How can I frame important family documents without them fading?
Q. Dear Donia,
I have a set of old newspapers and a land title in parchment that are a valuable part of my family’s history. I’d like to preserve these items in frames, but, I’m concerned about them fading. How can I safely frame and display these materials? Thanks, Luke
A. Dear Luke,
Thank you so much for your question. It is always nice to know that people do want to take care of their history.
The best way forward with your newspapers is to get a scan or digital photo of them and frame the facsimile. Newsprint is very susceptible to browning when exposed to light, especially ultraviolet light. Whichever you choose to frame, look for museum quality rag board. If you are doing the matting and framing yourself, please take a look at the helpful leaflet from the Northeast Document Conservation Center on "How to Do Your Own Matting and Hinging." This helpful guide will let you know how to best mount the newsprint so it will be safe for generations to come.
For the glazing, you will want to look for glass or Plexiglas that has UV blocking properties. TruVue glass and Acrylite Plexi are two examples. Choosing between glass and Plexi depends on what you want. Glass will be clearer, hold less of a static charge, and be more resistant to scratching but is heavier and not recommended for areas prone to earthquakes.
In regards to the parchment, you will want to find a conservation framer and not do this yourself as parchment is very susceptible to changes in relative humidity and needs very special framing packages to minimize fluctuations. To find a conservator near you, you can consult the American Institute for Conservation's Find a Conservator page. (Here are the results for your area.)
I hope this helps and if you have any more questions, please don't hesitate to ask "Dear Donia"!