Caring For Your Family Records
Treatment by a conservator is only one facet of preserving records. Proper handling and storage of your paper records will preserve them for the next generation's care. There are several main dangers found in the home that could threaten the stability of your record; light, pollutants, fluctuating temperatures and pests.
A properly fitted box and folders will keep your records safe from light damage, over exposure to pollutants and changes in temperature.
Carefully remove all paper clips, post-it notes and staples before storage. These materials will break down/rust over time and damage your records.
Keep records stored in a cool and dry place. Avoid places in the house where the temperature will fluctuate throughout the year.
Provide archival storage housings to achieve long lasting preservation. This includes Mylar sleeves for flat records and boxes for albums and objects. The materials that your housing is made out of matters. Make sure all boxes, mats and folders are made of 100% cotton rag or acid free materials. Museum and library supply stores are a great place to look.
Many tears happen because of mishandling accidents. It is important to be careful and focused when handling fragile items.
Before handling your records make sure to wash your hands and refrain from using lotions right before handling. The oils can stain and darken paper.
Brittle items should be handled minimally and only with a support paper underneath. Alternately you can store and handle brittle records with a support board and Mylar sleeve (leaving the item in the sleeve while handling).
Never tape your items in an attempt to repair them. It causes more harm than good; as the adhesive in the tape breaks down it stains your record and will eventually fail or further damage the paper when being taken off.
Please see the AIC (American Institute for Conservation) website for information on caring for photographs and objects; https://learning.culturalheritage.org/caring-treasures