May is Preservation Month

Originally written by Estella Inda.

Updated: April 19, 2021

May is national preservation month, something we archivists are very passionate about. To celebrate with you, the California Room would like to explain to you why preservation is important and share a few preservation tips that everyone can do.

Why Is Preservation Important?

Preservation is what libraries and archives do to prolong the life of books, photos, records, and other materials while making as few changes to them as possible. Our goal in the California Room is to collect and preserve materials on California history with an emphasis on San Jose and Santa Clara County. Some of the methods we use to preserve materials include rehousing them in special archival grade containers, placing them in climate controlled environments, and digitizing them. We take preservation seriously, which is why we raise a glass in the month of May.

Preservation Tips for Everyone

We would like to finish our celebration by providing a few preservation tips that everyone can do at home:

  1. Avoid storing items in the basement or attic; it is best to keep them in an environment with a stable temperature.
  2. Store materials in the dark; light can cause them to fade faster.
  3. Avoid using paper clips, glue, tape, pens, adhesive, rubber bands, and photo albums that use glue. These items can cause materials to deteriorate.
  4. Use a pencil to write who, when and where information on the back of photographs, without pushing too hard. Over time, pen can leak through and stain the image.

Thank you for celebrating with us!

Books to Help You Preserve Your Photos

How to Archive Family Photos, book cover
Thousands of Images, Now What?, book cover
Scrapbooking Digitally, book cover
Digital Scrapbooking, book cover
Photo Restoration, book cover