I’ve been struggling of late with an old magnetic album – the kind from the 1970s with sticky pages and lethal plastic coverings. The consensus is that their adhesives are damaging to photos.
As if that weren’t enough, my albums have peculiarly awful fluorescent floral covers. They look like something Monet would have painted at Giverny – on acid.
So: Get ‘em out, put them in archivally safe albums, breathe a sigh of relief. Obviously!
But nothing’s every really obvious, is it? Not even with magnetic photo albums. I started reading and Googling and asking around, and the more I learned, the more conflicted I became about two basic questions:
A. Should I dismantle the old albums?
B. If so, how?
Regarding Question A, the bulk of opinion out there favors removal from magnetic albums. (Older, non-sticky albums are another story – most conservators say to leave them alone.)
But a respectable minority points out that sometimes, photos are stuck in magnetic albums so firmly that extracting them poses the risk of other kinds of damage – shredding the backs of the photos so that inscriptions are lost, for example.
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