Caring for your records at home

Many of you will have your own personal papers stored at home or you may be storing records on behalf of a club or society. If you have letters, photographs, diaries, newspaper cuttings etc that you want to survive in a good condition, have a look at our advice below….

Paper, especially modern paper, can be damaged by: light; heat; humidity; mould; pests; handling; and acid from within the paper, packaging, binding, and from hands, so to prevent the worst of these:
  • Handle with clean hands and carefully.
  • Undertaken simple preservation, including: brushing any dirt off the records; removing paper clips, staples, rubber bands, metal bindings, and any plastic; and package in acid free envelopes or boxes.
  • Do not use adhesives on records (including cellotape)
  • Do not laminate records.
  • Store records flat but do not flatten or unfold with force.
  • Store records away from: bright light, heat, damp areas, water sources, and areas where pests are likely to live.


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Photographs on paper are affected by the same things paper are but can be more susceptible, especially to heat, light, and acids from hands. In addition to the above follow the below instructions:

  • Handle at the edges or ideally use cotton gloves.
  • Store in acid free envelopes or albums but do not use magnetic or adhesive photograph albums.

Also remember to record the people and places in the photographs as you may well forget in years to come. Do so by writing in the albums next to the photograph or if necessary with a 2B pencil on the back.

If you own records of local historic significance we would strongly recommend depositing them with your local archive. By depositing them with your local archive, you can be assured that researchers can access them in years to come. If you would like to discuss a deposit, please contact us on at

For more information about caring for records such as books, prints, drawings and watercolours, visit The National Archives Website.


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