Most of us are fortunate enough to have family pictures, many of them that go way back. Some may need restoring, but they all need protecting.
Not everyone can restore damaged images, but we can all keep them safe for future generations. At the end of this post, I will provide you with some websites with good information about storing your images.
You will, from time to time, see restoration work that my students do. Most of it is done with Photoshop or Photoshop Elements. This is one of the projects we work on in class. When I first saw the picture you see below of my Great Grandmother Nini, I really thought it was gone for good. But look at what was left!
Look at the difference in this one with my mother and her cousin in a goatcart:
This wonderful old photo could be repaired because it was preserved in the first place.
Chadds Ford Historical Society has an interesting website that is fun to visit. There was one article I liked in particular. It is by Karen Smith from the Historical Society who has written about how best to preserve old images. You may not be able to do everything she suggests, but some of her recommendations are not complicated and make sense, such as why you shouldn't put your pictures in the attic or the basement.
She says, “How many of us have found boxes of old photographs or family documents stored in the attic or basement? Upon inspection, the photos or papers inside are stuck together, stained or discolored, or crumble when touched. Those irreplaceable records of family history will not survive the adverse conditions of attics and basements, the worst places to store old documents.
Sharp changes in temperature and humidity alternately swell and shrink delicate paper. Dampness permits mold to flourish. Dryness and heat cause brittleness, so that the paper breaks or splits with handling.
You can protect your valuable papers and photos by storing them in an air-conditioned room where temperature and humidity levels are kept fairly uniform…” to read the rest of her article, click here:
In an article from About.com, Pamela Wiggins says, "Learn to make old photographs last for generations through proper storage." On this webpage she discusses the use of plastic sheeting, albums and other photographic storage methods.
StoringPhotos.htm is another resource is the Smithsonian Museum Conservation Institute where they "help others learn about their historical objects and how to take care of them."
The Northwest Document Conservation Center tells you about themselves on their web site where they state that, "The NEDCC is a non-profit, regional conservation center specializing in the preservation of paper-based materials. NEDCC serves libraries, archives, museums, historical societies. "
They provide disaster assistance, which is a good thing to know about if you are ever involved in this type of difficulty.
As Patrick Garry once said, “A person is neither whole nor healthy without the memories of photo albums. They are the storybook of our lives. They provide a nostalgic escape from the tormented days of the present.”
So take care of those old sweethearts!