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Sleeve enclosures: One of the best archival storage tools for photography
Whether they run a gallery or museum or they archive their own photography, many archival and artistic professionalsÂ would probably agree that photographs are some of the most fickle materials to store. Historical photos are irreplaceable, and may have been developed usingÂ complex methods that make them vulnerable to light, acids, grease, scratches and other damage. Modern-day photographs can be just as tricky to archive, because the slightest alteration to color or tone can detract from them.
This is why there are many different archival storage options for photography.Â Sleeves and other enclosures are among the most useful of these. These products protect images from environmental damage while making it easy to organize prints. Which enclosure is right for your needs?
Considering chemical interactions
As such, it'sÂ important to pay attention to the materials your archival products are made of. Polypropylene is one good material for storing photos. This archival-safe material is stiff, heat resistant and stable, meaning it will not react with other chemicals it comes into contact with. Film/Print SleevesÂ areÂ a particularly excellentÂ polypropylene item, usefulÂ for bothÂ negatives and photoÂ prints.
Side Loading Print Sleeves, made of 3 mil uncoated MelinexÂ 516, are another option for chemical-free protection for images. This material ensures that both the images and the protective sleeve will not chemically interact during storage.
Easy to see, easy to use
Optically clear enclosures likeÂ 35 mm Mounted Slide Sleeves allow you to inspect a document without removing it, preventing damage from fingerprints, dust or other environmental factors.
Keeping the originals safe
These materials should not be stored in PVC vinyl bags, but rather in archival-safe sleeves, folders and boxes. PVC, which stands for polyvinyl chloride, is a plastic that is notÂ chemically stableÂ andÂ emits damaging hydrochloric acid as it deteriorates. Using paper products or chemically inertÂ plasticsÂ are better for long-term storage and archiving.Â
The Negative File Folders, made of heavyweight 7-point cardstock, are a good option for long-term storage for the original strips of film. Negatives are best protected from environmental damage like oil, dust and other pollutants when these folders are stored in Side Lock Film Sleeves and archival boxes.Â
It's no use to have undamaged negatives if you can't find them. Organizing these small documents can be haphazard and difficult at times, which is why it's important the enclosures you choose have tabs on each pocket. Choosing pocket-style folders makes it easy to organize these documents by job, subject or roll number.Â
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