A Music Fan’s Guide to Memorabilia Storage

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The Grammys have us feeling all sentimental about music and the songs from which memories endure. Music plays a big role in people’s lives and can play a big role in creating memories from following Jimmy Buffett on tour with the other parrotheads to meeting the legendary Tom Petty to picking up your first guitar or tickling the ivories on stage. Whether a creator or appreciator of music, many people collect sentimental and valuable items in their life’s journey. Storing these items properly can help preserve them for enjoyment, and perhaps a worthwhile investment to be cashed in on, in the future.

One of the most important elements in preserving these musical memories is consistent temperature and humidity. Maintaining a cool temperature and proper humidity levels lessens the likeliness of damage and deterioration over time. While attics and basements may be great storage spaces for decorations, tools, and other household items, these spaces should be avoided when storing music memorabilia of value to you such as vinyl records, photographs, paper music and magazines, and musical instruments. The temperatures and humidity in these areas of the home experience extremes over the course of a year. Additionally, keep these items away from vents, radiators and other heat sources.

A climate-controlled self-storage unit ensures sensitive items are not exposed to extreme temperatures or humidity. Search for a climate-controlled unit near you.

Storing Vinyl Records

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No one can deny the advances that digital music has made to the sound quality of music in your home, car, or headphones and earbuds, but audiophiles know that there is a certain something about listening to an original pressing of Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours on vinyl. While you wouldn’t want to wear out the vinyl version by listening to it frequently, it is something to be treasured and preserved. You could make a digital copy of the vinyl album and store the original for safe keeping and enjoyment once in a while.

The Library of Congress in the United States of America store, care for and maintain over 125,000 vinyl records, so they seem to be an appropriate source on how to best preserve your own vinyl collection. Here are some recommended storage tips for personal vinyl collections to keep them from gathering dust, growing mold, bending, breaking, or becoming warped:

• Stack records vertically – on the edge. Stacking vinyl records flat on top of each other is a definite no-no. It can cause warping over time.

• Have proper storage systems. When grouped together, vinyl records can get very heavy, so shelving must be sturdy enough to hold the weight of your collection. Not ensuring this can destroy a collection should the shelves collapse.
• Store like-sized vinyls together.
• The storage environment should be dry, at room temperature or below and free from direct sunlight or intense light.
• Check the packaging of your vinyl record. Many album covers contain a paper sleeve inside that can damage the album chemically. Using high-density polyethylene sleeves alleviates that issue.
• If you are storing your collection in a container, be sure that it is acid- and lignin-free paper stock or cardboard. Avoid any container that retains a static charge. It is best to use wood over metal crates. Don’t stack them too tightly.

Storing Photographic Prints

Photographic prints tend to have more sentimental value. We all have a collection of photographs, whether from our own taking or our parents’ taking as we grew up prior to the ubiquity of smartphones. These photos captured our favorite concerts and perhaps a chance encounter with a music legend or captured a moment in time at a history-making music festival such as Woodstock.

As with vinyls, storing these prints for preservation is dependent upon the storage environment. Store them in a location that I dry and cool year round, which eliminates attics and basements, once again. Dampness causes photos to stick together and promotes mold growth.

The Library of Congress offers these tips for storing and preserving photographic prints:

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• Have clean hands and wear 100% cotton gloves.
• Do not mark photographs with ink, even on the back side.
• Do not organize prints with paper clips, rubber bands, tape or glue.
• Minimize exposure to all kinds of light and don’t expose them to direct or intense light.
• Provide protective enclosures within a storage box made of plastic or paper that are acid- and lignin-free. Storage materials must pass the ANSI Photographic Activity Test (PAT) which determines if it will cause fading or staining in photographs. This is noted in supplier’s catalogs.

Photo albums are an ideal storage solution for snapshots and heirloom photographs. They provide a way to safely store and organize photos to be viewed safely without damaging the photo. Avoid albums with colored pages and “magnetic” or “no stick” albums.
Creative Idea for Concert T-Shirts

If you are a live music fan and are an avid collector of t-shirts from the shows you have attended over the years, you no doubt have a favorite or two that are deserving of mounting and framing, which is a great way to store a memory. What about the others? The Unclutterer offers the idea of making t-shirts into a quilt that can not only be enjoyed, but useful. Wouldn’t that idea be great to take to your next outdoor concert? That would be quite a conversation starter.
Sources:
http://www.loc.gov/preservation/care/record.html
http://www.archives.gov/preservation/family-archives/storing-photos.html

How to Store Vinyl Records


http://www.loc.gov/preservation/care/photo.html

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