How to Care for Documents 

Collecting, preserving and making available records relating to the county of Warwickshire are the professional responsibilities of the staff of Warwickshire County Record Office, an archive repository approved for this purpose by the National Archive. We therefore strongly advise anyone coming into possession of archival material relating to Warwickshire to consider seriously the possibility of depositing such material at the WCRO. Archives are catalogued to a professional standard and stored in a secure location at the correct environmental conditions.

It is possible to deposit items at the WCRO either as a gift or loan or occasionally as a purchase. We are also interested in producing copies of documents as an alternative to a deposit where appropriate.

For private collectors of archives we would offer the following advice:

Storage of Documents


  • In a damp environment.
  • Near a source of high temperature, e.g. a fire or radiator.
  • Exposed to direct sunlight.
  • In a smoky atmosphere.


  • In a stable environment, i.e. as little fluctuation in humidity and temperature as possible.
  • In an area that is secure against theft.
  • In a suitable acid free container; do not overpack the container and ensure that there is a hole to allow fresh air to circulate.

During transport and exhibition documents are particularly vulnerable to damage or loss

Transit of Items

  • Make sure that the container is secure in your vehicle.
  • Do not place heavy objects on the container or documents.
  • Do not leave the documents unattended in your vehicle.

Exhibition of documents

  • Exhibit documents in a place as secure as possible, ideally with someone in attendance at all times. If practical, place the documents in a display case.
  • Do not exhibit outdoors.
  • Avoid direct sunlight, i.e. use blinds or curtains and cover showcases when exhibition is closed.
  • Make sure all photographs stay in polyester sleeves.
  • Documents can be secured by using strips of polyester over the document and by putting pins through the polyester where it does not overlap the documents.
  • Use silica gel granules to control humidity.
  • Avoid contact with food and drink.


  • Use pins, sticky pads, bluetac or adhesive tape on the documents.
  • Place original documents on top of each other.
  • Overfill showcases.
  • Fold documents where there is no fold already.
  • Erase reference numbers.
  • Allow the public to handle the documents.

If there is any damage to the material, under no circumstances attempt to repair the item.  Contact the County Record Office as soon as possible.

For further advice on storage and conservation of archive material please contact Donata Santorini or Robert Pitt on 01926 738972, Conservators at Warwickshire County Record Office.

Written by Rob Eyre, WCC Senior Archivist (June 2006)