wishing to donate historical documents, blueprints, letters or photos to
the archive can contact firstname.lastname@example.org for guidance on storage, scanning
of items for security purposes, and/or donations of items to the SBC
archives. Donations and scanning allow the public to see materials that
are hidden in files, shoe boxes, and scrapbooks out of sight and
forgotten, while fading and deterioration slowly occur.
Important images can be digitally
scanned and given back to families, and historical letters and documents
can be transcribed by our docents. After scanning or transcription, this
historical data can be exhibited to the public on this website, in
published historical documents and newsletters and used in historical
research to help preserve other cultural landmarks and sites in this
Most importantly, digital scanning and transcription stop the effects of
time on old and deteriorating images and papers, and allow the
historical information to be archivally recorded for future generations
even if the original documents and photos fade or disintegrate. So
whether you scan and store the images yourself, or donate them, items of
historical importance should be digitized, or copied archivally.
Early color photos are
very unstable and do not have the 75 to 150 year life-span of old black
& white photos, the effects of age can already be seen on many early
color prints in the form of color shifts to magenta, loss of contrast
and faded blacks. Black & white photos may last longer, but they often
they are older, and more valuable. The effects of age take much longer
in black & white photos and are harder to see until damage is done.
Mid-Century is already becoming historical! If you have local photos
from the 1940's, 1950's and 1960's, especially early color photos, they
should be scanned or copied before they fade. To make matters worse,
photo albums with magnetic pages and frames with cardboard backing from
the 1920's up through the 1980's often contained acids that actually
speeded up the process of deterioration. So even though our snapshots
and letters may be stored in a dark place, chemical reactions with many
of the storage materials to which we have entrusted our family heirlooms
are advancing the effects of age. That being said, many
easily-obtainable modern storage materials are of better quality and
usually boast 'ACID-FREE' on the label. At the very minimum,
irreplaceable photos and heirlooms should be transferred to new 'Acid
Free' storage materials to slow down the aging process, and as always
they should be kept in a safe, cool, dry, dark place, if possible.
Remember if it doesn't say 'Acid Free' it probably isn't and you should
avoid putting anything important in it.