Saving Your Stuff
Use these quick tips as a starting point for taking care of your precious items. Learn more about Preservation Week.
- Store magnetic media (cassettes or reel to reel) or discs (CDs and LPs) vertically in a cool dry place.
- Make sure playback equipment is clean and in good working order.
- Label containers with the event, location, people, and date.
- Reel-to-reel tapes should be stored tails out (wound backwards on the reel) to minimize the effects of sound bleed-through.
- Remove copy protection tabs to avoid accidentally overwriting.
- Store books in an environment where you are comfortable and away from direct sunlight.
- Use polyester covers to protect dust jackets or to keep deteriorating leather from staining other books. Fragile or damaged books can be stored in boxes.
- Handle books with clean, dry hands.
- Dust the tops of the books regularly to minimize pests and mold.
- Seal wooden shelves with water-based polyurethane or latex paint.
Photo from http://guide.wifilmfest.org/
Film and Home Movies
- Store home movies in a cool, dry place.
- Keep films in their canisters or boxes to keep out dust and light.
- Label boxes and films with the event, location, people, and date.
- Store home movies with sound tails out (wound backwards on the reel) to minimize the effects of sound bleed-through.
- Participate in Home Movie Day to be able to watch and share your home movies with family and your community.
- Back up multiple copies of your data on multiple types of media, and store in multiple locations.
- Name and organize your files and add to the file’s metadata.
- Migrate and refresh files when you get new software packages or a new operating system.
- Save files in stable, non-proprietary formats such as .pdf, .jpg, or .tif.
- Select and save only those files (email, photos, etc.) that are particularly important to you.
- Store textiles in an environment where you are comfortable being. Basements can be damp and lead to mold.
- Box or roll and cover textiles to prevent damage from dust and light. Inspect regularly for insects.
- Do not fold if you don’t have to. If you have to, pad the folds with tissue.
- Display dyed textiles away from direct light to minimize fading.
- Hang historic clothing on well-padded hangers and cover with plain cotton.
Documents and Paper
- Store papers in an environment where you are comfortable being. Basements can be damp and lead to mold.
- Organize papers into acid-free folders and boxes for easy access and to protect from light and damage.
- Handle papers with clean, dry hands.
- Protect artwork and documents from direct sunlight when displaying.
- Don’t force rolled or folded items open if they resist. Call a conservator.
- Store slides in a cool, dry place.
- Keep slides in their carousels or boxes to keep out dust and light.
- Label the containers with the event, location, people, and date.
- Use polyester, polyethylene, or polypropylene sleeves to store loose slides, not PVC.
- Clean the film side, not the emulsion side, with a cotton swab dipped in a water/ethanol mixture if slides are dirty. Clean the emulsion side with a gentle puff of air or lightly with a very soft brush.
- Handle photographs at the edges with clean, dry hands.
- Store photographs in albums that have acid-free pages or polyester, polypropylene, or polyethylene sleeves.
- Mount photographs with photo corners, not glue or tape.
- Store photographs in an environment where you are comfortable. Basements can be damp and lead to mold.
- Protect from direct sunlight when displaying.
- Store scrapbooks in an environment where you are comfortable and away from direct sunlight.
- Store older, fragile scrapbooks in protective boxes flat, not upright, on a shelf.
- Handle scrapbooks with clean, dry hands and turn pages with one hand underneath to protect heavy scraps.
- New scrapbooks should have acid-free support pages.
- Use photo corners to mount items in a scrapbook, not tape or rubber cement.
Oral Histories | go
Artifacts: Glass, Ceramics, Wood, Metal | go
Save Your Stuff! cards
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