If you’re like most African Americans, you probably saved at least one keepsake to commemorate the election and inauguration of President Barack Obama.

Maybe it was the front page of a newspaper or a special edition of a magazine. Maybe you traveled to Washington and collected Obama memorabilia.

To help N.C. residents properly store and preserve such items, the State Archives offers the following tips:

  • Make digital copies for framing, then store the originals. Photo labs are great for scanning oversized images.
  • Keep paper away from sources of ultraviolet light, such as sunlight and fluorescent lights, which will discolor newsprint quickly.
  • Store paper in stable environments. Attics, basements and even closets can have poor or changing environmental conditions. Look for storage areas that are air conditioned in the summer and heated in the winter.
  • Keep newspapers away from other sources of poor-quality paper, such as cardboard, chipboard or other newspapers. Acidity in poor-quality papers can migrate and discolor nearby papers.
  • Use a high-quality mat board when framing newspapers. Acid-free paper and paper made with low levels of wood fiber are ideal. Craft stores and archival suppliers often sell quality mat board and acid-free boxes.
  • Keep paper away from food. Clean hands before handling. Avoid excessive handling.
  • Lignin, which is found in wood-based paper, will cause discoloration and, over time, will cause paper to deteriorate. Low-lignin or lignin-free paper will survive for years.
  • Keep magazines away from water sources.
  • Once a newspaper is ready for storage, make as few folds as possible. If folding is required, make the fold on the left margin with no center fold.

For more information about protecting newspapers, photos, and other home archival materials, call (919) 807-7339.

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