One of paper’s biggest enemies is acid. It makes paper weak and brittle and can lead to discoloration, deterioration, and irreversible damage. Other factors that affect the life of paper materials include the manufacturing process, paper components, and inks that are applied to the paper. It’s important to create a safe environment for your paper documents to keep these elements from destroying them. To protect and preserve your family and historic documents, there are steps you can take to ensure their safety and longevity, including safeguarding those valuable papers in archival-quality certificate or diploma frames.
Wash and dry your hands.
Make sure your hands are clean and dry before handling a historic document. Oils in your skin can leave stains or weaken the paper, thus permanently damaging the document. For valuable pieces, be sure to wear gloves.
Don’t use fasteners or adhesives.
Never use paper clips, staples, rubber bands, tape, or glue on important or valuable documents. These basic office supplies can stain, tear, and ruin paper materials. Also, avoid using pressure-sensitive tapes to repair tears. Even archival tape can cause irreversible damage, such as stains, ink alteration, or brittle paper. Remember, “archival” doesn’t always mean acid-free!
Above all, never laminate an important document. The process is irreversible and can decrease the value of the document. You should only trust museum-quality certificate frames to preserve the integrity of your valuable family keepsakes.