Practical and Useful Archival Storage Tips

Firstly we recommend that you assess your current storage methods and whether your treasured memories, documents or collectables are in a safe and secure environment, in particular the condition and location.

Are they exposed or subject to :

  1. Light,  in particular, sunlight
  2. High &/or fluctuating temperatures
  3. Damp conditions & excessive humidity
  4. Dust and Dirt
  5. Ordinary paper, card, metal, pvc, etc that could cause possible chemical reactions if in direct contact with your precious items
  6. Insect or vermin attack
  7. Poor handling and folding
  8. Lack of organisation
  9. Indexing and recording with pens/felt –tip pens
  10. Excessive weight bearing
  11. Adhesives/ tape/ sellotape & lamination
  12. No back ups (if applicable)

The above list should be considered as a list of don’ts, as each factor could in itself cause lasting and permanent damage - from fading and discolouration to tarnishing, scratches, creases and staining etc to your collection.

 

Recommendations:

  1. Always handle with care trying to avoid fingerprints etc and for sensitive, rare and delicate documents and coins use cotton gloves.
  2. Always ensure your collectables are clean, free from moisture, dust and dirt before storing.
  3. Try and keep to a constant moderate temperature with low humidity, good air circulation and away from direct sunlight, and if possible not in an area that could be subject to unstable conditions such as a cellar, loft or garage.
  4. Always use ACID–FREE and material of archival quality.
  5. If you have to use glue make sure it is photo-safe/ solvent-free
  6. Index and label your collection - try not to write directly on any of your photos or items but use caption inserts or label pockets instead
  7. If using digital media storage always use back ups, preferably more than one

Why use ACID-FREE materials?

If a material is acidic and comes into contact with other materials, it can migrate and may cause lasting damage and decay leading to discolouration or eventually disintegration. By using acid-free materials it will also slow the natural aging process of your collectable or image.