Tips on Protecting Antique Maps & Prints

The paper on which prints were produced varies greatly in quality and durability, but if kept under proper conditions (no extremes of temperature or humidity and out of direct sunlight), pre-twentieth century paper is amazingly durable.

The following are a few suggestions for print care:

  • A map or print should be handled using both hands, to give adequate support and to prevent tearing.
  • Although all old prints were not produced on acid-free paper, keeping them in an acid-free environment will aid their longevity. Offending “acid” materials include framing materials of an earlier era. Often rematting – if not reframing – will help preserve a precious print.
  • Do not use staples, paperclips or adhesive or “scotch” tape on old maps or prints.
  • Maps and/or prints should never be exposed to direct sunlight; the use of an ultra-violet filtering glass or Plexiglas is highly recommended to minimize fading.