The Quick and Dirty of Preserving Your Photographs

House on 62 and Garfield in the Village of Richfield. 1956.

The quick and dirty rules for keeping your photographs or diaries longer is to keep it in a stable, clean, and dark environment. 

Let me break it down even more. Stable, as in cool 65 degrees and dry as in 30-50% relative humidity. How can you tell what the humidity level is? Get a digital thermo hygrometer from amazon for between $20 and $30, stick it in the room where you will be storing your precious memories and BOOM. You’ll know what the temp and RH is and adjust as needed.

Clean. Why should that space be clean? Hmm.. let’s think on this one. Ok, state-the-obvious aside, some ways to keep your materials clean is to keep it covered. In shoe boxes with covers, lined with tissue paper works great. If you want something a bit more fancy but inexpensive, purchase manila file folders and interleaf the photographs with archival paper. Handle your goods the way you do with food. Wash your hands before digging in and reminiscing. This keeps the oils and dirt on your hands from soiling photographs, which will then speed up the deterioration process. Food and liquids should always be kept far from your storage space. These attract our crawling friends.

Dark room. Light, from any source, is the worst kind of exposure. The sun of course emits the most damaging rays. (That’s why we wear sunblock.) Keep the lights off as much as possible in your storage area. Or keep your materials covered or in boxes. If you’re displaying a photo of grandma, don’t place it on a wall with direct sunlight. Change out your photos so that they don’t stay in any light for a long period of time.

OK, so you’ve done all this and still want more tips?

Here is one free reference from the NE Document Conservation Center that I recently discovered that has absolutely everything a professional, hobbyist, historian, genealogist, retired person or anyone, should ever need to preserve their archival history.

The Minnesota Historical Society of course has some of the best resources.

And the Library of Congress

Hey, and if you want some first hand experience before trying it out on your own, we’re always looking for volunteers!

The photo above is part of our photographic collection of inventory of homes in Richfield in the late 50s.

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Free Music: Backporch at the Bart

Featuring Chase and the Pacers

Settle down for the summer with a final show in our music series of Backporch at the Bart.

Rock with us in this fun show with Chase and the Pacers. Our very own board member, Todd Chase, leads band mates Barb Brynstad, Russ Peterson, Sloppy Joe, and Todd Crouch in a mix of rock, pop, and folk.

Bring a blanket, lawn chair, snack, and laze away the summer evening.

Richfield Historical Society
6901 Lyndale Ave s
Richfield, MN 55423

Wednesday, August 20, 2014 at 7 PM

All ages




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One of the Last Farms

The Kramer farm at 77th and Penn was one of the last to operate in Richfield. Minneapolis Star Photo by Roy Swan

Margaret Kramer, a widow, held the most valuable piece of remaining Richfield farm property, forty acres at the intersection of Penn Avenue South and the proposed Interstate 494. Kramer came to Richfield in 1904 and had no intention of leaving. She specialized in truck farming with the assistance of her daughters Laura, Helen, Margaret, and Marie. Seven years after the 1958 news story, the Kramers’ venerable farmstead made front page news in the Minneapolis Star. Developers announced plans for a fourteen-story, one-million square foot commercial and residential complex on the Kramer farm.

The Crossroads at Penn apartments replaced the farmstead. The Kramer family planned to build a new home on the corner of the farm at West 76th Street and Sheridan Avenue South.

The Kramer sisters retired from farming in 1967. (Click to read the story article.)

Crossroads at Penn was built on the Kramer Farm.


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Welcome New Operations Manager

Welcome new RCHS Operations Manager.

Richfield Historical Society welcomes Mai Vang, Operations Manager. Mai Vang was Curator in her previous position and recently relocated back to the Twin Cities. She holds an M.S. in Anthropology and a museum studies certificate. Although she likes geeky things like history and crocheting, she also enjoys good food (see photo ;)) and live music with great company. Speaking of company, stop by to visit! RCHS hours are Wednesdays and Saturdays noon – 4 pm.

For press release click here.



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