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.

 

Will You Be Our Archival Valentine?

valentine card archival storage and preservation university productsOn Valentine’s Day, let’s not forget about the Valentines themselves. Naturally, I’m talking about the cards, which besotted lovers exchanged for what seems like forever. In reality, the art of the Valentine Card migrated from England to the USA in the middle of 19th century, thanks to Esther Howland (1828–1904) of Worcester, Massachusetts.

valentine card archival storage and preservation university productsEsther was a daughter of a large book and stationary store owner, and after receiving a frilly Valentine card from one of her dad’s British associates, she began importing paper lace and floral decorations from England. She made dozens of hand-made card samples and with help from her salesman brother, got $5000 worth of orders on the first try. She developed and ran a very successful business, eventually becoming known throughout the US and is to this day called “The Mother of the American Valentine.”

archival quality valentine card memory albumWhether for sentimental reasons, because you are a serious collector, or just because you simply adore all the flowers, hearts and cupids, proper storage is the key to ensure that your beloved Valentines will last forever. University Products’ Oversize Memory Albums and Pages will protect and preserve the cards (or any other paper ephemera) while displaying them in an attractive and simple way. You can also choose from our many Museum Quality Boxes and/or Archival Storage Enclosures.

Also, for simple but effective advise on storage and preservation of your Private and Family Collections, we recommend Northeast Document Conservation Center’s excellent online resources.