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Preservation Tips

The following are general suggestions to help you preserve your family papers, photographs, art, and textiles:

  • Don’t store material in basements, attics, garages, or other areas, which are subjected to extreme temperature and humidity fluctuations.
  • Try to keep your objects away from direct sunlight or fluorescent lighting.
  • If objects are under a 150-watt or more light, keep at least four feet away.
  • Move objects from time to time so they are not always exposed to light.
  • Always have clean hands when handling objects. Oils and acids from our hands can damage materials whether it is cloth, ceramic, metal, paper or wood.
  • When labeling photographs, do not use ink; always use pencil on the backside of the photo.
  • Be careful not to have special oil paintings or pictures or special objects in direct line of air conditioning and heating vents.
  • When framing or matting special works of art, always request acid-free materials whether it is for water colors, photographs, lithographs, serigraphs and other medium. This may cost more, but your valuable art will last longer.
  • If possible, encapsulate documents with polyester mylar or polypropylene.
  • Acid free boxes and file folders are not readily available at stationery stores and must be ordered via companies which specialize in archival conservation supplies. Items such as acid free folders, boxes, photograph and negative sleeves, and acid free paper can be ordered to stabilize your documents and photographs.
  • Remember when you can do nothing else, keep your materials cool and dry. Keep them clean, and keep them in the dark

The below links provide more detailed information about caring for your collections. Some of these sites are vendors of products and services and the information offered is intermixed with commercial content. The mentioning of a resource here does not in any way indicate endorsement of any product or service, nor does it imply endorsement of the validity of the technical information itself.

Preservation and Disaster Planning Information

California Preservation Program (html)
Conserve O Gram Publications (html)
Disaster Mitigation Planning Assistance (html)
Henry Ford, "Care & Preservation of Antique Textiles and Costumes" (html)
Heritage Health Index (html)
Image Permanence Institute (html)
Regional Alliance for Preservation (html)
Smithsonian Museum Conservation Institute, Taking Care (html)

Preservation Supplies

Archival Methods (html)
Archival Products (html)
Brodart (html)
Conservation Resources International (html)
Gaylord Brothers (html)
Hollinger Metal Edge (html)
Light Impressions (html)
University Products (html)

If you have additional questions about preservation issues, please call (916) 808-7072.