National Archives and Records Administration
Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum

   Taking Care of Photographs

Photographs are a good way to learn about and remember history. To make sure your photos last as long as possible, follow these steps for handling, labeling and storing:

   Handling Photos

Wash your hands or wear cotton gloves when handling photos.
Natural skin oils and dirt damage photographs over time.

   Labeling Photos

Use a pencil and write lightly near the edge of the photo's back side.
Pressing hard on the photo will damage it.
Never use a pen. Ink might leak through the photo and damage the image.
Place photo on hard smooth surface to mark.
Record the following information on the back of photographs:
            Where and when the photo was taken
Print clearly so others can read your writing in the future.

   Storing Photos

Use special frames and albums that are free of photo-damaging chemicals to store or display all photographs.
It is best not to tape or glue your photos in an album. Both can damage pictures.
Store your photos in a cool, dry place.
Keep photographs out of the sun so they do not fade.
Ask a local photographer or camera shop on how to locate archival supplies.