Saving Your Family Treasures: Newspaper Clippings

Most of us have an article or photograph that we have clipped out of a newspaper intending to keep it as part of our family treasures to hand down to future generations. Personally, we have clippings of my little sister who managed to get her photograph in the newspaper several times as a child and a couple of me as an adult. We also have saved several obituaries and a couple of newspaper articles that are special to us. I’m sure you have something you feel is important enough to hang on to also.

Have you ever noticed that if you leave a newspaper in your car that within a week it has turned a golden yellow color? Modern newspapers are not made to last. Our older newspaper clippings have been around long enough to turn dark mustard colored brown. If you, like us clip out an article intending it to last long enough to pass down to your children’s children then you need to take some simple steps.

There are two routes you can take to preserve your newspaper clipping: the simplest is to photocopy or scan it on buffered acid free paper. If you want to keep the original newspaper clipping, you will need to take the second route, which involves a little more work. Since by their nature newspapers are highly acidic you will need to start by neutralizing the acid. The easiest method is by using a spray like Archival Mist by EK Success; it is used by archivists and is simple to use. By using the spray you will lengthen the life of your newspaper clipping and if it hasn’t already started turning yellow it will keep it from doing so. Once the clipping is dried then you are ready to store it.

There are several options for storage of your newspaper clippings. If you choose to store it in book-type form, be sure to use an acid free scrapbook or photo album. You can use a notebook if you can place the copy or clipping in a sheet protector made from polyester, polypropylene, and polyethylene. Caution: please do not use sheet protectors made of vinyl or polyethylene products because they contain additives that can damage the paper thus negating all your work to save it for future generations. If you want to use both sides of the sheet protectors, then place an buffered acid free sheet of paper in the protector and place a clipping on either side of it. Another option is an acid free box, if you do this please get acid free tissue paper and place it between each clipping. If you choose to frame it, use acid free matting and please remember to place it where it will not get direct sunlight otherwise it will fade.