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Tips for Preserving Paper

  • Avoid extreme fluctuations in heat and humidity
  • Keep liquids away to prevent spills and stains
  • Keep hands clean to avoid stains
  • Do not use staples, paperclips, tape or glue
  • Protect it from light by placing it in acid free folders and boxes
  • Do not store in wooden drawers or cardboard boxes. Store documents flat instead of rolled or folded
  • Make sure documents are supported from underneath when handling
  • Make a copy to use for research or display and keep the original in proper storage
  • Avoid laminating documents or any other process that is not easily reversible
  • Separate acidic papers such as newspaper from other documents
  • Keep storage areas clean to avoid attracting insects and rodents

Source: Smithsonian Museum Conservation Institute, Handling Paper Artifacts.

A copy of the judicial decision freeing Biddy Mason, 1854.