Preserving Writing on the Back of a Photo

Dear Donia,
How do I preserve writing on the back of a photo?

Cracked photo

Q. Dear Donia,

Is there anything I can spray or lay on the paper-backing of a framed photograph to keep it from cracking and shredding further? It has handwritten information regarding the people in the photo. Thanks, Lee

A. Dear Lee,

Labels on the backs of frames are tricky. There is nothing that you can spray that will do any good in preventing the paper from cracking or shredding any more as it is most likely too brittle for any of the deacidification sprays to have an impact and there is no adhesive or coating that would prevent it from getting any worse either. The best thing to do is to first take a good digital photograph or get a good scan of the paper on the back. Then, if you wish to preserve the original, you can get a piece of clear polyester like this from our sponsor Hollinger Metal Edge and double stick tape it to the back of the frame to protect the paper. This won't prevent any more cracking or shredding but it will contain it and protect it from any damage from the wall. With the digital image, you will at least have the information before any more pieces flake off.

Hope this helps.