How to Preserve & Store Newspapers

How to Preserve & Store Newspapers

Newspapers capture the stories and perspectives of a single moment in time. Once read, they are meant to be discarded or recycled. But they capture a moment and are an important part of the historical record. Researchers, historians and genealogists all rely on newspaper accounts as primary sources of information. Most households have a collection of newspaper clippings, including births, weddings, deaths, and everything in between.

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Preserving Newspapers: Step-by-Step Guide

In any discussion of newspaper preservation, there are two areas to consider. The first is preserving the information, which you can do by photocopying and/or scanning and digitally storing the contents.
​​​​​​​The second area is preserving the physical newspaper as an important historical artifact. Newspapers are inherently unstable. Printed on highly acidic wood pulp paper, they become dry, discolored and brittle. Handling them only adds to the damage. So, how do we preserve these important resources for generations to come?

  1. As with handling any artifact, wash your hands before handling any newspaper. Gloves are not necessary and can cause loss of dexterity, resulting in damage.

  2. For institutions, organize the collection chronologically by publication.

  3. Lay the papers flat and unfold them.

  4. Take an accurate measurement so that you can select large enough storage enclosures.

  5. Place each newspaper flat in a primary enclosure such as a polyester sleeve or paper folder.

  6. Label the folder with acid-free labels or a no. 2 pencil.

  7. Place the folders in a buffered, acid- and lignin-free storage box with a deep lid to block out light and dust. Do not overstuff the box.

  8. Label the outside of the box to locate a specific newspaper when necessary easily.

  9. Store the box horizontally in a dry, relatively cool location with stable temperature and relative humidity.

  10. If you want to display your newspaper, display a high-quality copy instead of the original.

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