One of my volunteers offered us a Foodsaver unit to seal the second layer of packaging around nitrate negative boxes that will be going into our new freezer. She works as an evidence tech for the police, and they use one all the time for preserving important evidence.
I had two concerns: the Foodsaver bag material, and the heat to seal the bag. I checked with Foodsaver and the bags are polyethylened with nylon reinforcement. So sounds like they might be okay. So that leaves the heat around the negatives. It’s a pretty short amount of time, so MAYBE it’s okay?? I don’t know. Other than potentially this, we will be following the methods from the NPS Conserveogram on sealing up packages for freezer storage.
I’m wondering: is anyone using Foodsaver bags and sealers for this or other archives and collections purposes?
My take would be that the heat sealing itself is not an issue. The vacuum sealing is a problem, unless you can turn it off. There are other brands of bags or film for cold storage, such as Escal or Marvelseal, but probably not recommended for use with the Foodsaver device.
See this reply from the Smithsonian to a similar question a couple of years ago:
Michael, that’s a great link! Thanks for your input. The NPS Cold Storage for Photograph Collections series is also a really great resource. I will do some research and see if I can dig up some information.
Also, Carolyn, you mention that the Foodsaver bags would be used as the second layer of packaging around your nitrate negative boxes. What is the first layer?
Amanda, the Conserveogram I referenced in my question recommends clear antistat bags. That’s what we are using for layer 1. Have been through that whole NPS series on freezer storage. Bought the freezer per their recommendations, now just have to get final materials, seal and store! The directions are very clear in the Conserveogram, and it’s recent enough that I trust it is still best-practices. But any other tips are most welcome.
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