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Preserve those memories

If you’re at a loss for what to do about those old photos found in your grandmother’s attic, then the Kitsap County Historical Society Museum could have just the answers you’re looking for.

Nicolette Bromberg, the visual materials curator of the Special Collections at the University of Washington, will discuss proper handling and care of old photographs and issues related to digital photography at 6 p.m. on Friday, April 1 at the museum, 280 Fourth St.

“I will talk about two main points: how to handle and care for old photos and how to look at old photos and how to date them,” Bromberg said.

Old photographs have several clues, which can help a person identify the era from which they came, she said.

Just because old photographs are found in the attic doesn’t necessarily mean they belong there.

“The most important thing is to make sure you don’t put them in the attic and a better place to store the photos is on the level that you live,” Bromberg said.

Heat and humidity are two of the major elements that contribute to the deterioration of older photographs, she said.

Negatives also require special care and some negatives pose different issues than others.

“Once negatives start to deteriorate, the best thing you can do is make one last print before you dispose of them,” she said.

Some negatives have a nitrogen base, which poses a unique hazard because of the way they deteriorate, she said.

“When that part of the negative begins to deteriorate, it burns much hotter than anything else around it,”Bromberg said. “It’s not something you should be afraid of, but you should be aware of it.”

Even though digital photography is gaining popularity, digital photos aren’t necessarily better than film prints.

“With regular photos you have something you can hold in your hand,” she said. “A digital photo is nothing but a bunch of digital codes, which really don’t exist.”

Digital photos are often the victims of improved technology, which results in additional cost to maintain them as digital files, she said.

However she said, digital photos can be preserved as prints, but at a higher cost.

“You have to print them with pigments, not dyes, which is a more expensive process,” she said.

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