Ask Maureen: Pictures on Fabric

Claire wrote: I have only one photograph of my grandfather and it is printed on textile. It is currently being stored the same way I received it, rolled up in plastic and inserted in a cardboard tube. Oh Claire! I also have a photograph on cloth. It’s my grandmother. While storing the image in plastic…

Read more

Ask Maureen: Storing Different Materials Together

Shirley wrote: How can I store my photos properly? It’s actually easier than you might think. It’s possible to follow the basic rules of archival storage in your home. Here’s a few things to remember. Back in the old days, when I was a photo curator we had a basic rule. Never mix different types…

Read more

Ask Maureen: Prints from Slides

T.J. emailed me to ask, “Where can I have prints made from slides?” It’s one of those modern picture problems. Just about every family has boxes and carousel’s full of slides. Now that slide projectors are difficult to find, what a family to do with all those slides? You can scan them yourself if you…

Read more

Ask Maureen: Photo Reunions

Patience wrote: I found a stack of quite good portrait photos from the late 1800’s – mostly from California but also from NY, Minnesota, Indiana. Only a very few have names of whose photo it is – but almost all of them have the name of the photography studio. What would be the best way…

Read more

Ask Maureen: Scanning Surprises

On a recent trip, a client showed me black and white scans of some tintypes. Recently he emailed me to say he’d scanned the images in color. To his surprise the scanning highlighted the fact that the photographer had colored some of the details. He wrote to ask if that was possible. The answer is…

Read more

Ask Maureen: Faded Handwritten Captions

Jim wrote: “I have an 1884 photo of my gg grandfather and grandmother with 2 of their children. On the back of the photo I can see some written impressions of names possibly. The pencil marks have long since worn away. Can you suggest a process that I might highlight the pencil impressions so that…

Read more

Ask Maureen: Foreign Photos

Mel wrote: I have a photo that I believe is European, do you analyze non-US images? Actually, I do. I receive photographs from clients that live as far away as New Zealand. Family collections in the United States are a mix of images taken here and overseas. I maintain a large collection of foreign images…

Read more

Ask Maureen: Storing Photographs

Catherine wrote: I have several old paper photos that date between the late 1860s and the early 1900s. I am worried about how to store these. Is it o.k. to put these in a plastic zip-loc bag or are there other alternatives. You’re right to question the use of ordinary plastic bags. They are not…

Read more

Ask Maureen: Faded Document Fixes

Alex wrote: A friend of mine has her forebear’s original certificate of membership in the Society of the Cincinnati signed by George Washington. Washington’s signature is so faded, it is almost gone. How can his signature be restored and preserved? There are several steps you can take to enhance the signature on a document. In…

Read more

Ask Maureen: Photocopying Pictures

  Barbara asked: Does photocopying recent photographs damage the pictures? Is there an alternative for our library patrons who want to copy materials from our small collection? Photocopying exposes all types of images to intense light, heat, and chemicals. A single photocopy shouldn’t cause noticeable damage. I would not advise repeat copying of any image.…

Read more