Keeping Your Cards Safe
General Advice – Keeping Your Cards & Box Safe
We cannot give you any guarantees as to how long your cards will last, as so much will depend on how you store them. We can tell you that we have used the correct paper and inks to maximise their lifespan whilst keeping our products affordable for our customers. We have ensured that the pen in the box has archival ink, and the unbleached cotton tape and acid free tissue are of archival quality, too. During our research into the best materials to use, we have been told time and again that there are no industry standards for how long ‘archival’ or ‘archivally sound’ materials will/must last.
The technical details for the materials we have used are shown below.
The environment within which you store your box and cards is important. Please store them away from:
- sources of damp (including avoid storage in a cellar);
- avoid extremes of temperature (e.g. avoid storage in the attic) and
- look out for attack by insects.
If you have decided not to use one of our book boxes, then an alternative is to use a suitable tin. Please do not put anything in your box or container which could damage any of the contents this includes avoiding using such items as adhesive tape, sticky labels, paper clips, staples, coloured tapes and avoiding anything which is damp, mouldy or which could leak.
- Paper – Family Legacy Cards are printed on uncoated white paper, 250gsm weight, manufactured in Scotland and guaranteed for archival storage for up to 200 years. The paper is FSC certified, (The Forest Stewardship Council is an international, non-governmental organisation dedicated to promoting responsible management of the world’s forests. FSC certified means that the paper is sourced from well-managed forests and consumers can be confident that they are not contributing to the destruction of the world’s forests).
- The inks – Archival ink is an ink which is designed to resist fading and weathering so that it will endure for future enjoyment. As a general rule, an archival ink works best with specially designed archival paper so that the paper will endure as well. Our printer’s inks were tested recently in advance of winning the order to print Royal Mail’s Olympic Postage stamps. The inks were approved having achieved ‘Blue wool values as follows, Cyan & Black = 8: Magenta & Yellow 4-5.
The Blue Wool Scale measures and calibrates the permanence of colouring dyes. Traditionally this test was developed for the textiles industry but it has now been adopted by the printing industry as measure of light-fastness of ink colourants. Normally two identical dye samples are created. One is placed in the dark as the control and the other is placed in the equivalent of sunlight for a three-month period. A standard blue wool textile fading test card is also placed in the same light conditions as the sample under test. The amount of fading of the sample is then assessed by comparison to the original colour rating between 0 and 8 is awarded by identifying which one of the eight strips on the blue wool standard card has faded to the same extent as the sample under test. Zero denotes extremely poor colour fastness whilst a rating of eight is deemed not to have altered from the original and thus credited as being lightfast and permanent.
The Book Box
The boxes are not made to archival standard as such and we do not know how long they will last, but they will act as an outer case protecting the contents for as long as possible and because they look like a book can be stored neatly and unobtrusively on any shelf and kept safe. Precious family papers, photographs and trinkets are often lost because they are not collected safely in one place. The book box is intended to be recognised as the place the family store their family legacy and add to it over time.
- Deluxe box – the internal structure is constructed from MDF supplied from Austria. The wood used in the MDF is mostly from conifers and bonded together using chlorine free bonding. The MDF is certified as meeting EU regulations. The outer is made from Tuscan leather. Inside the box the lining is made from pu leather.
- Standard box – the internal structure is made from cardboard. The outer cover is made from pu leather, the inner lining is made from linen.
The Archival Pen
The pen in our book box set is a Pigma micron pen and contains archival ink. The ink was developed specifically for use by museums, archivists and conservators following extensive research and testing. The manufacturer states that the ink is permanent, waterproof, is chemical resistant and temperature-resistant on paper and on many fabrics. The ink dries to a pH of 7, that is, it is neither acid nor alkaline, and therefore will not adversely affect the materials on which it is used. However, please be aware that permanence may be affected by temperature, humidity, light and contact with acidic or alkaline chemicals. The ink colour we have selected for use with Family Legacy Cards is black. The amount of ink in the pen is enough to last approximately a write-out length of 700 meters. Micron pens are not refill pens, but ‘disposable’ and their standard performance is based on a 24 month shelf life. They are designed to be used at a 90° angle, like technical pens and should be used with a light touch and little pressure i.e. the writer should not press down hard on the pen when writing.
Acid Free Tissue and Unbleached Cotton Tape
To provide an extra layer of protection we have wrapped the Family Legacy cards in your book box in acid free tissue and recommend that you continue to keep them wrapped in this way. The bundle is gently tied with unbleached cotton archival tape.
N.B Please do not use PVC sleeves to store your precious family documents as they do emit acids which over time will be harmful to the contents. If you have bought individual Family Legacy Cards once opened please do not continue to store the cards in the outer plastic wrappers indefinitely. These are only for display and short term protection and are not made from polyester, which is the preferred material for transparent archival storage.
There are websites for the national archives and these give general advice and guidance on keeping records, together with the extent of their own collections and access to them. We have also included the website for the Institute of Conservation which includes how to find a professional conservator and advice on how to care for certain types of item.
www.nationalarchives.gov.uk – for England and Wales
www.nas.gov.uk – the National Archives of Scotland
www.proni.gov.uk – the Public Record Office in Northern Ireland
A further source of help are the local authority records offices/archives, but these do vary considerably. Fort these contact your local authority directly.
www.icon.org.uk – The Institute of conservation
www.collectionstrust.org.uk – whilst this is a resource for collections‘ professionals, you may find some helpful information on the website.