Saving Your Treasures: Photographs

PRINTABLE FILES


Types of Objects

PHOTOGRAPHS

 

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Photographs and negatives are composed of three different parts or layers: a support base, a binder, and image material. The support for a photograph or negative may be glass (glass plate negative), a plastic film (slide negative), metal (daguerreotype), paper (photo print), or a resin-coated paper (digital print). Some plastic negative bases are inherently unstable and will have a negative effect on the life of the image.

The binder layer or emulsion holds the final image material to the support and is most commonly gelatin, but may also be albumen, collodion, or another material.

The final part of a photograph is the image-producing material, often silver particles, color dyes, or pigment particles, suspended in the emulsion layer.

Photographs and negatives are generally cared for by paper conservators or those who have specialized in photographs and negatives alone. The videos below and handouts and websites on the right will guide you in the proper methods for preserving your items.

If you have any questions, ask a conservator.

PhotographsNegatives & FilmHow to Care
for Your Photos

The Harvey Boston Studio
Photo Collection

Environment:
Light
Environment: Relative Humidity & TemperatureEnvironment: Airborne & Gaseous PollutantsEnvironment:
Mold
How to Hinge & Matte
a Work of Art
Housing Photographs
for Archives
Housing Negatives, Film, Books, Newspapers, Scrapbooks, & Sound Recording MediaPigments
vs. Dyes
Plastics in
Museum Collections

 
Plastics:
Chemistry
 
Plastics:
History
Plastics:
Deterioration

Plastics:
Preventative Care


TYPES OF OBJECTS

Books, Bibles, ScrapbooksDishes, Glassware, SilverwareFirearmsFurnitureJewelry
Native American ItemsNatural History SpecimensNewspaperPhotographs
Textiles, Clothing, UniformsTools, Mechanical Objects, InstrumentsToysWorks of Art