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Preserving Memorabilia with Joseph

Martha Stewart Living Television

When Martha Stewart Living Television producer Mara Altschuler received a collection of her father's photographs, newspaper clippings, and other mementos from his Navy days in the Korean War, she wanted to make sure they were preserved as well as possible. Joe Callahan, chairman of the Scrapbook Preservation Society and a product developer for 3M, offered a number of helpful hints.

Pieces such as newspaper articles or documents can be photocopied and displayed, and the originals put into archival storage. To give documents an antiqued look, they can be photocopied onto newsprint or parchment paper.

If you employ adhesives, they should be acid-free, photo-safe, and not so soft that they bleed through the display or ooze out around it. Color and black-and-white photos should be treated the same way as antique documents, with an added caveat to keep them from heat, humidity, sunlight, and pollution.

If you do any writing, use a pigment ink rather than a dye ink, as it lasts far longer. One recent trend in scrapbooking is to use wire as an embellishment (other people have also put cloth, metal, wood, paint, and chalk to use). Bare metals, however, can corrode and turn to oxides; cover any exposed metals and trim wire ends that can puncture or scratch any adjacent items. Metals should be separate from paper, and if you have an object like the dog tag belonging to Mara's father, make sure it isn't placed directly opposite original photos or documents that can be harmed.

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