements are great storage spaces, for photos they can be extremely harmful.  The dampness of a basement lends itself to photos sticking together and moldy memories!
  • Try to store photographs in an enclosure that will keep them safe from household/environmental hazards, such as dust and light.
  • If storing in an album, be sure it is non-magnetic and non-adhesive.
  • If storing in a box, do not use a metal box. If you are using a cardboard box, be sure it is acid-free.
  • If storing in batches (not in an album or frame), there should always be a sheet of acid-free paper between each photo.
  • Steer clear of storage made of PVC.  PVC produces acids that, over time, can ruin your photos.  Use PVC-free plastic.
  • Of course, archiving copies of your photos and documents on an archival gold CD or DVD is strongly recommended.  Keep these separate from your actual photos.  

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  • Do not allow rubber cement, tape, glue, ink or your fingerprints to come in contact with your photos.  If you must mark on or label a photo, use only a soft-lead pencil on the back of the photo on it’s edge/margin and avoid pressing hard. 
  • Slides and negatives should always be stored in an archival-quality, non-acidic enclosure.
  • Do not store slides/negatives together with photographs.
  • Always handle your photos by their edges and from behind.

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  • Avoid  displaying photos in direct sunlight.  If that is not an option, display a quality reproduction of the photograph instead so you can safely keep your precious photograph in optimal condition for generations to come!
  • If you are displaying a photo in a frame, make sure the backing is acid-free.  Also, to prevent the photo from touching the glass or Plexiglas, use an acid-free mat board to separate them.  Bonus points if the glass/Plexiglas has ultraviolet filtering!

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  • Which ever storage solution you choose (boxes, folders, etc . . .) be sure it is made from non-acidic, non-adhesive, lignin-free, sulfur-free, peroxide-free (no wood) and non-buffered materials.




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