May 2015

Conservation of Old Postcards

I found a pile of old postcards while cleaning out my shed. How do I look after them?

Answer

This is a great question! Preserving paper objects can be challenging in our Queensland climate.

If the cards are dirty, you can give them a light brushing with a very soft paintbrush to remove any dust or dirt. The method of storing the cards or photos is very important in order to keep them clean and to prevent any further damage. We recommend storing old cards in Polypropylene sleeves and albums away from light sources. If you intend to place two cards in a sleeve back to back, it is best to place a piece of acid free tissue paper between them to prevent them from sticking together. A fairly constant climate (low temperature and low humidity) will help to prevent the growth of mould which is also damaging to objects of all kinds. If you wish to display your cards, ensure that they are placed in an area with low light levels as both natural and artificial light can fade and discolour objects over time.

You may also like to contact the State Library of Queensland as they run conservation workshops. People need to book in for these free workshops, and can bring their objects along for advice from conservators on how to care for, store and display their objects. For more information please visit the State Library of Queensland's website.

Queensland Museum's Find out about... is proudly supported by the Thyne Reid Foundation and the Tim Fairfax Family Foundation.