Preparation for long term storage

The correct preparation of film prior to long term storage is one of the most significant steps that can be made in film preservation. Incorrect preparation will accelerate the rate of base decomposition in cellulose nitrate and acetate films, and can lead to blocking in both cellulose and polyester based films.

Films should be stored either on a suitable core or reel, with an adequate length of leader attached to the head and tail. The films’ identification information should be permanently written on the leader.

This chapter contains pages on Cores, Film leaders, Wind tension, Cleaning, Film cans and Storage orientation.


  • Final Report to the Office of Preservation, National Endowment for the Humanities; Environment and Enclosures in Film Preservation: Rochester Institute of Technology 1997
  • ANSI Standard IT9.2-1991 Photographic Processed Films, Plates and Papers – Filing Enclosures and Storage Containers.
  • ANSI Standard IT9.16-1993 Photographic Activity Test