How to Preserve Family Photos

Young-Thomas-Mary-Robert-Clara-sm2Family photos are the entry point into family history for many people. Keeping them safe is so important! I sat down and talked with Denise Levenick, The Family Curator, for her tips on how to preserve family photos.

Note: if the video doesn’t play in the post, you can view it on YouTube.

How to Preserve Family Photos – Highlights:

  • Keep your photos out of the elements, so that they don’t curl, fade, or crack.
  • Use photos sleeves the same size as the photo.
  • Look for archival plastic, marked as PAT. Mylar and polyester are also safe.
  • 100% rag paper can also be used as a photo sleeve.
  • Why a soft pencil and a light touch are all you need to label photos.
  • The best way to display a photo is to not display it. (Watch for Denise’s safe way to do it.)
  • Why you may or may not want to take a photo out of the holder from the photography studio – and how you can keep the photo safe in either case.

Resources Mentioned:

(Note: the links to Denise’s book are Amazon affiliate links, meaning that Amazon pays me a little bit when someone purchases through those.)

How to Preserve Family Photos

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  • Thank you for sharing this Amy. I have been trying to decide which of Denise’s books to purchase since your last interview with her. I have inherited thousands of photos in about 15 large boxes. It’s a wonderful but super overwhelming amount of work and I just haven’t been able to chart a clear course. This interview had great tips and it helped me decide which book I want to buy. Thank you for taking the time to do this interview and share it!

  • Amy I love ALL the information you share here and I just hope I can remember it and put it to use in my multiple family searches! I have read and re read them and I’m amazed how knowledgeable you are in genealogy!! I only wish I learn a fraction of what you know!! I do get overwhelmed trying to decide if this person is who I think he is?? There are so many variables in making that decision aren’t there?? Hmmm hopefully with your help I’ll get to the correct people! Thanks so much Amy!

    • Thank you so much for your kind words, Sheila! It means a lot to me that you find my posts, etc. helpful. And you’re right — there can be a lot to think about when you’re trying to figure out if someone really is your ancestor — but that can be part of the fun 🙂