Dear Donia. . .

Send your preservation questions to Donia.Document Preservation Kit from Hollinger Metal Edge

We all have keepsakes we treasure and preservation specialist Donia Conn provides tips on how to take care of our special photographs, letters, books, and more in her advice column, Dear Donia.


Monthly Raffle

Each month Donia selects a question at random and sends the contributor a Document Preservation Kit from sponsor, Hollinger Metal Edge. Read more about the Dear Donia Monthly Raffle.


Storing a family history collection

 Hypes Family Papers

Q. Dear Donia, I have little space in which to store my family history collection, numerous & various papers, photos, bibles, etc. I have encased most in polypropylene sleeves, from there... | more




Removing the musty smell from objects stored in a damp basement

damp basement wall

Q. Dear Donia, If items (holiday decor, furniture, 35mm film negatives, etc.) have been stored in a damp basement and have a musty smell but no visible mold, what should be done to them before moving... | more


Is there a low-cost way to digitize old newspapers?

Old newspaper: Sacramento Reporter

Q. Dear Donia, I have some old newspapers (from 1875) that I want to preserve. Is there a low-cost way to digitize the content or should I plan on preserving the paper artifact? more



Preserving old photos and newspaper clippings

Ice skating on a frozen river circa 1900

Q. Dear Donia, I am a volunteer at my local public library assisting with the preservation of articles and photographs through copying and arranging the copies of the photographs and articles... | more


Storing USB drives in the archive

USB portable flash drive

Q. Dear Donia, We plan to copy audio/visual information from tapes, CDs and DVDs onto USB drives. Would a neoprene case be a good place to store these USB drives? Or would this be... | more



Options for framing Civil War discharge paper

Discharge paper for Myron Kennedy,1865-06-23

Q. Dear Donia, I would like to display in a frame my great-great-grandfather's Civil War discharge paper. It has printing and handwriting on both sides. What are my options? It has... | more


Removing old photos from albums with waxy pages and plastic cover sheets

Old photo album

Q. Dear Donia, How can I remove old photos from those pesky photo albums with the "waxy" pages and plastic cover sheets? When I remove the plastic covering sheet the photos are tightly... | more





Unframe a letter?

framed letter

Q. Dear Donia, A letter written in 1806 is sandwiched between two panes of glass and framed. I am afraid that the glass will break and destroy the letter. Should I have the letter removed... | more


Laminate an onion skin letter?

Airmail envelope from 1940s

Q. Dear Donia, I have a letter written on onion skin paper dated 1945. Can I laminate it to preserve it? more



ABC Sampler

Remove a water stain from an embroidered sampler

Q. Dear Donia, My mother embroidered a sampler about 55 years ago and it has been in a frame for more than 20 years.  I had it stored in the garage, and unfortunately, it got wet at the bottom and... | more





Store photos in a bank safety deposit box?

storing photos in a safety deposit box

Q. Dear Donia, I have documents and photos stored in a long narrow bank safety deposit box. Are they protected or should I also put them in archival paper? There is not room in the box for folders... | more


Preserving paper currency and coins

British coins

Q. Dear Donia, My mother has British paper currency and coins from 50+ years ago. It's the currency that was used before the current pounds and coins were introduced, so some of... | more


Preserve Onion Skin Paper

Excerpt of letter from 1831

Q. You asked, and we answered!  Last December, we asked our Facebook followers if they had specific questions about preserving old photos, letters or family documents... | more



Use Pale Blue Tissue Paper to Preserve Fabrics?

historic letters stored in box

Q. You asked, and we answered!  Last December, we asked our Facebook followers if they had specific questions about preserving old photos, letters or family documents... | more