Learn about best practices for conservation, preservation, and digitization from the Archives’ Collections Care team.


An original 1775 document from the Revolutionary War has recently come into my possession. How do I authenticate it?

I have an object that I would like to have appraised by the Smithsonian. Can you tell me how much my object is worth?



My mother kept hundreds of photo slides in carousels, which I have inherited.

I am in possession of my grandfather's accounting book. It starts in 1989 and continues to 1936 when he passed away. It contains every penny he earned. This book is something he bought at I would think Woolworths (at the time) and comparable to Walmart today. I live in Arizona and am concerned about how to preserve these books (there are 2). My family lives in the Baltimore area so these books will be passed on to them.

How do I make a digital copy or physical facsimile of a historic book or photo album?

I've noticed little white bugs that appear on papers I have in storage and I'm afraid they may be deteriorating the treasure. They ONLY seem to accumulate around and on old newspaper stock, but nothing else. Any suggestions would help.

Thanks in advance!  ~ BSC


I have a file of old school papers that I kept in my basement and I discovered that they are moldy. Is there anything I can do about it at this point?

A neighbor has an old photo stuck to glass and was wondering what she might do to remove the glass from the photo.  I know you did a blog post about removing photos from old sticky albums. Do you have any advice regarding photos and glass? I poked around on Ask.com to see if there was any info regarding this topic.  One website talked about heating the glass, microwaving the glass/photo unit, or soaking the whole thing.  I can't believe that is right after seeing what you do to keep things dry.  Anyway, I thought I would just pass this along to you.

Are there best practices for stabilization of crumbling materials in archive of DC volunteer organization? They are mostly paper assets (newsletters, etc) and photos.

Many thanks!

Even in this time of changing news distribution, we wrote up a Note for our Facebook page when President Obama was elected because so many people bought out city and national newspapers to preserve that historic front page banner headline. But like newspapers, we're not sure that Note will be around in future (I'm having a hard time finding it now!), so we are republishing that advice here. 


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