We all have old family photographs from several generations as well as old documents such as letters, paperwork from Ellis Island, etc. Doing the easy thing--throwing them into cardboard boxes--is NOT the way to treat them, especially if you want to pass them on to your children or grandchildren.
Documents need to be deacidified to neutalize the acid in them (See our blog of 4-29-10, Paper Restoration), then they should be stored in acid-free archival boxes, which we stock at the Museum Shop, Ltd. Please call us for more details.
To restore damaged family photographs, the first step is to photograph them and work with the copy, not the original. The original should be stored in an acid-free archival box. With the copy, we can eliminate holes, tears, loss areas, etc. When finished, Museum Shop, Ltd. will produce a new photo, fully restored, which can be printed in color, black-and-white, or sepia. The first photo is the one you can display. For much less money, we can make duplicates of the photo; you may wish to give them to relatives (What a wonderful gift!)
Another option for a piece that is literally falling apart is to have us deacidify it, then encapsulate it in mylar. This will make the piece much less brittle and it can then be handled without fear of damaging it because it is encapsulated.
Don't let your family's memorabilia be destroyed. Come, bring in your old photos and documents and we'll discuss them. Our Conservator is usually in the gallery Fridays and Saturdays 11:30-5:00, and Sundays12:30-5:00