Saving that paper

Photo courtesy of mezzoblue

Newspaper article, courtesy of mezzoblue

WaPo is running another 350,000 special editions today that’ll show up in stores tomorrow. If you’re willing to pay a $8.50 markup so you don’t have to go out you can grab one in their CafePress store.

If you’re buying this so you can show your kids in a decade, however, you’re still not done. At least not if you want it to hold up till your toddler is in 9th grade History class. Modern newsprint isn’t as acidic as some older stuff, but it still will degenerate in a very unattractive way. The Minnesota Historical Society has a good PDF on preserving newspaper. Here’s their advice in a nutshell:

  • Don’t laminate it. Lamination melts plastic onto the surface and is irreversible. You want an encapsulation method so you can remove the item later if something better comes along or we learn something new about what you have it in now, like we did about polyvinylchloride.
  • Some sort of pure polyester, polypropylene and polyethylene bag is the way to go. You can buy these things online or in art stores or possibly comic book shops. We *ahem* Folks like that have been enclosing precious items in mylar for a long time.
  • You need to de-acidify that paper. You can get some sprays for this – scrapbooking shops or websites will sell it – or you can make your own mixture out of milk of magnesia and club soda. In any case you need to be careful about not making the ink run. Archival mist is one brand that’s easy to find online.

If you’re a little put off by this, reader nakeva suggested simply buying the archival-quality front-page reprint from WaPo here for $60.

UPDATE: And that’ll teach me not to search Lifehacker before I post! They just ran a how-to preserve a newspaper, though they mention the bad choice of lamination.

Well I used to say something in my profile about not quite being a “tinker, tailor, soldier, or spy” but Tom stole that for our about us page, so I guess I’ll have to find another way to express that I am a man of many interests.

Hmm, guess I just did.

My tastes run the gamut from sophomoric to Shakespeare and in my “professional” life I’ve sold things, served beer, written software, and carried heavy objects… sometimes at the same place. It’s that range of loves and activities that makes it so easy for me to love DC – we’ve got it all.


3 thoughts on “Saving that paper

  1. Now that is a great post. I did not know that I should not laminate the paper. And thanks for the “shout out”. That made my day, w00t!

  2. I loved the idea of polyvinylchloride as a matter of fact till now I never knew that the paper should not be laminated, really man thank you for this blog and for sharing the information with us