The significance of temperature-controlled storage in preserving historical and sensitive artefacts, documents and artwork can’t be overstated. That’s why, at DeepStore we take immense pride in offering industry-leading storage solutions that ensure your items stand the test of time. Among our comprehensive array of storage solutions, cold storage provides the ideal conditions for long-term preservation of photographs, including both film and colour images.

Our cold storage solution uses subzero temperatures to create the optimal environment for storing delicate items, from old photographs and fragile negatives to irreplaceable artwork and books. In this blog, we explore what items can be stored in cold storage and how DeepStore’s expertise can be instrumental in preserving your collection for generations to come.

What is cold storage?

Cold storage refers to the storage of sensitive items in a meticulously controlled low-temperature environment. This is to safeguard the integrity and quality of these items and slow down their degradation. Through the limitation of the heat in the storage area, it prohibits the growth of microorganisms, mitigating chemical reactions and deterioration processes. The transfer of heat is prevented by combining insulation and cooling systems.

What items can be stored in cold storage?

Within the records management industry, there are a number of items that can be stored in cold storage, these include:

  • Books
  • Artwork
  • Artefacts
  • Archives
  • Textiles
  • Photographs
  • Tapes

Each item has unique characteristics, presenting various challenges and requirements in their long-term preservation. Here at DeepStore, we’re proud of our expertise in the careful handling and storage of various fragile items. At our unique facility, cold storage is mainly used for old photo negatives. In fact, we are currently storing a collection of negatives that are hundreds of years old and kept at sub-zero temperatures in our ultra-secure cold storage vault.

Due to the complex structure of photographic materials, in both their physical and chemical makeup, they require not only storage in a good environment but also proper care and handling. This is particularly true as old film negatives can develop a vinegar odour and warp if not stored correctly. There are several key considerations to take into account in their long-term storage:

  • Temperature and humidity – Optimal storage involves maintaining low temperatures and relative humidity. Lower temperatures extend the lifespan of fragile items by slowing down the rate of chemical decay, whereas high temperatures speed up the deterioration. Humidity levels should be kept below 65% to prevent mould and insect activity and above 15% to avoid brittleness.
  • Education – Handling of photographic material requires the thorough education of all team members who will handle the items and utilise high-quality cold storage environments.
  • Practical considerations – While cold storage is effective for preservation, it may not be practical for all materials and can cause immediate damage if mishandled.
  • Duplication – For crucial items, especially those requiring long-term preservation, duplication is advisable. This ensures the long-term preservation of the content, even in the face of unforeseen risks.

Choosing a cold storage system requires careful consideration, ensuring a balance between preservation needs and cost-effectiveness while mitigating potential risks.

Ideal Storage Environment

When safeguarding your heritage and sensitive items, the choice of a specialised storage facility becomes paramount. That’s where DeepStore can help…

We place the security of your valuable items at the top of our priority list, and we understand that a climate-controlled space is a necessity for many collections. Located 150 metres under the Cheshire countryside in the Winsford Rock Salt Mine, our unique storage facility provides the perfect environmental conditions for a comprehensive range of storage and preservation requirements. Our secure cold storage vaults offer refrigerated and sub-zero conditions, tailored to suit your specific needs. The bespoke facility provides an environment shielded from vermin, flooding, UV light and fire hazards. Constant monitoring, combined with bespoke humidity and temperature control, ensures a protective setting.

Additionally, the transition of your heritage artwork, artefacts and photographs begins with meticulous care. Our expert teams have been speciality trained in the correct handling of rare and fragile materials, and manage their transfer into our secure facilities with the utmost proficiency.

Get in Touch Today

To learn more about DeepStore and what items can be stored in cold storage, contact our friendly team today. Call us at 0345 056 5759 or fill out our simple online enquiry form, and we’ll be in touch.