You Found an Old "Magnetic" Photo Album ... What Now?
For those living in the late 1970s and 1980s, so-called magnetic photo albums held our life stories. But they came with a set of problems all their own, as we later discovered when our photos deteriorated much quicker than they should have.
Do you still have some of these?
Made of thick paper stock, these pages were coated with a glue that, it turns out, was highly acidic. The glues started turning brown and leaching onto the photographs. The plastic Mylar or PVC film that covered the pages for "protection" from fingerprints and dust actually wasn't safe for photos, either. Those covers sealed in the gases that ultimately faded and started eating away our photographs from all sides.
If you still have one or more of these sticky albums, here are some steps you can take to rescue your photographs.
Do you have one album, or many? Do you want the images scanned and digitally preserved, or would you prefer to have the prints to put into a different album? These are two essential questions to ask.
If you have many albums, you may want to index them, particularly if you're planning to scan the images. Label the outside of the album with the span of years contained within, and perhaps the topic. Then label the corresponding folders in your Digital Photo Hub with the same information for easy cross-referencing.
If you want to remove the prints from the magnetic album and put them in another album, you may want to snap photos of the completed pages if they include dates, names, and other details and journaling. Then you can carry those details over to the new album.
Removing Images Safely
Two things either happened with the glue on those sticky albums. Either it dissolved completely and wouldn't hold the photos in place anymore (which you likely discovered as soon as you picked up the album and everything started falling out), OR you have the more common, exact-opposite situation.
They're stuck. Seemingly permanently. If removing them without damaging them seems unlikely, you can try a couple of tricks.
The first is to take some waxed dental floss and try to get it underneath one corner of the photo. Then, shimmy the floss back and forth under the photo, going slowly and keeping the floss flat against the page, to see if it starts to release.
The second is to take a hair dryer on low setting and heat up the page where it meets the photo. Be careful not to get the heat too close to the photo for too long, so you don't damage it. The heat and the floss together might work.
If that doesn't remove the photos, the next option would be to scan and have them saved digitally. The beauty of this is that you could color-correct the ones that hold the most meaning, restoring them to the color they first had before they went into the sticky album.
The digital images then could be printed and placed in a better album, or used to create a beautiful, coffee-table quality, digital StoryBook.
If you need help with any of these tasks, you can find a certified photo organizer near you through the Association of Personal Photo Organizers by visiting appo.org.