Monday, November 9, 2009

Just Hear Those Sleigh Bells Jingling, Ring Ting Tingling Too.

Yes, I know, it's not even Thanksgiving yet. But I got a note from Sally Jacobs, The Practical Archivist and a Friday From The Collector contributor, about a great Christmas gift for those who collect family photographs. The offer has a time limit, so I wanted to get the information to Shades readers with plenty of time to order. Thank you Sally, this is terrific!

Sally Jacobs, The Practical Archivist

3 Reasons Why Archival Photo Boxes Make a Lovely Gift


I bet you've seen these words on photo albums. I also bet you had no idea those words are basically meaningless. Yep. Sad but true. Those terms are unregulated, which means companies are free use them to describe ANY product they want to sell. In fact, the term "archival" has been applied so loosely and so inappropriately that it is no longer used in International Standards for photographic materials.

Thank goodness for the Photographic Activity Test (PAT). It's an International Standard (ISO 14523) developed by the Image Permanence Institute. This accelerated aging test involves incubating materials in temperature- and humidity-controlled chambers and takes between four and six weeks.

The PAT predicts potentially harmful interactions between photographs and storage materials such as album pages, covers, and envelopes. If it passes the test, it's the best reassurance you can have that the enclosures will not cause damage to the photographs. It's the closest thing we have to "archival."

Where can you find PAT-passed supplies?

Well, that's the tricky bit. You can't find these boxes in stores. You need to purchase them from archival suppliers like or or All these companies have online ordering but will also be happy to send you a paper catalog in the mail.

3 Reasons Archival Photo Boxes Make a Lovely Gift:

1. An Investment in the Future. Surely, there are photographs you would like folks to enjoy for generations to come, yes? Your future great-great-grand-niece, for example, the one who turns out to be a genealogist. Archival enclosures give your photos the most longevity for the least amount of investment. You should also store them in an environment that has stable temperature and humidity levels.

2. Eliminate a Common Barrier. As The Practical Archivist, I've been helping people organize and preserve family photos for years. And I know that selecting and purchasing the right supplies is a common barrier to getting started. The scenario I hate the most is when a client has just spent a ton of money on *bad* photo boxes. Ouch! Don't be that guy, OK?

3. Send a Positive Message. There are two postitive messages you can send with boxes like these. For ancestor photographs: "Your Family Treasures Are Important & Should Be Treated Properly." For more recent photographs: "Your Story Is Important."

Family Archivist Survival Kit. This year - for the first time - I've pulled together a large photo storage kit. Large enough to get the name Family Archivist Survival Kit. Got oversized items? This kit has a solution. There's also a safe place for 1,000 loose photos, plus bookshelf-friendly storage for memorabilia like letters, playbills and small posters. I also included all the hand-held tools you need for photo archiving, and the information you need to use all these tools correctly. Want to learn more? Click here to see which archival photo boxes The Practical Archivist herself uses.

NOTE: This kit is only available until Thanksgiving day (11/26/09) - and unfortunately I cannot guarantee Hanukkah or Christmas delivery. Yes, yes... I realize I just got you all fired up about getting something like this as a gift. If it's a gift purchase, be sure to let me know in the "notes" field when you place your order. I'll send a friendly message about your thoughtful gift at the appropriate time, so please specify which holiday you are celebrating. Yay!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I attended a talk once about preserving works on paper. The speaker called "acid-free" the "fat-free" of the archival world! .^_^.

November 14, 2009 at 11:17 PM  

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