Before selecting storage
materials, you will want to evaluate your collection from
several points of view. For the family collection, this may
be as simple as sorting photographs on the dining room table.
- Are the photographs unique?
- Do negatives exist to make duplicates?
- Are the prints valuable as works of art or as historical
- Are the photographs important to pass down through future
These answers will help set priorities and budgets. Next,
list the types of formats, sizes, and quantities of items
in your collection so that you can select appropriate storage
materials. Anticipate the use the collection will receive.
- Who will use the photographs?
- Will the photographs be frequently shown or used?
- Will the photographs stay in one location or be frequently
Handle prints and negatives along the edges, preferably wearing
white cotton gloves. Dirt, dust, and oils from your fingers
can cause permanent damage. Remove photos and negatives from
poor quality enclosures if possible. If prints are dry mounted
or glued to old album pages and mats, place the entire page
in a folder or sleeve.