Ask Maureen: What’s the Worst Photo Album?

Whenever I present my lecture on Preserving Family Photographs I’m asked the same question, “What the worst type of photo album?” The answer is magnetic photo albums. They aren’t really magnetic, but the glue strips or dots on the acid paper pages acts like one. Your photos STICK to the page and you have trouble removing them. Over time the glue will stain your images.

While I don’t advise taking apart family photo albums, when confronted with a magnetic one it’s a different story. Purchase a new album with acid and lignin free pages and non-pvc polyester overlay then carefully remove all your images from that nasty magnetic one and recreate the order of the images on new pages.

I know..the next question is “How do I remove them?” You can gently slide a piece of dental floss between the image and the page or you can purchase a microspatuala from a library supplier and try using that to remove the images. Just be careful. It is possible to tear a photo with the floss or the spatula.

Make me a promise. No more magnetic photo albums, no matter how cheap they are on sale. Stick with the good stuff. Look for acid and lignin free models with polyester overlays. They will last.