Document restoration >> Storm Damage

When a storm has moved into an area, whether it's a tornado or hurricane and creates Storm Damage to a library, a school or a business that have an extensive amount of document material, and this material has sustained a significant amount of damage it will need to be restored. There is a certain process that should be followed for the successful restoration of books, artwork and other valuable materials, this is a partial guideline.

  1. If there have been books involved in the Storm Damage you must first stand the books on their driest edge first to provide support and as the books begin to dry turn them upside down to the opposite edge for several hours until dry. By placing a sheet of waxed paper larger than the pages between the front and rear cover and adjacent to the pages before standing them on edge and replace the answer leaving when it becomes saturated. Dry these books until they are no longer wet, but still cool to the touch, carefully close them and place them on a solid surface with a slight weight to keep distortion to a minimum. Check them frequently to ensure that there is no mold growth.
  2. If there have been any photographic materials involved in the Storm Damage they must go through an air drying process. Some historical photographs are very delicate when water damaged and they may not be able to recover, but most negatives, prints and color slides can be air dried. The image or picture should be placed face side up, being careful to avoid touching the front services of the wet or damp photographic negatives or prints. The print side or the emulsion side will often appear less glossy on color slides and negatives, in order to speed up the drying time, dry these items on a clothesline using the nonabrasive plastic clothespins.
  3.  If the negatives or photographs are stuck together or the emulsion is Storm Damage, contact a conservator of photography or your local historical society or museum they can provide advice. If the Storm Damage photographic materials are covered with dirt or mud or they are still wet, they might be gently rinsed in a pool of cold, clean water or in a light stream of cool water and then dried. Your local photographic conservator can advise you if freeze-drying is the best method to take, but do not attempt this on your own.
  4. When attempting to perform a recovery of Storm Damage collections that have sustained mold, you must first identify what condition the mold is in. Is it active where the mold looks fuzzy or slimy? If this is the case do not attempt to remove the active mold. If the mold is dry and powdery it is dormant by using safety precautions in handling the mold it can be removed. To stop the outbreak of mold you must first improve the environmental conditions, the humidity levels should be as low as possible and preferably below 50%. The use of a dehumidifier and also lower the temperature below 68°F are recommended. With short exposures to sunlight and the circulation of outdoor air this might help to dry the moldy items more rapidly.

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