Answered By: Stephanie Gardner
Last Updated: Jun 11, 2015     Views: 21

The most important things to remember when preserving historic paper are to store it in acid free materials, keep it at around 50 percent or lower humidity, but not too low; keep it at 70 degrees or lower temperature, avoid direct sunlight and avoid extreme fluctuations in temperature and humidity. You should also limit handling of the materials and consider digitized copies or photocopies as a way of displaying them.

We gently flatten the creases of historic newspapers here at Bridgewater College Special Collections using a bone file. We then store them flat in large acid free boxes. Some newspapers are stored in acid-free folders and some are housed in acid free plastic sleeves or are sealed inside acid free plastic sheets. Lamination is not recommended as a way to preserve historic materials. In fact, many archives seek conservation of materials that were previously laminated in order to remove the laminate! The best preservation practices are ones that can be reversed if needed. Avoid tape and metals on the paper.

Finally, most people’s goal in preservation will be to stabilize the materials and prevent further damage. It often takes a trained paper conservator to correct previous damage.

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