Picturing the family
Picturing the family

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Free course

Picturing the family

1 How to avoid damage when handling photographs

Remember to treat your photographs with the consideration demanded by their age and fragility. Careless handling and storage will cause damage.

  • Handle photographs at the edges: the skin carries chemicals which cause deterioration (professional archivists wear cotton gloves).
  • Hold a photograph in both hands or support an unmounted print with a piece of cardboard to avoid unnecessary handling.
  • Never write on a photograph with anything other than a soft lead pencil (2B or 3B recommended). It is good practice to write a unique identity number on the back of a print and then make notes separately on paper.
  • Never do anything to a photograph that cannot be undone without causing damage. Store photographs in a dark, dry, cool place.

The Bibliography section at the end of this free course contains books that provide more detailed information on the handling, storage and conservation of photographs.


Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to university level study, find out more about the types of qualifications we offer, including our entry level Access courses and Certificates.

Not ready for University study then browse over 900 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus