How to preserve old scrapbooks?

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An interesting project over the holidays can be to restore an old scrapbook which you found in grandmother’s closet. It should no doubt be packed off to museums, but why not try to preserve it at home instead.

Even your parent’s scrapbooks would need a good elixir to look young and respectable. Years of flipping through the scrapbook would obviously take its toll, but be rest assured. All is not lost.

Here are some creative ways in which you can preserve old scrapbooks and extend its life.

1. Ancestral scrapbooks mostly have low quality paper. It might not be so thick and would have yellowed and become brittle over the years. So while browsing through the old photographs, be extremely careful. Hold the scrapbook properly by its spine and balance it on a table and only then turn the pages (one at a time).

2. If you feel the paper is deteriorated beyond repair and turning a page might mean tearing it into two, then why not restore it? Buy acid free thick paper and paste the old ones on it. This would work only if one side of the scrapbook page was blank. Since those scrapbooks are rare, put each of the old scrapbook’s page in a file that has plastic covers.

3. Digitizing old scrapbooks can immortalize them. Scan every page of your ancestral scrapbooks and make a backup of those images on a photo-hosting website. This way, you can enjoy a piece of history in a very modern way --- on your laptop!

4. If the scrapbook contains metallic embellishments that rust easily, then use them in such a way that it is not permanently pasted on the paper. Wrap it in transparent cellophane and stick that to the paper. This way you can take it out each year and clean the rust off. This will prevent from the paper to disintegrate.

5. Get a cardboard box of the size of the scrapbook made so that you can store it in that. If the scrapbook is high on sentimental as well as historic value --- for example a scrapbook belonging to your grandfather during the World War II --- then get an air-tight plastic box for it. However much it must have been neglected till now, at least you can take good care of it henceforth.

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