Maureen Taylor did her usual great job of sharing information about photo preservation. She learned through the years when she provided too much information it was not retained, and so she condensed her advice into eight easy steps.
I wish I had taken this session many years ago when I was cleaning out our old photo albums, because Rule #1 is: Retain the Original Order.
The reason: It helps determine provenance. Someone placed the photos in the order they are in for a reason. Next, make a list of the photos as they appear in the album.
Black paper albums can be wrapped in muslin cloth and placed in an archive box. Don’t take apart.
Magnetic sticky albums are deadly for photos. Get them out! If the photos don’t remove easily, use Glide dental floss, and a micro spatula.
Survey Photo Damage: Biologic, environmental, chemical and physical. When working with old photos, use non-latex powder-free gloves (not cotton). Gloves can be purchased at stores like Wal-Greens. Separate moldy photos; place in separate acid, lignin free envelopes.
Photo Storage: Store photos in acid, lignin free paper and boxes on the main level of your house. A good spot is under the bed. Basements are damp; attics are hot. Photos need a stable environment. Identify your images using a ZIG marker or 6B artist’s pencil. Look for the PAT label on archival materials. PAT is Photographic Activity Test. Storage containers can be found at Gaylord or the Container Store. Remember, just because it says “archival” doesn’t mean it has passed the PAT. Tintypes need to be stored in acid free envelopes.
Scanning: Use 600 dpi TIFF, and create a Word or Excel file to identify with keywords. Keep it simple.
Photo Album Recommendation: KOLO albums are the best.
Last but not least: Maureen reminded us we should have a photo disaster plan. Have multiple back up storage places for scanned photos. Don’t use Dropbox!! She has had bad experiences with Dropbox. There are other cloud backups available.
And, have fun!