If you have old photographs you want to store, knowing how to preserve these photos is necessary. Keep reading to learn four archivist tips for preserving old photos.
Label Your Photos
Labeling photos is essential because it keeps track of dates, times, places, and individuals. For example, you could have a photo of someone at a rock concert in the 1970s, but people might misinterpret the context if there’s no caption. Failing to label photos can also make it difficult for researchers or anyone trying to locate photos of a designated person, place, or event.
Therefore, label your photos while sorting through them. Preserving the context of the image can be just as important as the image itself.
Protect Them From the Climate
The climate can damage your photos. For example, sunlight can cause them to curl up along the edges, decay, and fade. Excess heat makes the acid in the photo’s paper build up faster, leading to decay. Furthermore, arid climates make exposed photographs brittle.
To avoid climate-caused damage to your photographs, store them in temperature-controlled rooms that sunlight and drafts can’t reach.
Digitize Your Photos
If you’ve wondered how other people have gotten old images onto the internet, the answer is digitization. Fortunately, this compact, accessible, and indefinite form of photo storage is easy to do.
Simply scan each photo with a printer, then name and upload the resulting file. From there, you can save your digitized photos to your computer or share them with other people or websites. For photos captioned on the back, ensuring you scan and upload the back of the photo is one of the ways to preserve handwritten photo captions.
Digitizing photos is one of the best preservation practices, as digital files don’t experience the same effects of time and climate. However, digitized photographs do face accidental deletion, so ensure every photo is backed up on a hard drive and stored in the cloud.
Seek Out a Conservationist
Photos are hard to keep track of. Unlike uploading directly to social media, physical copies need to be organized, protected, and labeled. This process can be lengthy, but professional assistance would make the job go by faster.
A conservationist is a professional at keeping old items preserved—from antiques and heirlooms to photos and documents—so others can continue looking at them for years to come. A conservationist will help you store and preserve your photographs efficiently and well. They will probably also use special coatings to protect your photographs from premature aging.
These four archivist tips for preserving old photos will help you preserve your old photos for a long time. Whether you want to preserve your photographs for the future you or posterity and the world, these tips will help you do so.