To study, process, identify, photograph or re-house large paper items such as maps, prints, and drawings, planning ahead is crucial.
For small collections, folders may be stored flat in drop-front storage boxes. Do not stack storage boxes more than two high, as their weight may make them hard to handle. Try to keep the boxes as horizontal as possible when moving.
Large collections of oversized maps, posters, architectural drawings, etc. are best stored inside folders in metal flat files. Try to keep like-sized items together. When not in folders, place interleaving sheets between items for added protection and support.
For blueprints or large documents that are rolled and are difficult to flatten or large collections in limited space, rolled storage is an option that saves space and protects the item from light, dust and other pollutants. Buffered tubes are better except for blueprints (which need unbuffered storage) and documents should be interleaved with tissue or other paper.
If a document has been rolled for a long period time, it may be too brittle to unroll without causing damage. These items should be sent a conservator, who can flatten the item safely.
Note: If your collection is of historical value, we recommend you consult a conservator. Find one near you via the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works’ (AIC) Find a Conservator tool.