More Information on the Long-term Care and Storage of Photograph Prints
Many of us have drawer fulls of precious snapshots we’ve taken over the years. This is not the best solution for long term storage of these valuable jewels of our personal history.
Photographs are in fact delicate in their make-up, and subject to damage from both our handling them improperly and deterioration from the effects of light, heat and humidity.
Minimizing each of these marauders of our heirloom pictures will help make them last for generations. Placing photos in protective holders is the first step in protecting and preserving precious snapshots. This can also help keep them from the damage casused by frequent handling.
Albums are an inexpensive repository for storing photograph. They can be sorted and grouped as needed, by page or book. They can be bulky, but very serviceable. Photo albums should be used for your best pictures. Weed out the poor images (blurred or unfocused). Eliminate duplicates–extra pictures can be stored in other containers with other similar snapshots.
Other photographic storage options are: folders, sleeves, envelopes and boxes. Which of these holders you wish to use is predicated on personal preference and the frequency with which pictures would be handled. Also, you have to consider the delicate nature of older photos . . . these require special handling and care. A separate folder or envelope is best suited for fragile older pictures. These individual holders/envelopes help support and protect delicate photos. Excessive handling of damaged or worn older photos only increases their deterioration. Adding a rigid acid free piece of paperboard will help support and protect these special pictures.
Plastic sleeves work especially well for photographs that are handled frequently. The sleeve should be made of a non-PVC material. Photo shops carry sleeves that are made for pictures. Pictures stored in folders should be well labeled to reduce the handling of the pictures. Oils from hands can be a harbor for mold. Copies can be made of older sensitive pictures or duplicates made.
Storage boxes made of acid free paper, or metal boxes can be used to store photos. The box used should be representative of the size of the photos being stored. There should be little room for movement of the photos. Pictures should be stood on end, and filler, where needed, added to void areas. The container should be well documented with the contents of the box–a list of pictures is a good way–set inside the contain. On the outside a general identification should be made . . . alphabetical, chronological, by subject matter, etc. –what ever is best suited to your needs. The last thing you need or want to do is rifle through several boxes to find just the right snapshot.
Keep your photographs organized and stored in containers that provide you with the best protection and accessibility.
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