• Always handle historical items with great care. Wash your hands before handling and, if possible, wear white cotton gloves.
• Never write directly on photographs, front or back. It’s best to put photos in acid-free sheet protectors and label the sheet protector.
• Never put photographs, newspaper clippings or documents in albums with plastic-covered magnetic sheets. Never use tape, glue or other non-archival adhesive products because they will permanently damage the items.
• Copy an old photograph by taking a picture of the photo with a 35 mm camera that has adjustable lenses. Take it to a professional photographer or a print shop that has a Kodak Picture Maker. You can also scan it on your computer. Keep in mind, however, that you don’t want to expose a historical photo or document to the bright light of scanners and photocopiers any more than necessary.
• Make copies of all historical documents. Keep the copies in your genealogy files, enclose the originals in acid-free protectors, and store them in a safe place.
• Keep all historical documents and artifacts in a safe, dry, cool place away from vermin. If you live in a humid environment, pay particular attention to preservation. When I lived in Florida, my high school yearbooks were packed away in a cardboard box. When I unpacked them after moving to Colorado, I discovered mold and mildew had eaten away many of the pages. If you want something to last for generations, don’t leave it to chance; make sure you take precautions to preserve your precious items now.
• Archival Products
Des Moines, IA 50305
• Light Impressions
Brea, CA 92822
• University Products
Holyoke, MA 01041
On the Bookshelf
• Grandma’s Attic: Making Heirlooms Part of Your Family History by Russell D. Earnest (Russell D. Earnest Associates)
• Organizing and Preserving Your Heirloom Documents by Katherine Scott Sturdevant (Betterway Books)
• Preserving Your Family Photographs by Maureen A. Taylor (Betterway Books)