20 March 2017

Let's Get Unstuck! Time to Remove Photos From Sticky Album Pages


Let's Get Unstuck! Time to Remove Photos From Sticky Album Pages

Though Preservation Week isn’t until 23-29 April 2017, it’s NEVER too early to take little steps to help preserve the documents, images and ephemera in our possession or under our aegis.

For some reason, I was looking into those old sticky album pages (aka magnetic albums).  You know those photo albums where you pulled up the clear acetate from a sticky background, placed your photos as desired, put the acetate back down and voila – your photos and memorabilia are organized, preserved and stored for perpetuity!  Unfortunately, they aren’t good at preserving those photos so lovingly taken and placed, and, it can be challenging to remove (without) damage, the placed photos. 

So, I sought some expert advice.  I first came across a post on the American Library Association (ALA) website. This then directed me to a Freer Gallery (Smithsonian Institution) page, How to get out of a sticky situation! Both the ALA and the Smithsonian both have great resources not just for this particular situation and more. 

Dear Donia (ALA preservation specialist Donia Conn provides tips on how to take care of our special photographs, letters, books, and more in her advice column), http://www.ala.org/alcts/preservationweek/advice.

And, the Smithsonian has many articles tagged with preserving your treasures.

I also came across Removing Photos from Sticky Photo Albums, where the ultimate goal was to scan images for preservation, and, which gave some very good advice about removing images from the offending albums including these two tidbits …


·        According to the International Museum of Photography, it is advisable to simply leave photos in their albums if they are older than 60 years old. After that amount of time, the deterioration of the photos has already occurred and removing them without damaging them will be nearly impossible.

·        Avoid using sharp objects such as knives or letter openers to pry the photos off the pages. Even a dull butter knife can end up cutting through a photo.

You are now set to remove your photos, if feasible, from those old damaging photo albums. Please, though, don't just put them into a box! My family unintentionally destroyed many photos using that method of storage!




Have you successfully removed your photos from sticky (aka magnetic) photo albums? What worked for you?











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