Safely Handling Paper Memorabilia

Dear Donia,
How can I separate a card and an old photo that are stuck together?

greeting card

Q. Dear Donia,

 Oh no! Please help! I was gifted an antique paper greeting card with an original signature. We intended to frame it, but it got wet and now has a precious old photo stuck to it. Is there any way to separate them without destroying either piece of memorabilia? Google has not been helpful, but you seem like the one in the know. Please help! Thank you so much in advance! Best, Laura

A. Dear Laura,

I am so sorry hear about the mishap with you card and photograph. I am glad that you came to the conclusion that Google was not helpful; this is not an easy problem to find a solution for, even for trained conservators!
It is very difficult to give conservation advice for something like this without seeing the item in-person. However, you are very lucky to have one of the conservation training programs in your backyard at Buffalo State. I would recommend contacting the school as this may be a great student project—so many things to learn in one piece! If the program can't take care of your piece for you, they would be able to recommend a conservator in the Buffalo area that could help.
If the conservation program won't give a recommendation, you can consult with the American Institute for Conservation's Find a Conservator page. This will give you paper conservators in the Buffalo area (I found 6 within a 15 mile radius of you).
This is definitely not something you will want to tackle yourself so please take the time to find a conservator who can help.