If you love antiques and have old pictures at home, you want to make sure that you properly protect them. However, we often think that if we put them in archival albums or frames, that our belongings will be safe. However, that’s not always the case. Here is a series of blog posts I came across that was written by the Preservation Department at Duke University Libraries. These folks really know how to preserve things, so here is a summary of the 10 preservation tips they offered. However, to avoid writing a super long post, we’ll cover all ten tips throughout the week.
Tip #1: Provide a Good Environment
Part of protecting your photos and collections is controlling the environment- meaning you try to keep the temperature between 60-70 degrees Farenheit with a relative humidity of about 40-50%. You want to keep the temperature and humidity stable and avoid big fluctuations (greater than 5 degrees or 5% relative humidity). So, you never want to store your items in basements, attics, garages or any place where the temperature isn’t controlled. And you should always keep your items stored in places a minimum of 6 inches off the floor to avoid insect or water damage.
Tip #2: Provide Proper Enclosures
An enclosure is simply a way to help protect your item from direct exposure from the elements. An enclosure could be a picture frame, box or any other covering that would help to insulate your item. A proper enclosure should have a pH between 7.0 and 8.5 and be lignin free. This is often referred to as archival or acid- free which means that it has a neutral or basic pH and is lignin free. The enclosure should also be slightly larger than the item it protects.
That’s the first two tips….just 8 more to go! And, if you were wondering we do offer archival picture frames. Right now, our most popular archival frames are our Cirrus Metal Floating Picture Frames. However, in the next several months, we will be adding an entire portfolio of archival picture frames which even include museum archival glass.