The 4 x 6 Archive 900 is one of our most popular kits. It offers a simple, compact solution for the long-term, archival storage of your photographs, digital prints, and negatives. The Kit has three acid- and lignin-free components: a Black Hinged Lid Metal Edge Box, twenty-five 4 x 6 Archival Photo Envelopes, and twenty-five All Purpose Index Cards.
Organization begins with the pre-printed Archival Photo Envelopes, which provide space to identify photos by date, subject, event, and location. If you are transferring your prints and negatives from the original drugstore envelopes, look for any useful information on them that can be transcribed to your new envelopes. Frequently this is where you will find the date the film was processed.
Pencil is the safest writing implement when archiving your collections. If you opt for a pen, use one with archival ink. In either case, only write on the envelopes when they are empty to prevent any impressions from transferring to the photos or negatives. Wear nitrile or cotton gloves when handling your photographs and negatives to protect them from the naturally occurring oils on your hands.
The interior of the envelope consists of two pockets, one for storing your 4 x 6 or smaller prints and one for the corresponding negatives, if you have those. If you have negatives with your prints, even if you’ve had them scanned, save them! We always recommend that you keep your originals. Properly stored film will likely outlast a digital file. Also, if you ever want to make an enlargement, you’ll get better results from a negative than from a scanned 4 x 6 print.
The 25 Archival Photo Envelopes will hold up to 36 prints each, allowing you to organize and safely store up to 900 prints per kit. Use the All-Purpose Index Cards to further sort the envelopes. Label the tabs with relevant information so that you can quickly and easily find the photographs that you are looking for.
Once your photographs are neatly labeled and organized into your Hinged Lid Metal Edge Box, find an appropriate place to store the box. We recommend a closet or shelf in your living space. Never store your photographs in attics, basements, or garages, as these spaces are prone to greater fluctuations in temperature and humidity. They are also more prone to flooding, water damage, and pests.
Some Notes on Negatives
Compare the prints with the corresponding negatives. A light box makes this task easier, but holding up the strips to a bright light will also work. Do this because the best pictures may have been removed from the pack for placement in albums or frames, or sent to family and friends. You might find a great image on the negative strip that isn’t among the prints in the original envelope. Since you still have the negative you can easily get a new print made of the missing image.
The 4 x 6 Archive 900 Kit makes it easy to store negatives in the same envelopes as your prints from the same roll. If you want an additional layer of protection for your negatives, consider purchasing polyester or polypropylene Side Lock Film Sleeves. Drugstore negatives come cut into strips of 4 negatives. Our 35mm film sleeves are designed to hold strips of 6 negatives, but you can either cut them down to size with scissors, or request that we cut them to accommodate 4 negatives when you place your order.
Our 4 x 6 Archive Envelopes are designed to hold 4-frame negative strips. If your negatives were cut in 6-frame lengths after processing, simply cut these 6-frame strips in half (3-frames each) and then store them in the handy front negative pocket of each envelope. Don’t cut 35mm negative strips into individual frames, as that makes re-printing them difficult. If you would prefer to keep 5-frame or 6-frame negatives together on the same negative strip, then consider taking a look at our all-in-one Film Storage Kits.
If you have any additional questions regarding our many kits for storing snapshots and digital prints, or you would like more information on any of our museum-quality archival storage and presentation materials, please contact us here at Archival Methods. We’re always there to help with any archiving, storage, or presentation questions you may have.