General Preservation Practices
- Maintain a stable environment
- Avoid light
- Avoid food and drink
- Store properly
- Handle properly
- Avoid adhesives and fasteners
- Flatten carefully
Avoid fluctuations in temperature and humidity, as these cause paper to swell and contract and can also induce harmful condensation.
High temperatures and humidity levels also accelerate destructive chemical reactions in paper and encourage mold growth.
Never store important papers in uncontrolled environments or in environments vulnerable to water intrusion such as basements, garages or attics.
Ideal conditions are as follows.
- Paper: 65 degrees Fahrenheit, 40% relative humidity
- Photographs: 68 degrees Fahrenheit, 35-40% relative humidity
- Magnetic tapes: 65 degrees Fahrenheit, 30% relative humidity
It is not always possible to achieve these ideals – just do your best!