As you organize and sort through your heritage photos you may have photos in old magnetic albums that were popular about 25 – 30 years ago. I had several of these albums! My mom used them because they were simple and quick for her to display her photos. Sadly, they accelerated their deterioration and surrounded them like a chemical sandwich. The glue used in these albums was highly acidic and the plastic overlay just sealed in the acid causing deterioration to the image side of the photo.

This was one job I took care of right away when I took possession of our family photos. If you have these albums in your collection, removing the photos is a priority! Some may be easy to remove and some may be troublesome.

Here are a few tips as you approach this next step:

  1. Find a photo in the album that is a ‘throw away’ and try to remove it by gently lifting a corner. If it comes up easily without having to pull or curl the photo, then proceed.
  2. If the photo is stuck take a thin metal spatula and gently work under the photo, or slide a piece of unwaxed dental floss under the corner and gently saw back and forth to work through the adhesive.
  3. Try heating the back of the photo slightly with a blow dryer then attempt the dental floss again. Or heat the metal spatula and use this to soften the glue as you work behind the photo.
  4. Try using a product like un-du which is an adhesive remover used by scrapbookers and safe to use on the backs of photos.

If all this fails, then leave your photos in the albums and make duplicate copies with a scanner. I recommend a small portable home scanner like Flip-Pal for work like this, because this scanner will capture your image even through the plastic overlay if necessary. I’ll be talking more about scanning in an upcoming blog post, so stay tuned.

What about you? Do you have albums like this in your collection?

Lisa Kurtz, Association of Personal Photo OrganizersWhen Lisa Kurtz lost her mother, grandmother, aunt, and uncle in three years, she was left holding a box of unidentified photographs with nobody to ask about them. Lisa embarked on a lifelong quest to discover and preserve her mom’s story, for herself and her kids, which led her to a career in professional photo organizing. Today, Lisa is the Founder of Pix & TALES with her daughter and together they help busy moms manage their pictures and tell their family stories.