How to Preserve Photographs and Sensitive Documents
Maureen Taylor is a nationally known photo curator, genealogist, writer and photo identification/preservation expert. Her articles have appeared in numerous national outlets, including CNN, The Wall Street Journal, Martha Stewart Living, and Better Homes and Gardens. Additionally, her Web site,, considered an industry clearinghouse on both photo preservation and identification issues.

Taylor understands that Home History Book™ archival journal owners will likely have a variety of precious images and documents to include with thei home's stories and offers her advice to ensure those items stand the test of time. She says the basic rule of photo preservation is clear™: Don't do anything to your photographs that can't be undone. This includes directly applying tapes and pastes to them. If an image is already damaged, a professional photo conservator can stabilize the the picture but it's costly. Instead treat your pictures right and preserve them for future generations.

Taylor has created the following DOs and DON'Ts for Houstory Publishing to assist home historians in their preservation endeavors.
  • Use acid and lignin-free paper and polypropylene sleeves like the materials provided with your Home History Book archive journal.
  • Display only copy photos. Sunlight and UV light from certain typs of bulbs can fade photographs
  • Label photographs with names, dates and places so they don't get discarded. Use a soft lead pencil for paper-based heritage images or a photo-safe pen or resin-coated, late 20th centry pictures to write on the back of photographs.
  • Consult a professional conservator for damaged images.
  • Store your photo archive in an area with stable temperatures and humidity, such as a windowless closet.
  • Never crop original photographs.
  • Never write on the front of images.
  • Don't use tape, glue or lamination on your pictures.
  • don't place adhesive directly on an image or attach cutouts.
  • Don't store photographs in attics, basements or unstable environments.
Follow these few basic, inexpensive tips to save your pictures effectively in your Home History Book archival journal, Taylor said. Your descendants will be glad you did.

"The Photo Detective"
Maureen Taylor
About Maureen Taylor
In 1978, Maureen Taylor fell in love at first sight with a shiny metal photograph known as a daguerreotype..

The people looked real and touchable as if they could step out of the frame into the present. In a moment, all the history she'd studied and the families she researched came together. She knew this was not infatuation, but the real thing.

She's never looked back. As a photo curator, genealogist, and now as a writer and photo identification/preservation expert, the focus of Maureen's work remains familiy photography, history and genealogy. Through, she's dedicated to helping those who share her infatuation with discovering the stories behind images of the past.

Maureen is the author of a number of books and magazine articles, as well as a contributing editor at Family Tree Magazine. Learn more about her professional background and credentials at

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