Reply To: Photos in old self stick photo albums

Elizabeth Jablonski

The survey and then addressing the issues of most concern is such a great idea! There certainly are photographs conservators who could help, but perhaps rehousing is the most important first step–just getting them out of the acidic environment and into non-acidity would immediately cut down on risk. Then, they could be conserved one by one, as time and budget allow. If there is sticky adhesive on the backs and concern that this might stick to acid-free materials, choose acid-free tissue over cardstock or plastic. Tissue can always be teased away, fiber by fiber, whereas this is more difficult with cardstock and plastics. At least, use an acid-free tissue interleaf within any enclosures. As far as buffered vs. non-buffered, consult a paper conservator for recommendations. In terms of capturing the layout of the pages before rehousing, I wonder if scanning or photographing each page of the album, first, might be a solution? Though, you want to keep the light levels to a minimum.

These are just some thoughts off the top of my head. I’d be interested in hearing from others.