Archive for the ‘photo preservation’ Category

National Genealogical Society, Cincinnati, OH

If you happen to be in the Cincinnati area, the National Genealogical Society is having its annual Family History Conference at the Duke Energy Center.  There’s lots of great stuff going on.  I’ll be speaking on Photo Detecting 101 and Searching for Images of the War of 1812 Generation.  There are also tons of other speakers and demonstrations throughout the week.  Come visit my booth and say hi!  I’m also offering photo consultations at the conference rate if you have any photo mysteries you’d like solved.

Hope to see you there!


Mentioned in today’s teleseminar

Here are a few of the links I mentioned in today’s teleseminar that focused on daguerreotypes:

Free photo editing on  I love this site!  Try it and you’ll see why.

Daguerreotype restoration professional Casey Waters.  Take a look at his website to see his work.

Storage boxes for daguerreotypes on Hollinger Corp.

Find professional photo conservators at the American Institute for Conservation of Historic & Artistic Works, Inc.

New Website:

I’m really happy about the changes to my business and I hope you’ll be too. This week I launched a new website, It’s to ask all your photo related questions so go ahead and ask or just fill out the form to join in one of the Ask Maureen tele-seminars. The first webinar is May 17th at 1 pm EST. It’s only open to the first 200 registrants though!

Can’t wait to see your questions!

Share Your Pictures for Cash

Here’s an interesting website for anyone with historically significant family photos. is from the folks at the Mary Evans Picture Library in England. The Mary Evans Picture Library is a image stock house, one that supplies images for reproduction. They’ve taken that concept and applied it to family photos.

You can upload your images, create albums and even sell copies of your photographs for a fee. It’s an interesting concept. If you’re interested, definitely read the FAQ’s which describe the resolution and size of the digital images to upload. Make sure you can upload large files though. The basic image size for reproduction is 24 MB uncompressed and 3600 pixels long. 30% of the selling price is yours but checks are issued in English pounds. I didn’t see anything on the website that said you had to reside in the British Isles to post pictures.

I’m not aware of any companies in this country that offer the same service. Let me know if I’ve missed something.

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Queries and Answers: Pictures on Fabric

Claire wrote: I have only one photograph of my grandfather and it is printed on textile. It is currently being stored the same way I received it, rolled up in plastic and inserted in a cardboard tube.

Oh Claire! I also have a photograph on cloth. It’s my grandmother. While storing the image in plastic in a rolled tube isn’t the best way to care for it, the tube is protecting it from handling damage. My grandmother’s image has been folded and refolded so many times, it’s showing some wear.

The best course of action for both of our images is to consult a textile conservator and a photographic conservator. The American Institute for the Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works has a referral service. Click on the Find a Conservator link in the upper right hand corner of their website.

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Queries and Answers: Storing Different Materials Together

Shirley wrote: How can I store my photos properly?

It’s actually easier than you might think. It’s possible to follow the basic rules of archival storage in your home. Here’s a few things to remember.

Back in the old days, when I was a photo curator we had a basic rule. Never mix different types of materials, i.e. news clippings and photographs in the same folder. If you have news clippings of a wedding you’d like to preserve and a picture of the smiling couple, then place each item in a separate acid and lignin free folder. This way the acid from the newspaper won’t stain the picture.

Look for a windowless closet in your home. You’re trying to find one away from water pipes, fireplaces, and exterior walls.

Then place your heirloom images in acid and lignin free folders and boxes.

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Queries and Answers: Magnetic Nightmare

A lot of people write to me in response to articles I’ve written. Shirley sent me an email reminding me to talk about magnetic albums. She’s right. They are one of the most common causes of fading and discoloration of whatever images are placed in them.

Magnetic albums feature adhesives that hold your image in place. Unfortunately over time it’s difficult to remove your pictures from those albums. It requires either a microspatula or some uncoated dental floss to gently remove the pictures from the page. If you try this technique be careful not to tear the image.

The glue on these pages also discolor pictures. You’ll begin to see stripes of discoloration on the front of your pictures.

The combination of poor quality plastic, acidic paper and glue equals a “magnetic” nightmare for family photos.

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Queries and Answers: Storing Photographs

Catherine wrote: I have several old paper photos that date between the late 1860s and the early 1900s. I am worried about how to store these. Is it o.k. to put these in a plastic zip-loc bag or are there other alternatives.

You’re right to question the use of ordinary plastic bags. They are not suitable for long-term storage of photographs. For instance, Hollinger Corporation sells a wide variety of non-pvc sleeves and storage materials for pictures. Creative Memories has a fairly new organizing system called Sort It!

I’ve written several online articles on photographic storage and preservation. For additional information read “Four Destructive Habits” and “One Step at a Time.”

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