"How do I preserve my grandfather's Army discharge letter?" "Where should I store my mother's wedding photograph?" "How do I insure my rare comic book?" The Preservation Directorate at the Library of Congress answers dozens of questions every week from the public about preserving these and other family treasures, heirlooms, antiques, and collectibles. The topics of greatest interest are covered here and also in the Preservation FAQs and give special focus to preventive preservation measures, which are simple to achieve and are more economical than the options available once damage is done.
Collections Care covers recommendations for good care, handling, and storage, including:
- What kinds of storage supplies to use and where to buy them
- Temperature and relative humidity ranges to aim for
- Where in your home you should and should not store items you value
- Guidelines for matting and framing
- How to reduce the risks of light damage and water damage
- How to deal with damage already done and how to find a conservator
Knowing what to do in an emergency is just as important as taking preventive measures to minimize the risks posed by emergencies, such as a household water leak or a severe incoming storm. Knowing in advance what to do when disaster strikes increases your personal safety and can help avoid catastrophic loss of your family treasures.
Emergency Preparedness provides guidance to help you prepare for and deal with emergencies, including:
- How to obtain an appraisal for and insure your valuable objects
- Preparing for different types of natural and manmade disasters
- What to do if objects get wet
- What to do if objects are moldy
- How to find a conservator
Make a Family Time Capsule / Scrapbook / Album
Advice for those interested in making a long-lasting family time capsule, scrapbook, or album, including:
- What kinds of materials/supplies to use
- Engineering considerations (Plastic or metal time capsule? 3-ring binder or sleeved album?)
- Good storage for preservation
More on Making a Family Scrapbook or Album (scroll down for video of the April 24, 2013 National Preservation Week program, Preserving Your Memories: Traditional and Digital Scrapbooks)
This page was created with generous support from the American Library Association (ALA) Carnegie-Whitney Award.