Organize & Preserve 35mm Slides

Organize & Preserve 35mm Slides

For many people, their childhood memories are documented with photographic slides. While the medium may be obsolete, the memories contained within deserve to be shared and preserved for future generations.​​​

Plastic carousels and cardboard boxes are not enough. Exposure to light, dust and fingerprints can cause irreparable damage to those precious images. We’ll guide you through the process to ensure your images are preserved and ready for the future.

Assess Your Collection

Tips for Handling Slides

​​​​​​​When handling your slides, you want to limit the opportunity for the images to be damaged. Here are a few things to consider.

  1. Always work on a clean, clear surface
  2. Wearing antistatic gloves can protect the slides from dust
  3. Only handle the slide by the mount
  4. Do not leave slides exposed to light for longer than necessary

Viewing Your Slides

​​​​​​​To view your slides, there are several options to choose from. You can use a magnifying loupe or a lightbox to view the slides. There are also smartphone apps that you can use to scan your slides, enlarge them, and make them easier to view.

Collection Basics

Before you purchase any supplies, you need to know what you have. Gather all of your slides together and make notes regarding the following.​​​​​​

  1. How many slides do you have?
  2. Check the condition of the slides. Are they damaged? Are they dusty and require cleaning?
  3. Are they arranged in a meaningful way? 
  4. Do the images on the slides exist as photographs as well?

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Digital Backup & Prints

It is highly recommended that you take the steps to digitize your slides. Whether you opt to do it yourself with a slide scanner or send your files to a company to digitize, this is an important step in preserving the images from your slides. If the images only exist in slides, creating a backup is essential.

Preserve & Store

Once you've successfully assessed your collection, it's time to move on to storage options. No matter how you decide to store your slides, any material that is in direct contact with your slides needs to have passed the P.A.T.

Collection Size & Access Frequency

Based on the quantity and how often you plan on accessing your collection, you'll need different storage choices.  ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

  • For smaller quantities or collections you plan to access frequently, you can use slide album pages stored inside of a box album. Light can cause irreversible damage to slides, so you want to make sure you use an enclosed album.
  • For larger collections, you can use a slide file storage system. The system includes internal boxes for organization and then an outer box to keep everything together.


​​​​​​​Store your slide collection in a cool, dry and dark location. They should be protected from rapid or frequent changes in temperature or humidity; such as an attic or basement.​​​​​​​

Related posts