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 :
- Light, in particular, sunlight
- High and/or fluctuating temperatures
- Damp conditions and excessive humidity
- Dust and Dirt
- Ordinary paper, card, metal, pvc, etc. that could cause possible chemical reactions if in direct contact with your precious items
- Insect or vermin attack
- Poor handling and folding
- Lack of organisation
- Indexing and recording with pens or felt–tip pens
- Excessive weight bearing
- Adhesives, tape, sellotape and lamination
- 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.
- Always handle with care trying to avoid fingerprints etc. and for sensitive, rare and delicate documents and coins use cotton gloves.
- Always ensure your collectables are clean, free from moisture, dust and dirt before storing.
- 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.
- Always use ACID–FREE and material of archival quality.
- If you have to use glue make sure it is photo-safe/ solvent-free
- 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
- 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.