Disaster Recovery PDF Resources to Download

We wanted to share several resources in a blog post that could be used in disaster planning and recovery efforts.  Some of these PDFs may be large downloads and will not work well in a mobile situation:

  1. Field Guide Assessment Form: Field Guide_Assessment Form
  2. AIC CERT List of Salvage Priorities: AICCERTSalvage Priorities
  3. AIC CERT Damage Assessment Form: AICCERTDamage Assessment
  4. 2016 Endangered Heritage Interactive Report Emergency Evacuation of Heritage Collections: 2016Endangered-Heritage_INTERACTIVE



Hurricane Recovery Resources Reminder

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:

Salvage Priorities

Most vulnerable materials

  • Paper, books, some photographs
  • Parchment, vellum, semi-tanned or untanned leathers or  Ivory
  • Paintings
  • 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

Drying Techniques

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.

See: ConservoGramWatersoakedWoodFurniture07-07

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.


National Heritage Responders Request

Greetings.  As we watch one very serious hurricane and two more serious storms approach the US, and as many people are still dealing with the devastation left by Hurricane Harvey; NHR is trying to pool the collective knowledge of Heritage custodian professionals into some imaginative and useful videos as a resource for the general public.   Incorporated below is a message from Jessica Unger detailing this request and there are links to PDFs of the Tip Sheets at the bottom of this post. Please share:

Hi all,

Over the past couple of days, several NHR team members and our stellar NHR Coordinator Rebecca Elder have been corralling useful information in the form of tips sheets for the folks in Texas and Florida. Please see attached for:

Tips for working with recovery companies

  1. Tips for evacuating collections
  2. Tips for sheltering collections in place

(Special thanks to Tara Kennedy and Andrew Robb for making these happen!)

Now here’s an opportunity for other team members to step up and provide useful info for those affected by these historic storms.

We’re looking for help creating some very quick training materials aimed at the general public to help them salvage their family treasures damaged by Hurricane Harvey (and, likely, Hurricane Irma). We’d like for you to create a quick and dirty video (think iPhone with Facebook Live quality) discussing how to salvage your particular specialty, and create a one-page bullet point handout to go with the video.

The ideal video and handout will be:

  • 3-5 minutes long
  • Aimed at the general public
  • Informal
  • Free of professional jargon
  • Recommend supplies that should be readily available, such as paper towels.
  • Emphasize health and safety concerns when dealing with contaminated water.

A quick turnaround time on these is essential— if possible, by COB on Friday. Hopefully, the quick turnaround will facilitate the casual and unproduced feel for the videos that we are looking for. If you need longer, let us know and we’ll see what we can do.


Best wishes,
Jess Unger

Jessica Unger | Emergency Programs Coordinator
202-661-8069 | f 202-452-9328
www.conservation-us.org | @conservators | Facebook


Links to tip sheets are here:

Sheltering Collections in Place

Evacuating Collections

Recovery Company Tip Sheet

C2CC Announcement for Free Webinar for those Institutions who may have been affected by Hurricane Harvey

NOAA photographs
Hurricane Ike approaching the Texas coast. 2008 September 12 
Credit: NOAA Environmental Visualization Laboratory

Was your institution affected by Hurricane Harvey? Are you curious about resources available to the museum community after a major disaster? Join Rebecca Elder of the National Heritage Responders and Lori Foley of the Heritage Emergency Task Force to discuss resources available to the museum community after a major disaster.  They will allow plenty of time to discuss your questions on emergency response, salvage, and recovery, so come prepared!

The webinar will be held September 28 at 10:00 central time.

The webinar is free, but registration is required. Go to https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/1686939294244406785
to register now.
 Rebecca Elder
National Heritage Responders
Direct: 512-699-3494
NHR Hotline 202-661-8068

NHR Release on Hurricane Irma Preparations

Please share and collaborate with colleagues.  The National Heritage Responders have issued a release to Collecting Institutions with information and contacts to help in disaster preparations for Hurricane Irma.  It is still early, however, Hurricane Irma is presently a Category 5 storm tracking towards Florida.  Early awareness and disaster preparation actions will help mitigate damages should the storm strike.

Contact information for Jessica Unger is 202-661-8069

Click on the link for the PDF document from Jessica Unger, at FAIC:

 Irma NHR Release 9.5.17

WebEx Recording Link for HERA Educational Program: Coastal Georgia: Hurricane Matthew and Beyond

Please see the link for the WebEx recording of HERA’s Educational Event: Coastal Georgia: Hurricane Matthew and Beyond. Barring a moment of technical glitches up front, the entire program is available and very informative in the event you were not able to attend.  This was a great program which was well attended. As recovery efforts of Hurricane Harvey unfold and Hurricane Irma remains a threat, it’s important to keep the disaster plans and lessons learned from disaster recovery in the forefront.