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  General Information

Open to the public, the County of Riverside Robert J. Fitch Archives serves a broad range of interest and users, including: County staff, independent researchers, students, historians, and writers. Those seeking to research historical property ownership and valuation, mining or water interests, or actions taken by the Board of Supervisors beginning in 1893 will find original documents in the Archives to assist them. Primary resource materials from other County Departments will be added in the future. Please contact the County Archives for further information.

Seven Tips to Preserve Your Historical Documents

The Robert J. Fitch Archives for the County of Riverside, California encourages you to preserve your family memorabilia, newspaper clippings, photos, etc.  Here are seven tips to ensure proper care and management of your historic keepsakes:

  1. The best protection for your photographs, newspapers, campaign buttons, tickets, printed programs, or even  bumper stickers is a cool, dry, stable environment (for example, moderate temperature and humidity with relatively little fluctuation, clean air and good air circulation, no natural or fluorescent light, and good housekeeping).
  2. Valuable paper collections do not belong in your attic or basement, which commonly are subject to excessive heat and/or moisture. Avoid storing materials beneath or close to such water sources as washing machines, bathrooms, or air-conditioning equipment. And be sure to consider what is in the room above your collection.
  3. Heat causes damage. When displaying your framed photos, newspapers, invitations, and other memorabilia, don’t hang these valuable items over radiators, heating ducts, heat-producing appliances, or fireplaces. Anything with long-term value should be housed away from heat sources.
  4. Light causes fading and other damage. Keep photos and other memrabilia “in the dark” as much as possible; don’t put them in direct sun or bright light. Hallways or other rooms without windows are best. Install shades and/or heavy curtains where you can’t avoid windows. If you must display an item in direct sun or bright light, consider obtaining a high-quality scan and displaying the digital print instead.
  5. Indoor pollution rapidly damages paper and is a growing problem in energy-conscious spaces with good insulation. Any valuable photo or paper-based document on display should be protected by a preservation-quality mat and frame. The glass or plastic covering, which protects the item from pollutants and dirt, should contain UV filtering.
  6. Photos, letters, clippings, and other family documents should be stored unfolded because folding and unfolding breaks paper along the fold lines. Storing photos and documents in folders rather than envelopes is recommended because envelopes can cause damage as items are removed and replaced.
  7. When considering whether to use paper or plastic enclosures for your photos, select enclosures that pass the Photographic Activity Test (PAT). This test ensures that the enclosure will not react chemically with your photos. Supplier catalogs should indicate whether a photographic storage product has passed the PAT. To read more about the PAT, see the Image Permanence Institute’s “Archival Advisor” web page at


Courtesy of the Robert J. Fitch Archives, County of Riverside, California and The Society of American Archivists.

The County Archives is open by appointment only. Please contact the Archives to schedule a time to view the County records under our care by sending an email to or by calling (951) 486-7327.


  General Information     Collections Contact Us