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Selecting Storage Materials

Poor quality folders, envelopes, boxes and albums can hasten the deterioration of collections. Paper should be free of acidic compounds such as those in alum-rosin sizing and unpurified wood pulp. Paper and boards
should have very low levels of lignin (less than 1%) as lignin can cause staining, fading and degradation. Some of the most popular, archival safe products for storing paper include: File Folders (RF9115), Acid Free Envelopes (FF912), Newspaper Storage Box (NB10) and Corrugated Record Storage Carton Buffered (RC121510)

Board can also be manufactured to be relatively free of acids. The barrier board used for metal-edged archival storage boxes is 40 or 60 points thick. Archival boxes can also be constructed of acid-free corrugated board. One of the more popular Storage Boxes is the durable 60-pt metal-edge box for storing manuscripts, prints, and photographs (FBB10).

When using mat board for matting and framing works of art on paper, conservation board should be used. It is available in two-, four-, and eight-ply. The heavier weights are recommended for oversized items that need additional support. An affordable and safe Matting Board offered on Booksforever.com is made of purified wood pulp and has nonrag, high alpha cellulose content for long life. (CMBW21114).

Clear plastic enclosures are particularly useful for objects that receive continual handling and are too brittle to be handled unprotected, or like postcards, have visual content to be viewed. Artwork such as charcoal or
pastel should never be placed in plastic because static electricity will cause the image to lift. The Pet Boxes offered on Booksforever.com are made of neutral, stable 100% virgin polyethylene terephthalate. (PET-ASSTBOX).

Polypropylene, polyethylene and polyester are types of plastic suitable for archival storage because they are chemically stable and do not release harmful gases.

 
Single pages do come loose and need to be reattached. The same techniques discussed may also be used with photocopies that need to be tipped back into the volume.
 

The Storage Environment

The environment should have a stable temperature and relative humidity. This means removing collections from damp basements and overheated attics if at all possible. A shelf in a dark closet on the main floor is often the best location available in a home. Proper storage enclosures are even more important when storage conditions are less than ideal.

Materials break down if exposed to unacceptable levels of temperature and relative humidity. In general, the higher the temperature, the faster the deterioration will be. Similarly, high relative humidity can cause harmful chemical reactions. Also, a combination of the two encourages insects and mold. Low relative humidity (such as in heated buildings in winter) can sometimes cause embrittlement or desiccation. Control of contaminants is also recommended. This involves effective air circulation and filtration to remove pollutants from the air. A practical and stylish way to monitor Humidity levels is with the Wall Mount Thermohygrometer (W5033).

Light can have many damaging effects to documents, photographs and collectibles. In paper, the fibers become embrittled and can yellow. Ultraviolet light can also fade dye or change color, so that photos and documents become illegible or change in appearance. Blocking out the sun with curtains or window shades is the first step in preventing UV damage. UV filtering film or Plexiglas is also helpful in mitigating the potential damage. Fluorescent lights should be covered with UV filtering sleeves. UV Filtering Tube (UVT4824)

 
 
 
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