Saving flood-damaged mementos
Precious documents and mementos damaged by floodwaters or high humidity can sometimes be saved by simply popping them into the freezer.
State Library of Queensland is urging the state’s flood affected residents and business owners to take some simple steps instead of throwing out damaged photographs and paperwork.
State Librarian Janette Wright said it was important to take care of personal memorabilia because it was all part of the many stories of Queensland.
She said, “State Library is a keeping place for many of those stories but we know there are many other important photographs, letters, diaries, business records, and other documents in the community.”
“Some is in the care of historical societies with much more still kept in family homes and businesses.”
“Recovering from flooding can be an emotional time, and some people may throw out cherished and irreplaceable possessions damaged by water,” Janette Wright said.
“However, in some cases they can be saved, particularly photographs.”
State Library’s conservation expert Grant Collins said there was a link on SLQ’s homepage to simple, home based solutions for preserving books, documents, photographs, films, tapes, and digital media.
He said “In many cases people will be able to dry materials using a domestic fan, some absorbent paper, or a clothesline.”
“Paper documents can be held over for recovery just by popping them into a freezer, within 48 hours if possible. The low temperature means mould is less likely to grow – making the freezer the best way to buy time.”
“The key to recovering most of these documents is to get them dry – pegging film and paper up carefully on a clothesline with fans and dehumidifiers running is a good way to dry things out.”
“Even without electricity you can still dry loose papers by placing them flat, on a table lined with paper towels if possible, and by keeping the pages of books and magazines apart – especially if the pages are glossy.”
Badly damaged precious items may require professional conservation treatment.
The Collection Preservation staff offer advice to organisations and community members, they can be contacted by email email@example.com.
Queenslanders can also gain free consultation on how to recover their family treasures with the following State Library services:
Thursday, 7 Feb, 1–4pm | State Library of Queensland
If you have a rare book, work on paper, family heirloom, treasured object, film or photograph that has been damaged, professional conservation staff from State Library and Queensland Museum will provide one-on-one consultations to look at your personal treasures and offer advice on salvage.
To expand the reach of this service, Skype sessions will be provided from 9am–12pm on Thursday, 7 February. If you cannot access Skype, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cathy Stacey, 3842 9346, 0434 074 372, email@example.com
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