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Long Term Storage of Images: Various Types?

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  • Long Term Storage of Images: Various Types?

    Prior to this post I searched this forum and read many posts on photo storage and I've also read various other web sites. I am starting the process of catalog a large photo collection of several thousands images and wanted to ask advice on properly storing them long term after they have been digitally scanned. I am looking at long term storage - once they are scanned they will not be touched for quite some time.

    Slide Cleaning:

    I have some slides, both Kodachrome and Ektachrome. I sent two of the better slides off for a test scan at 4000 dpi and was pleased. I sent off two of the better slides, without any scratches or thumb prints. I am wanting to send off the remainder of the slides, but some of these have finger prints and scratches. I can't do anything about the scratches, but I am wondering if I should attempt to remove the finger prints with Pet-12 or Generix after initially blowing them off with air? I've never used either and liquid scares me as they will not be taken out of their cardboard frames. What tool do I use to to clean them - I've seen both Q-tips and microfiber clothes recommended.

    Slide Storage:

    It would seem the most economical way to store these are the polypropylene binder sheets that hold 20 slides. I'd prefer individual sleeves as the binder setup will take up more space, but the per unit cost appears to be higher.

    That be said, once I have them in individual sleeves or in the binder pages should I be placing some type of acid neutralizing material on either side of the slide to counteract the paper used in the frames? I am a little confused as what material to use as it would seem all materials are just temporary and will have to be changed from time to time. From what I read "acid free" only really means that when the item was produced it was ph neutral; however, once it is placed near another item that is not ph neutral it will start to change. Buffered products have additives that can extend the life of the buffered material, but eventually this will fade away and the buffered material will alter its chemistry also. Buffered materials are not recommended for some or all photo related materials as they react with the materials used in the image. Unbuffered are typically acid free materials with no additives which will also gradually change over time from contact with the source media. I don't really see the advantage of storing them in paper envelopes that will eventually change chemcically as opposed to polypropylene which is suppose to be chemically inert. I've seen quite a few horror stories resulting from different types of paper being close contact for long period of times and the paper sleeves rather scare me.

    Can I store the polypropylene binder sheets flat in a dark box as opposed to upright in binders inside a dark box as this will take up less room?


    Cabinet Cards, Cartes de Visite & Gems:

    I am thinking polypropylene sleeves, but do I need to place some the of tissue or backer sheet on the backside of each image's mounting card in an attempt to neutralize the acid in the mounting card?


    Unmounted Photos:

    I have various loose paper images from a variety of cameras and sizes, with some having odd sizes and decorative edges. These include images from the late 1800s, polaroids, and modern prints, and photo booth images. I am looking to store these in polypropylene sleeves, but these will need some type of backer board to prevent curling and provide support.

    What should I use as a backer? Since it appears any backing material is eventually going to need replacing should I go the cheap route and have 8 1/2 X 11 Georgia Pacific 110 pound acid free card stock cut down to size and use that inside the sleeves? Another option I've thought of if Ultra Pro's 22 point Comic Board Boards, which I could have cut down to fit inside the sleeves. I am really looking at a low cost per unit option as opposed to spending museum $ on each piece.


    Larger Mounted:

    Probably the best bet would be to lay these flat in a dark box, but I am not sure what to use between them, perhaps tissue or perhaps use several of the comic boards?


    Tin Types:

    I am thinking polypropylene sleeves inside a dark box with silica sand packets?

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