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dessicants, photos, and baggies

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  • Susan B. Farmer
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 3, 2002
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      >From: Michael McColgin <mimccol@...>
      >Subject: It is a bad idea
      >Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"; format=flowed
      >I cannot post to this list, so here you go.
      >> >Here's my genealogy quick tip:
      >> >I inherited a treasured box of one-hundred-year old photos.
      >> >Unfortunately, they had been stored badly. Rodents had gotten to
      >> >them, as well as mold and mildew. I coughed and wheezed whenever I
      >> >opened the box to copy these lovely old photographs. I put them
      >> >together in bundles according to families, in zip lock plastic bags.
      >A few points to consider:
      >1. Dessicant packages do not soak up anything except water. Dessicants can
      >reduce the RH in an closed environment.
      >2. Fungi are rather fussy about their environment. They like a high
      >humidity, little if any airflow, little if any light, and to be left
      >alone. By reducing the RH in the bag, the dessicant basically causes the
      >fungi to go dormant. The fungi will become active again as soon as
      >conditions are right.
      >3. Zipper-type bags create a stagnant environment which is almost airproof.
      >Deterioration byproducts, and there are many, cannot escape, so the
      >contents basically stew in their own juices. Items which were originally
      >in better shape will soon become "contaminated" and deteriorate faster than
      >they would normally.
      >4. Light Impressions has a great variety of housings for photos and negs.
      >Avoid all types of "plastic" enclosures for this collection. Use paper
      >enclosures. If you must use a plastic of some sort, at least enclose
      >a piece of MicroChamber paper from Conservation Resources, International.
      >This paper absorbs deterioration products, so materials do not stew in
      >their own juices.
      >Michael McColgin
      >Conservation Officer
      >Arizona History and Archives Division
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