Heritage-Photo Preservation

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Consider Albums

The materials in photo albums, along with the glues used to adhere the photos, are crucial considerations in photo preservation. Magnetic photo albums, with their sticky pages and plastic covers, are damaging to photos from the front and the back. Ordinary glues and adhesives such as rubber cement can quickly damage photos.

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  • Remove photos carefully from an album while trying not to tear, scratch, or curl them.
  • Once removed, turn photos over and gently peel off any large glue blobs, being very careful not to scratch the backing.
  • Handle photos as little as possible to avoid damage from fingerprints.
  • Store photos flat on an archival-safe surface in a single layer (do not stack on top of each other as the remaining adhesive on the back will do further damage to the front of the photo beneath it).
  • Select only archival-quality photo albums that are acid- and lignin-free.
  • Store photo albums as you would photo boxes: in a low-light, low-humidity, cool, dry area.

Caution: Before extracting photos from old albums, consider scanning and saving the images while they are still attached, just in case they are accidentally damaged in the removal process.

Continued on page 3:  Scan and Save


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