We wanted to post this blog with a few links to some PDF resources for all to use. As you gain situational awareness of your area and assess damages to your facilities, please don’t forget to remain aware of the existing resources available in your cultural heritage community.
Here are a few key points to share:
Most vulnerable materials
- Paper, books, some photographs
- Parchment, vellum, semi-tanned or untanned leathers or Ivory
- Textiles with fugitive dyes
- Anything with water-soluble or friable colors
- Finely constructed furniture, veneers, inlays
- Anything lacquered or gilded
- Low-fired ceramics
- Iron or unstable archeological metals
- Anything with mold growth
The Least Vulnerable Materials
- Metals other than iron or unstable archeological metals
- Most glass
- Most ceramics
- Most stone
Preventing mold in the collection is important. Reduce humidity while increasing air circulation or freezing – depends on the item and the degree of wetness. Over-drying or drying too fast can damage artifacts further. If you are able to use cell phones on site, the Emergency Response and Salvage Mobile App contains salvage advice by format:
If you need printable resources:
Furniture and Wood
Water-soaked furniture and wooden objects should be dried slowly using fans to keep air circulating. Try to maintain a relative humidity of 60% to prevent over-drying. Rapid drying can cause warping and cracking.
Textiles should be dried within 48 hours to prevent mold growth. If you cannot dry them they should be frozen. There are some exceptions, like items with beads, metallic threads.
Complete list here:ConservOGramTextiles21-08
Paintings should also dry slowly. Acrylic paintings on acrylic primed grounds are rather resistant to water damage. Oil paintings on glue sized canvas can be very reactive. Automatically removing paintings from frames is not recommended. The frame can help resist torquing. Do not remove a wet painting from its stretcher or strainer. Remove backing boards to permit air flow along the back of the canvas. If the canvas is really wet, it should be placed horizontally up on blocks to prevent paint from falling off if there is major canvas shrinkage. Slightly wet paintings can be leaned against a wall face out which is often necessary when handling many paintings in limited space. Keep air circulating but do not direct a fan at a painted surface. Keeping relative humidity near 60 percent while drying to avoid over drying. Do not go below 40 percent.
If a badly flaking painting must be moved (horizontally) then lay sections of single ply toilette paper across the damaged area. The wet tissue holds down the damaged paint for transport. When the tissue dries, it seems to lift up and away from the paint, so that a conservator can perform consolidation.
Ornate gesso coated frames can also be fragile when wet. The gesso can crumble into powder. Loss elements can detach and damage a painted canvas.