family archives

They’re sentimental and they’re invaluable, so why don’t we do more to look after our family archives? From old letters and certificates to photographs of ancestors gone but not forgotten, preventing damage to your archives is the key to preserving them and maintaining their condition for generations to come.

Preservation

Documents, photographs, letters and anything else that’s printed on paper will deteriorate over time. The National Archives of Australia (NAA) recommends taking measures to preserve these items in their current state and manage this throughout their lifetime to encourage them to withstand the test of time. The NAA states that the careful handling, transport and display procedures, along with a controlled storage environment, will help the preservation of your physical records.[1]

How to handle family records

  • Always place your photos and documents on a clean space when looking through them
  • Don’t expose your family documents to food, drink or smoke
  • Gloves can make it difficult to handle papers so use clean hands, free of lotions
  • Always wear gloves when handling photographs as fingerprints can leave stains

Storing your family archives

Your family archives will be sensitive to temperature and humidity fluctuations which may cause decay and fading. One of the biggest factors to consider when storing your archives is the light. The NAA recommends getting professional help when you’re in doubt of how to look after and preserve your family’s archives. Grace provides humidity and temperature controlled storage facilities across Australia. Our secure storage vaults also reduce the risk of damage caused by rodents, insects and water. For more information on how Grace can keep your archives safe from damage, click here.

Should you display your family photos?

Although they’re a fragile piece of your family’s history, it doesn’t mean you can’t keep them on display for everyone to enjoy. When displaying photos around your home, the same basic principles as storing them apply.

  • Avoid displaying photographs in direct daylight or florescent lighting as they contain more damaging ultraviolet light
  • Consider ultraviolet fittings on glass windows or the glass of your photo frame
  • Limit the amount of time the photos are exposed to light by drawing window blinds and turning the lights off
  • Consider displaying copies of the original photos instead

Digitise your family’s records

Digitising your family’s photos makes it easier and safer to display in your home. Avoid exposing the originals to elements of light, temperature and humidity altogether and keep them in their prime condition. Digitising your family documents is also a great way to keep your family records from fading and deteriorating over time.

It’s important to remember the best handling techniques when scanning and digitising your documents, especially in the case of scanning an old book as the spines can be easily damaged. Before you run to the family scanner and stock up on printer ink, contact Grace. Grace can handle the entire process of your family archive’s digitisation. For more information on how Grace can digitise your precious family photographs and archives, click here.

[1] http://www.naa.gov.au/information-management/managing-information-and-records/preserving/index.aspx