Your irreplaceable family papers, photographs and documents can provide lifetimes of pleasure and information for you and your heirs. For advice on how to preserve your family's historic keepsakes, who better to turn to than the people who preserve the nation's historic documents.

The National Archives says your papers, like you, do best in comfortable, temperate environments. Documents last longer in temperatures between 60 and 70 degrees, away from high heat or moisture. The Archives suggests storing them in a central location in your home, not in attics, basements or garages, where heat, cold and humidity are more likely to hit extremes.

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As for photos, scrapbooks are fine, but be careful how you mount the snapshots. Avoid white glue and rubber cement, because they could damage the photos. Birth certificates and other valuable documents should be put in clear envelopes or plastic sleeves made with polyester or polypropylene.

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