Don't Know Where to Put the Inauguration Memorabilia?

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Don't Know Where to Put the Inauguration Memorabilia?

DC Library offers tips on preserving Obama mementos

You went to the swearing in and the parade and snapped photo after photo. You bought hats, buttons, flags, T-shirts and special edition newspapers. To help maintain these items to stand the test of time, the D.C. Public Library offers tips on preserving memorabilia from this week’s Inauguration festivities.

“The inauguration of Barack Obama as the first African American president has many collecting mementos,” says Derek Gray, archivist at the D.C. Public Library. “With proper care many of these items can be preserved for at least 50 years.”

Some tips for preserving these precious mementos include:

Standard Photos
  • Make or order two copies of photos. Keep a copy for storage and use the other for viewing.
  • Note the names, dates, and important details of the image. Make a photocopy of the photo and store it in another place with all the details written on it.
  • Remove all paper clips, rubber bands, staples, pins, adhesives, newspaper clippings and anything with an odor.
  • Store Images to minimize deterioration by avoiding wooden containers or anything giving off an odor. In addition, images should be kept away from direct sunlight, dampness, fluorescent lights, photocopiers and laser printers.
  • Store items in cool space with low humidity.
  • When handling photos, use cotton gloves to prevent the oil on hands from damaging the images.
Digital Photos
  • If using a standard camera, order the images on CD and make a backup copy.
  • Use the digital photography software to label the names, dates, and important details of the image.
  • If using a digital camera, save the images on an archival quality CD as "read only" files.
  • Save original digital images as "read only" files.
  • If scanning photographs, try to use a computer with at least 128MB of RAM.
  • Scanning at 300 dpi works best if the image is going to be printed at the original size. For larger images, use the maximum scanner resolution.
  • For offsite storage, consider an Internet storage service.
  • Clothing (e.g. caps, T-shirts, jackets) that you don’t intend to wear
  • Avoid regular paper, cardboard, wood and wood products and which may emit damaging acids.
  • Keep clean and dry textiles in polyethylene plastic and acid-free cardboard boxes in cool, dark, dry location with good ventilation. Basements or attics do not make good storage locations. Do not use plastic dry-cleaning bags because they do not promote air circulation; light protection and are typically a plastic that emit chemicals.
  • Store items flat to support the entire textile. If folding is required, using thirds and padding the creases with acid-free tissue paper is ideal.
  • Make a digital scan or, photocopy of the newspaper on high-quality paper, acid-free paper for everyday use.
  • Do not use ink, glues, or adhesives on the paper. They can explode on the paper or cause damage over time. If labeling an item, use a number 2 pencil.
  • Keep newspapers in a cool, dark, dry place. Attics, basements or any other area that is prone to water or dampness should be avoided.
  • Store the newspapers unfolded in acid-free storage boxes which can be obtained from local arts stores.
  • Do not use metal paperclips on paper. As they age, they damage the paper.
  • Keep newspapers separate from images and other paper items avoid damaging the other items.
The D.C. Public Library also is hosting a seminar titled “Preserving Presidential Inaugural Memorabilia” on February 28 at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library, 901 G St. N.W. at 2 p.m. to teach people how to preserve their materials.
Though the presidential memorabilia seminar is a few weeks away, the Library expects and welcomes people to bring in their materials for guidance on preservation.