Preserving Your Collection
Do you collect coaster- or park-related things? It's never too late
to begin taking care of your treasures!
WHAT YOU SHOULD AVOID (the bad stuff)
- Light (ultraviolet, fluorescent)
- Moisture (humidity)
- Airborne pollutants (ozone, car exhaust)
- Critters (bugs, rodents)
- Plastics made from polyvinylchloride (PVC) (smells like a new car)
- Stacking or overstuffing boxes or folders
- White glue, rubber cement, hot glue, self-stick tapes
- Pens (few exceptions)
- Metal clips, staples, and pins
- Rubber bands
- Dirt, body oils, perspiration
- Wood or acid-based paper storage containers
- Self-stick pages ("magnetic pages")
WHAT YOU SHOULD USE (the good stuff)
- Acid- and lignin-free storage containers, albums, and papers
- Cotton gloves to protect materials from oils and dirt
- Clean, dark, dry places for storage with good air
circulation, temperature between 40° and 70° F, and relative humidity
between 40 and 55% (avoid hot attics or damp basements)
- Plastic sleeves or sheets made from uncoated pure
polyethylene, polypropylene, or polyester (e.g., Mylar D or
Mellinex 516) (odorfree)
- Plastic and paper corners for photo mounting that
pass the PAT (Photographic Activity Test)
Here are some guidelines to help you preserve all the great stuff
you've saved . . .
NEWSPAPERS, LETTERS, POSTERS, AND POSTCARDS
- Store documents unfolded and unrolled,
if possible (fold lines eventually will tear). Separate acidic
documents with sheets of acid-free paper.
- Store documents in acid-free paper folders,
polyethylene or polypropylene sleeves, or polyester sheets
(see above). Store these in appropriately sized acid- and
lignin-free boxes with covers to block the light.
- Remove staples, paper clips, rubber bands,
and any metal fasteners.
- Don't use any kind of tape to repair
torn or damaged documents.
- Limit handling of documents to avoid damaging
them. Wear cotton gloves.
- Make a photocopy on acid-free paper of
newspaper or magazine clippings when the information is
what's important and not the clipping itself.
- Use a soft pencil (#2) to write the date on
documents if it's not there already.
FILM, VIDEOTAPE, AND AUDIOTAPE
- Copy your home movies onto VHS or DVD format,
and use these copies for viewing. Keep the originals.
- Store film and tapes in water-repellent
plastic or metal containers.
- Store film and tapes upright, on edge, not flat.
- Do not rewind video- or audiotapes after viewing.
Rewind them immediately before you play them again.
- Do not store tapes near heat or a magnetic field.
- Clean items before storing, if possible.
- Wrap textiles in acid-free tissue or clean,
white 100% cotton and store in acid-free box.
- Store textiles flat, if possible.
PHOTOGRAPHS AND SLIDES
- Don't try to flatten curled photographs or
remove them from self-stick pages. Consult a professional.
- If you must attach photographs to paper, use
acid-free photo corners that meet PAT requirements.
- Use acid-free paper envelopes or plastic sleeves
made from uncoated pure polyethylene, polypropylene, or polyester
(e.g., Mylar) to store your negatives.
- Photographs smaller than 8" x 10" can be stored
vertically (on their long edges) in plastic sleeves or paper envelopes\
in a box.
- Photographs larger than 8" x 10" should be stored
horizontally (flat) in folders or sleeves in a box.
- Photographs that are all the same size (e.g.,
4" x 6" prints) usually can be stored in a box either horizontally
or vertically together without individual sleeves or folders.
- Use a soft lead pencil (#2) to write on the back
of photographs on uncoated paper. Write on an edge.
- Use a felt-tip marking pen to write on the back
of photographs on resin-coated paper. Again, write on an edge rather
than in the middle. Wait for the ink to dry before stacking the photographs.
- Store fragile photographs or ones that are handled
often in plastic sleeves to avoid damage from abrasion.
- Copy or photocopy damaged photographs to protect the originals.
- Hold a photograph by its edges to avoid getting dirt,
oils, or fingerprints on it.
- Don't stuff boxes or folders too full.
- Don't discard your original photographs and negatives
if you decide to digitize your collection.
- Slides can be stored safely in polypropylene plastic
boxes, metal boxes, paper boxes, or in plastic slide pages (no PVC!).
- If you frame photographs for display, use
ultraviolet-filtering plastic or glass to slow fading.
METAL OBJECTS, NAMETAGS
- Store buttons, name tags, medals, or metal pins
individually in boxes or plastic sleeves, which can then be stored
in a larger box. A sandwich baggie will hold an individual object.
USEFUL WEB SITES
» Conservation OnLine
» U.S. National Archives & Records Administration
» Library of Congress
» Image Permanence Institute
SUPPLIERS OF ARCHIVAL PRODUCTS
» University Products
» Archival Methods
» Conservation Resources International
Are your closets packed with coaster shirts,
postcards, and other amusement park memorabilia? Donate your
stuff to the ACE Archives! As we say here:
We want this stuff!
We need this stuff!!
We want more of this stuff!!!!