Course:3: Processing
Lesson:Lesson 3: Preservation
Topic:Processing Supplies


Processing Supplies

Before you start, set up your processing with the appropriate tools and supplies. (See photo to right.)

There are many archival supplies that you can purchase from archival supply companies. Archival supplies are created from materials that protect and do not damage historic records.

Basic processing supplies include:

  • Alkaline/lignin free file folders
  • Alkaline/lignin free paper for interleafing
  • Archival storage boxes (if affordable)
  • Mylar enclosures for photographs
  • Number two pencils and a good gum eraser
  • A dust brush

The preservation work performed during processing depends on the type of materials being processed.  As we saw above, paper and photographic materials are very different. They require particular handling precautions and preservation actions during processing. 

Ideally, every collection would be processed and preserved using specialized archival quality supplies. Many programs canít afford this level of preservation.  So what can you do to balance reality with the ideal?

If you can only purchase a limited amount of processing supplies, first purchase the supplies that come in direct contact with the historical records. These most often include archival file folders for paper-based materials and mylar enclosures for photographic materials.

Now, letís look at some of the most common types of materials and the preservation work that should be done when processing them.

table covered with processing supplies

Use archival quality folders to store records.

Photographic materials should be stored in mylar enclosures to protect them.