Enter a search request and press enter. Press Esc or the X to close.
Tennessee has seen an enormous amount of rainfall so far in 2019, with more to come this week, resulting in flash flooding, damaged greenways and more. It's also led to flooded basements, crawlspaces and leaky roofs, which for many means unfortunate damage to treasured family heirlooms, textiles, papers, books and other objects. The good news is that all hope is not lost. As a history Museum, we know how important it is to preserve, conserve and rescue these items. Below are links to resources should you find some of your most treaured items damaged by water.
Before You Start:
Different types of materials need to be treated differently. To avoid further disaster, before your start treatment, get all your equipment together and organize a safe, dry place to work.
The American Institute of Conservation (AIC) has specific guides for Architecture, Books, Glass & Ceramics, Documents & Works of Art on Paper, Furniture, Home Videotape, Metal Objects, Paintings, Photographs, Textiles and Matting & Framing. Learn more here.
The Tennessee State Library and Archives website has extensive resources for care and conservation, preservation and rescuing storm-damaged family collections.
The Northeast Document Conservation Center also also offers resources for books, documents and photographs, including emergency salvage of wet books and records, photographs and moldy books and paper. Learn more here.
Some Tips on Freezing:
As you will see on these sites, for some things like papers, and most photos and textiles, freezing is a wonderful first step so that you can then deal carefully with small groups, rather than a huge gunky mass. But make sure to read the online instructions thoroughly. A few types of photographs (which they explain) should not be frozen. Textiles can also be frozen, but leather, or textiles with leather straps, should not be frozen (it could make the leather break apart).
If you do freeze things, package them to give support to separate groups. Use a clean plastic bag and before you fill it, label the outside of the bag with a Sharpie (not a pen or other type of marker that will run with water) or tie it with a paper tag with penciled identification information. You can put a layer of white (but not decorated) paper towels underneath, so any drippy water will soak into the towels until the package is fully frozen. It will make life easier later. When you are ready to work and take them out of the freezer, get everything out of the bag quickly before thawing and discard the paper towels. Keeping things in a plastic bag at room temperature will encourage mold. DO NOT LEAVE WET THINGS IN PLASTIC BAGS IF THEY ARE NOT GOING IMMEDIATELY INTO A FREEZER.
Also, do not pile wet objects on top of one another. Spread out and work on each object in its own aerated area. The color from wet things can run both while they are wet and while they are drying, so keep colored things (paper/textile/painted) individual and separate from other items.
Last but not least, if you feel your damaged items need professional help, the American Institute of Conservation (AIC) also has an online directory of U.S. conservators.