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:
            Subjects
            Photographer
            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.