Disaster Salvage Workshop

Pauline joined staff and volunteers from three of our accredited museums Unley, Embroiderers’ Guild and Ayers House Museums at Artlab’s laboratories off Kintore Avenue for a full day of disaster salvage training in the capable hands of Preventative Conservators Anne Dineen and Kasi Albert.

We learnt the four important stages of disaster recovery – Prevention, Preparation, Response and Recovery as well as how to put together a Disaster Preparedness Program. We considered the elements of a Disaster plan and the different team roles in a successful Disaster team.

After a full morning of theory we were well prepared for an afternoon to practice our new found knowledge.  We were faced with a trough of waterlogged materials to simulate a disaster such as a flood or fire (items damaged by water sprinklers).  Anne showed us how to prioritise salvage as well as methods to remove certain objects safely and securely, particularly using the conservator’s friend a thin polyester spun fabric called REEMAY®.  We soon got to know how heavy and slimy wet books feel!  We learnt how to reduce humidity to prevent mould using electric fans as well as an ingenious way to air dry books by creating a wind tunnel.  We also discovered new ways to use bridal veil fabric or tulle to create supports and packing in the drying process.  We were warned that clothes lines should never be used for hanging damp clothes but are excellent for pegging out films, slides and photos while a dish drainer is perfect for drying out wet CDs or DVDs.  We also learnt how Glad Go-Between film is ideal for wrapping around damp books for freezing. 

All in all it was an afternoon well spent in the hands of the experts and I’m sure all the participants went home more confident in knowing what to do if faced by a disaster and keen to make sure that both their Disaster Plan and Disaster Bin were in place. 

Photographs from the workshop showing some of the techniques that we learnt are available on Flickr on our website http://www.flickr.com/photos/communityhistorysa/sets/72157626901495229/

List of materials used and where they can be purchased

REEMAY® - by the roll (17 gsm) – from Archival Survival

ROAR® Rag on a roll – from Corporate Express

GLAD® Go-Between  (high density freezer film) – from supermarket

Brides’ veil (tulle) – by the roll – from fabric shop eg Spotlight

Blotting paper – (non archival) – in sheets – from stationers eg Corporate Express

Plastic sheeting – by the roll – type used by painters/on building sites from hardware store eg Bunnings

Dehumidifier (SeccoProf) – Applied Climate Control, 72-74 Rodeo Drive, Dandenong, Victoria 3175, www.appliedclimatecontrol.com.au, ph: 1300 798 088.

Wet/dry vac AS59-M is from Spitwater SA, 495 Grand Junction Rd, Wingfield, SA, 5013, ph: 8244 0110 http://spitwatersa.com.au/

Newsletter reference

CMP News No.51, June 2011

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