The last 2 Saturdays, I've written about my mother's family photo album and the process I've gone through to digitize and preserve it. You can read about it here and here. Today I'm going to explain how I handled the physical preservation part.
This was the really hard part for me because frankly, I wanted to take the album apart and get those pictures off of those black acidic album pages and away from the nasty glue. In the end, I decided not to attempt removing the photos with floss or a flat spatula type tool as had been suggested by several people. The pictures were glued on incredibly well and I was afraid of damaging the photos.
What I did was place one or two sheets of buffered lightweight paper between each album page to protect the pictures from acid migration as much as possible. This didn't add too much volume to the album since the buffered pages are fairly thin. The reason I added two in some cases was because I had sketches of many of the pages with notes that Mom had made identifying the pictures. I put those sketches between the two pieces of buffered paper to prevent any potential damages to the photos.
Next, I put the album in a drop front, archival box that had passed P.A.T. with a copy of the inventory and provenance I wrote about last week, labeled the box and put it away in the dark, temperature controlled closet that I call my archive. I am still hoping that eventually I can figure out a way to get those pictures out of that album. In the meantime, at least I can rest a little easier knowing the album is in a much better situation than before starting this project.
There were several resources that helped me with this project. Here is a list of the ones that I found the most helpful. I hope you will find them helpful too.
The Practical Archivist
Sturdevant, Katherine Scott. Organizing & Preserving Your Heirloom Documents. Cincinati: Betterway Books, 2002.
Taylor, Maureen A. Preserving Your Family Photographs. Cincinati: Betterway Books, 2001.
To read the other installations in this series:
© 2010, copyright Michelle Goodrum