|Genealogy Tip of the Day|
|Removing Photos from Magnetic Albums|
Many of you are probably in possession of a magnetic photo album. These albums, which came out 25-30 years ago, were made from a thick paper stock coated with glue strips and included a thick Mylar plastic covering for each page. Conservators have discovered, however, that the glue used in those albums had a very high acidic content which can eat through the backs of the photographs. The Mylar seals in the acidic fumes, causing deterioration to the image side of the photos as well. In some cases the plastic covering used wasn't even Mylar, but PVC (Poly-Vinyl Chloride), a plastic which further accelerates deterioration.
If you do own one of these magnetic photo albums full of precious family pictures then you need to do something now to try and prevent further deterioration. Begin by gently trying to peel up the corner of a photo that doesn't mean a lot to you. If it doesn't come up easily, then STOP. You will only end up ruining the picture. Instead try one of these tips for removing the photos:
If the photos still don't come out easily, then don't force them! If the photos are very precious, then take them to one of the self-help photo kiosks and make copies of the photos right from the album page. You can also have a photo store make negatives from the photos, but this can be more expensive. To prevent further deterioration, remove the Mylar or plastic sleeves and insert pieces of acid-free tissue between the pages instead. This will keep the photos from touching each other or the remaining glue.
You should also be aware that any or all of these techniques may damage any writing which may exist on the back of the photos. Experiment first with the photos which mean the least to you and see what works best for your particular album and photos.
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