From the Society of American Archivists website www.archivists.org
Seven Tips to Preserve Your Piece of History
Preserve your memorabilia from the 2008 presidential campaign, election and inauguration of the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama. The Society of American Archivists offers seven tips to ensure proper care and management of your historic keepsakes:
1. The best protection for your photographs, newspapers, campaign buttons, event tickets, and bumper stickers is a cool, dry, stable environment (for example, moderate temperature and humidity with relatively little fluctuation, clean air and good air circulation, no natural or fluorescent light, and good housekeeping).
2. Valuable paper collections do not belong in your attic or basement, which commonly are subject to excessive heat and/or moisture. Avoid storing materials beneath or close to such water sources as washing machines, bathrooms, or air-conditioning equipment. And be sure to consider what is in the room above your collection.
3. Heat causes damage. When displaying your framed photos, newspapers, invitations, and other memorabilia, don’t hang these valuable items over radiators, heating ducts, heat-producing appliances, or fireplaces. Anything with long-term value should be housed away from heat sources.
4. Light causes fading and other damage. Keep photos and other memrabilia “in the dark” as much as possible; don’t put them in direct sun or bright light. Hallways or other rooms without windows are best. Install shades and/or heavy curtains where you can’t avoid windows. If you must display an item in direct sun or bright light, consider obtaining a high-quality scan and displaying the digital print instead.
5. Indoor pollution rapidly damages paper and is a growing problem in energy-conscious spaces with good insulation. Any valuable photo or paper-based document on display should be protected by a preservation-quality mat and frame. The glass or plastic covering, which protects the item from pollutants and dirt, should contain UV filtering.
6. Photos, letters, clippings, and other family documents should be stored unfolded because folding and unfolding breaks paper along the fold lines. Storing photos and documents in folders rather than envelopes is recommended because envelopes can cause damage as items are removed and replaced.
7. When considering whether to use paper or plastic enclosures for your photos, select enclosures that pass the Photographic Activity Test (PAT). This test ensures that the enclosure will not react chemically with your photos. Supplier catalogs should indicate whether a photographic storage product has passed the PAT. To read more about the PAT, see the Image Permanence Institute’s “Archival Advisor” web page at www.archivaladvisor.org/.
From the Institute of Museum and Library Services website www.imls.gov
Six Tips to Preserve Your Election Collections
Across the nation, Americans are saving newspapers, posters,
buttons, and bumper stickers to commemorate the historic election
and inauguration of Barack Obama, America's first African American
president. Anne-Imelda M. Radice, Director of the U.S. Institute of
Museum and Library Services (IMLS), encourages citizen-collectors to
make sure that their presidential inauguration collections will be
preserved long into the future.
"The election day newspaper--cared for properly--will still be
there years from now to remind us and future generations of this
singular moment in American history," Radice said. "This is a
great time to raise awareness of the need to protect election
and inauguration-related items from common threats such as high
temperature, humidity, and light exposure."
This guidance was excerpted from Caring for Your Family Treasures by
Heritage Preservation, IMLS's partner in Connecting to Collections,
a multi-year, multi-faceted initiative that aims to help museums and
libraries save their collections from poor storage conditions, pest
infestation, and exposure to light, humidity, and high
Follow these simple preventive steps to keep your treasures safe and
sound for the next generation:
1. If you feel comfortable, your treasures will be comfortable.
When you feel hot or cold, damp or dry, so do your
treasures. You wouldn't feel comfortable living in the
basement or attic and neither are they. You feel better when
there is good circulation; so do they.
2. Avoid extremes of temperature and humidity. Strive to
maintain as moderate and stable a level (72 degrees
Fahrenheit and 50 percent relative humidity) as practically
possible. When choosing where to display or store objects
remember that the conditions of the interior walls, room,
and closets are more stable than those on the exterior.
3. Create micro-climates and use protective covers. Matting and
framing with proper materials creates protective
micro-climates, as do chemically stable boxes (even boxes
within boxes). Use dust covers on stored objects and
polyester liners on wooden shelves to protect your treasures
from dust and pollutants.
4. Limit light exposure. The damaging effects of light are
cumulative. Take precautions with the amount and type of
light to which your treasures are exposed.
5. Inspect your treasures regularly and tend to problems as
they arise. Regularly checking your treasures will help you
monitor and tend to problems as they arise. A water
condensation problem might not be present in the summer, but
left unattended during the winter, could cause serious
6. Be sure that any alterations are reversible. Respect the
original historic materials and structure. Don't cut an
artwork to fit a frame. And if you must clip a photograph
for your scrapbook, do it to a copy and keep the original
For more information on preserving your collections, please go to
the Guide to Online Resources section on Care For Collections at