- Display copies of important documents instead of the originals
- If originals are displayed, keep light exposure to a minimum:
- Display a document for a while and then store it so that no single item is exposed to light for long periods of time.
- Turn off the lights when no one is in a room. Use lower wattage bulbs.
- Place on walls that get the least amount of sun.
- Close draperies and blinds when out of the room for extended periods of time or when not at home.
- Use ultra-violet filtering glass or acrylic for framed paper items. Use an acid-free mat or a spacer so the document does not touch the glass.
- Store important documents in a cool, dry place where there is minimal fluctuation in temperature and humidity. Generally avoid attics and basements.
- Letters and other documents are best stored unfolded and flat. Items too large to store flat are better stored rolled than folded.
- Use acid-free sleeves, envelopes, storage boxes, or albums. Polyester or polypropylene sleeves and pages are also acceptable.
- Never put an adhesive on a document or paper that you wish to keep permanently. Use photo corners, or polyester mounting strips or sleeves to mount items in albums.
- Remove paper clips and rubber bands, both of which can cause permanent damage to paper.
- Keep highly acidic paper such as newspapers and clippings from touching other paper items.
- If newspaper clippings are being kept for the content as distinct from keeping the original paper as an artifact, photocopy onto acid-free paper, which will last much longer than the original.
- Handle your important paper items by their edges and with clean hands to avoid soiling the surface.
- Advice for Framing Art, Document, Letters, Photographs, and other items on Paper MHS Conservation Tip (pdf)
- Encapsulation in Polyester Film Using Double Sided Tape NEDCC Technical Leaflet 6/5
- Conservation Treatment for Works of Art and Unbound Artifacts for Paper NEDCC Technical Leaflet 6/7
- How to Flatten Folded or Rolled Paper Documents NPS Conserve O Gram 13/2 (pdf)
- Preserving Newspapers: When and How To Minnesota History Interpreter Tech Talk, March 1997 (pdf)
- How to Preserve Acidic Wood Pulp Paper NPS Conserve O Gram 19/24 (pdf)
This handout is being distributed by the Conservation Outreach Program of the Minnesota Historical Society (MHS) as a public service. The distribution of this handout does not constitute a recommendation by MHS of any specific vendor or their products, nor will MHS assume liability for products supplied by a vendor. Each application must be evaluated individually and materials selected that best suit the condition of the object and how it is to be used. If you have questions about a particular application, treatment, or service, please contact the MHS Conservation Outreach program at: 651-259-3465, 1-800-657-3773, FAX at 651-296-9961 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.