Emergency Salvage of Family Treasures
The following information aims to provide support and valuable information for those affected by natural disasters in hopes of preserving their memories and treasures.
- Do not rush into salvage. Rushing may cause you to damage fragile paper. Instead, take your time and think about how you can work safely.
- Wear nitrile or latex gloves when working with flood damaged materials to protect yourself from contaminants in the water.
- Consider freezing wet books, paper and photographs to prevent mold growth. If possible, place pieces of wax paper at ¼” intervals in stacks of paper and between each photograph. Place stacks in plastic bags and freeze. Then you can thaw and dry them at your convenience.
- Do not freeze anything made of glass.
- Air dry materials by laying them out on a surface covered with paper towels, terrycloth towels, or other absorbent material. Dry paper in stacks no more than ¼” high. Dry photos in a single layer.
- Use fans to keep the air moving, but do not aim fans directly at the wet materials.
- Clean mold from materials using soot sponges.
- Materials may look curled or wrinkled after salvage. This is okay. Salvage is designed to get things safe from mold growth and further damage. A conservator may have to help restore damaged items to their previous appearance.
For advice, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
How to Salvage Wet Materials
- Library of Congress Guide to Drying: Tips from the Library of Congress on how to preserve and dry paper, books, photographs, and other materials.
- National Park Service: The National Park Service has put together helpful leaflets on safety and the salvage of different types of materials after a water emergency.
- Health and safety hazards:http://www.nps.gov/museum/publications/conserveogram/21-01.pdf
- The salvage of objects: http://www.nps.gov/museum/publications/conserveogram/21-06.pdf
- The salvage of textiles: http://www.nps.gov/museum/publications/conserveogram/21-08.pdf
- Full list: (see section 21 for more disaster recovery advice) http://www.nps.gov/museum/publications/conserveogram/cons_toc.html
- Salvage of Water Damaged Materials: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rXyA5Dq_jHM&index=9&list=PL4DA994141F023199
- Salvage Procedures for Wet Items: http://www.mnhs.org/preserve/conservation/emergency.php
The Minnesota Historical Society has assembled information on how to save different types of items, including paper, books, photographs, scrapbooks, textiles, records, and more.
- Emergency Salvage of Moldy Books and Paper: A detailed guide from the Northeast Document Conservation Center.
- Emergency Salvage of Wet Photographs: General instructions on air drying and freezing water damaged photographs.
- WAAC Salvage at a Glance Chart: A quick reference for salvage of all types of materials.
- Dealing with Soot and Ash: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s9i9BfofVFo&index=6&list=PL4DA994141F023199