How can I care for paper objects?

Paper documents, books, and artworks should be stored in a cool, dry, and dark space where a regular temperature and relative humidity can be maintained. Be mindful that your display and storage areas may be exposed to air conditioning and heating that is used during the day and shut off at night. This means your objects may be exposed to significant shifts in daily temperature, which can cause damage over time.

Too much light can cause paper to yellow and fade, so protect it as best you can. For particularly fragile pieces, you may want to consider using copies rather than the originals for display purposes. Be sure to keep your area well cleaned to protect objects from dust, pests, and insects.

Store your paper objects flat rather than rolled or folded, and handle them with clean hands or cotton gloves. If you want to label your items, be sure to use 2B pencil rather than ink, which can seep into the paper.

Learn more about how to care for paper objects:

Guides

Care of Artworks on Paper

(National Preservation Office, National Library of New Zealand)
web

Care and Preservation of Books

(National Preservation Office, National Library of New Zealand)
web

Care and handling of rare books, paper, manuscripts, photographs and archives

(Auckland Library, NZ)
video

Resources

CCI Notes

(Canadian Conservation Institute)
web