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How to store your historical documents

Your family has photos and historical documents that have been handed down from generation to generation, what do you do with them and how do you protect them?

When a paper document is created, it naturally starts the deterioration process and over time, these documents become fragile and will damage easily. There are several things that you can do to help protect these documents.

  1. When handling your documents, be sure to use cotton gloves or wash your hands. This is because the oils on our skin will cause the paper to deteriorate even more. The preferred method is to use cotton gloves. This keeps the oils from your skin off the photos which can cause a faster rate of deterioration.

  2. Keep your documents and photos in a cool, low humidity area of your house. This would preferably be the inside portion of your house; not the basement or the attic. Heat, cold and humidity causes photos and documents to deteriorate at a much faster rate. Photos will stick together and cause photo damage and documents will dry out and become too brittle to handle. Keep your photos and documents in a closet or a spare room in the main part of your home. This area is temperature controlled year around with a lower humidity and will help slow the deterioration of your photos and documents.

  3. As you are storing your photos and documents, be sure to put them in archival type storage. This type of storage is acid free and lignin free and will slow the deterioration down even further. You can get these materials from your photo organizer or from a business such as Archival Methods.

  4. Lastly, scan your photos and documents or hire someone to do it for you. Photo Managers are trained in how to properly handle, scan and preserve these for you. You can contact me for a free consultation or find a Photo Manager in your area by visiting The Photo Managers website at


Elizabeth Shaw is the owner of Elegant Photo Solutions, LLC, a Certified Photo Manager through The Photo Managers, a FOREVER Executive Ambassador, and a Creative Memories Advisor. It is her goal to help families preserve their photos and documents for future generations so that they will know who their families were and where they came from. You can contact her by emailing

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