The main threats to preserving your collections for future generations are heat and humidity, rough handling, and light. To prevent damage and prolong life:
- Give your collections a safe environment:
- Maintain moderate and stable temperature and humidity. Generally, if it's comfortable for you, it will be good for your collections. Avoid storage in attics, basements, bathrooms, laundry rooms, and other areas of high humidity and extreme fluctuations in temperature and humidity.
- Maintain clean air, good air circulation, and good housekeeping. Dust and pollutants in the air from cleaning products and other sources cause damage.
- Avoid storing and displaying collections in direct sunlight or under fluorescent lights. The ultraviolet radiation they emit causes fading and other damage.
- Store your collections in archivally safe enclosures, folders, boxes, and other containers that will extend their life and protect them from dust and pollution.
- Handle your collections with care:
- Avoid touching the surface of photographic prints and negatives with your fingers. For even better protection, use white cotton gloves when handling.
- Be especially careful when handling fragile papers and when turning pages of fragile books, albums, and scrapbooks to avoid tearing. Grasp books at mid-point to remove them from shelves rather than pulling them out by the top of the spine.
- Use archival quality mats and frames to display collections safely.
Need supplies, advice, or services? Here are some recommendations:
Archival and Photographic Supplies:
NOTE: Many local suppliers of "scrapbooking" materials advertise them as "archival." Although they may meet some standards, they may or may not meet the standards that make them the best choices for long-term preservation.
Preservation and Conservation Information Sources:
Professional Conservation Services: