Keeping Your Photos and Documents Safe
Eric Curtis M. Basir
Photo and document restoration is an important task for serious amateur and professional genealogists. With the broad use of photo editing programs, scanners, cameras and printers, it is becoming increasingly important.
As one would painstakingly research county records for important family links, so should one do with photographic preservation and restoration.
An ounce of prevention…
The best thing you can do for family photographs is to avoid restoring them! No matter if the pictures and documents are in good or poor condition, follow these basic guidelines to keep them as such:
1. Hold photos by their edges. Preferably, wear clean white gloves when handling your photos. This keeps oily fingerprints from embedding on the photo.
2. Keep those negatives sealed in a cool, dry space (a consistent 50% humidity). You can lose and tear up all the prints you want if you have the negatives. Keep prints stored in similar areas.
3. Only use photo-safe adhesives at a local hobby or craft store. Never use regular glue, tape or rubber cement (unless you want gooey yellow blobs on your great-great uncle’s forehead).
4. Use high-quality PVC-free photo albums for original prints. Cheap photo albums will leave others with a mess on their hands.
5. Photos will fade, fold and faint in direct sunlight! No matter how nice the frame is, glass or plastic can eventually bond with the surface of the print and make it impossible to remove. Always frame copies. Store the originals in a safe place (see No. 2).
Copyright © 2016 Eric Curtis M. Basir