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