Conservation Photo Feature – Vega Papers Processing at Wistariahurst Museum

Vega Papers Processing (Wistaria Hurst)
Project archivist Emily Toder holding one of the newly labeled boxes on the last day of processing (photo courtesy of Wistariahurst Museum, Holyoke, MA)

Last winter, Wistariahurst Museum of Holyoke, Mass, was awarded a Mass Humanities grant to process the papers of Holyoke activist and community organizer Carlos A. Vega.  As the collection arrived in plastic bins, binders, and all sorts of acid-full paper cartons and boxes, one of the first stages of the project was to identify and acquire the archival supplies needed to suit the large task of rehousing and properly accommodating the various sizes and formats of the collection’s different materials.  Its administrative records, clippings, photographs, posters, plaques, memorabilia, a diverse assortment of buttons, and one pez dispenser turned out to span 43 boxes (24.5 linear feet) of University Products’ 60 pt. buffered acid-free document containers, corrugated bulk storage cartons, and photos boxes. The collection demonstrating Vega’s tireless commitment to social justice, and documenting myriad facets of the Latino experience this culturally unique area of Western Massachusetts, is now open for research at the Museum’s Carriage House Archives.

Wistariahurst Museum is dedicated to preserving Holyoke’s history and inspiring an appreciation of history and culture through educational programs, exhibits and special events.  Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Wistariahurst is the former home of William Skinner, a prominent silk manufacturer.

 

Archival Photo Storage: Choosing The Best Enclosure

Your valuable photo collection is vulnerable to dangerous threats including environmental contaminants, water, fingerprint oils and PVC plastics. archival quality photo storage box drop front blackWe have products and solutions to protect and preserve your photos for many years to come. University Products offers a wide variety of archival photo products that will help you with your photo restoration and preservation projects.

Included in these products is our line of custom archival boxes that have passed the Image Permanence Institute’s Photo Activity Test. The Photo Activity Test (PAT) evaluates photo-storage and display materials and how they interact with photographic materials. This test can determine the archival quality of materials including, but not limited to, paper, boards, and plastics. The components of such materials are also tested. These may include inks, tapes, paints, and labels.

 

archival quality photographic plastic enclosure sleeveOver 8,000 samples have undergone the PAT test in more than the two decades of the test. This test is administered by stacking materials in contact with image interaction and stain detectors. These stacks are then placed in a humidity and temperature-controlled chamber to simulate aging. This climate-altered chamber stays at a temperature of 70 degrees centigrade and 80% relative humidity. The incubation process of each sample takes place over the course of a 15-day period. Test results are sent to clients and manufacturers within 4-6 weeks after the test is administered.

archival quality photo negative slide storage pagesIn addition to our line of custom archival boxes, University Products offers photo pages and sleeves that have passed the PAT. Per the recommendation of the National Archives, polyester, polyethylene, and polypropylene enclosures provide the most stable and non-damaging storage environment for archiving your photos. Unlike PVC plastics, these materials are inert and do not stick to your photographs.

photo tex archival quality interleaving tissueAt one time, it was believed that photographs stored in buffered enclosures might be adversely affected by buffering. This is no longer believed to be true except for a couple of specific types of photographs. With dye transfer prints and cyanotypes, unbuffered enclosures should be used. The image of both print types can be harmed by alkalinity. University Products’ new Photo-Tex tissue was mentioned on our blog earlier this year as a suitable solution for interleaving between photographs when buffering is not desired.