Every now and then someone will refuse to let me scan one of their old pictures or documents that are framed, OR they won't let me scan their old items because they think I'll damage their things during the scanning process.

Here is what I usually find with the above situations - their pictures have already faded, there is almost always some damage and most of the time those items on display will continue to fade because they did not put those things behind UV resistant glass and end up having them next to an outside window or under a hall light which will dramatically speed up the fading/deterioration process.
Then the other aspects most people aren't aware of are that the acid in the paper is constantly deteriorating the picture/document, and many times paper loving insects will get in between the frame and have a "hay day" feeding on them to where they chew through the picture or document. Much of the time the holes are so small that no one notices the damage - at least not until I remove them from the frame, only to discover the damage.

So like I tell people who worry about me - they are their own worst enemy to the pictures they think they are protecting/preserving.

The only way to truly preserve that history is to make high resolution digital scans of them and have that data stored in another database besides their own.

To give you an idea of how poorly most old documents and pictures are cared for...I recently grabbed a bunch of old Ohde pictures and documents to scan.
Now this is not a criticism of the family...it is a typical example of what happens to old documents that are rolled up and then unrolled to look at and then rolled back up again.
Even if no one ever looked at the item that was rolled up, they become very brittle. So when I work on them I need to carefully unroll them to avoid as much cracking as possible.

Now the worst thing to do is to not unroll them and get them scanned - for fear they might crack some more...in a matter of years they will become so brittle and deteriorate to a point that they'll fall apart and become "dust in the wind." Then there will be absolutely no way to scan them - it will be TOO LATE.

The document below was not only cracked and badly damaged it was also completely broken in half. Someone in the family attempted to repair the document by scotch taping the two pieces together but that only adds to the damage because the glue on the tape will transfer to the paper and cause yellowing and darkening which then takes even more time to restore the image.

So in the future if I ask to scan your old framed and loose pictures/documents - BEFORE you say NO, please remember these before and after images.
I would think everyone will agree that I not only did not damage the document but now have a wonderful digital image that could be printed to replace the original item once it falls to pieces completely.

So if you want to doom your old document or picture to the trash heap of history - then just tell me you won't let me scan your item.
I have plenty of other people's history that they want me to scan and preserve, so I just move on and let the resistant people wallow in their ignorance about historical preservation.

Some of you knew Ida - if you remember the Klean Klose Shop - you should remember Ida Dethlefs.
She ran the shop with her son, Ken.

In order to get to the point of having a good scanned image, I first had to unroll the two halves and lay them flat under the scanner lid and then place some heavy books on top to press down for about a week.
After this time frame I was able to lay the two halves flat and next to each other and realign them as best I could.
Then I used some tape on the back to hold the halves securely. After that I was able to make a high resolution scan.

Fortunately I have a large format scanner, so I did not have to split scan the document and then merge the two halves. This would have increased the restoration time and moving the document each time could crack it more.

Once scanned, I worked on the image over 3 different days. I saved the file in TIF format so there is no compression, causing loss of quality.
Since I made it a super high resolution scan, I would save the changes to a new file every so often so as to not lose any of my digital restoration.
Once I was finished I immediately copied the files to my back up hard drive - I take no chances!!!

Normally I won't work on a document so badly damaged. I may make a high resolution scan of it but will keep it back and possibly restore it in the future.
But since the Ohde family has been so helpful with my historical work and they freely have shared their old pictures and documents with me over the decades, I am honored to help them preserve their family history.

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