3 Tips to Preserve Your Family Photographs

Wondering how to best preserve your family photographs in 2017? Here are 3 tips for preserving photographs.

Avoid Adhesives To ensure your photographs last for many years it is best to avoid adhesives such as glue or tape. Adhesives present problems because adhesives are not always acid-free; additionally, they are also permanent and non-removable and may seep through a photograph causing deterioration and irreparable damage.

Over time glue can also become brittle and begin to flake. While some glue is available in an acid-free variety, we suggest you avoid it all together and turn to other alternatives that will be safer for your photographs in the long run. For example, temporary holders like photo corners or photo pockets are clean, damage-free alternatives to house photos so that it can be removed. Avoid Magnetic Photo Albums Second, when storing photographs it is also best to avoid magnetic photo albums that utilize acidic adhesive to keep photographs in place. These adhesives are not acid-free and can slowly eat away at the back of photographs. Additionally, the plastic cover in a magnetic album traps acidic fumes and can damage the front of the photographs. Consider storing your photographs in new albums, specialty photo storage boxes, or Mylar (polyester) sleeves to ensure optimal preservation. These sleeves and boxes protect photographs and are acid free which will prevent your photos from deteriorating. In addition, research photo albums before purchasing to ensure the album states that it is archival, photo safe and acid, lignin and PVC (synthetic) free. Room Selection Third, when storing photographs it is best to select a room that is not damp or humid and or does not fluctuate in temperature. Essentially, garages, attics, basements or rooms with exposed pipes or windows are off limits for your photographs. These rooms are prone to damp or warmer than average temperatures that can cause irreparable effects to photographs including water damage or mold. Store your photographs is a room that maintains a similar temperature year round that also has covered shelving or drawers such as a closet.

Think we missed an important preservation tip? Let us know how you’ve preserved your photographs in the comments!

#photographs #preservation

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The  Campbell Museums' mission is to interpret and preserve the history of the Campbell area from its early beginnings to today and to relate that history within the context of the Santa Clara Valley region.

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Campbell Historical Museum & Ainsley House

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Campbell, CA 95008


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