Saving flood damaged family treasures

As the water subsides in flood affected areas, many people will face the daunting task of cleaning up their homes. Often the most heartbreaking discoveries are damaged personal memorabilia such as photographs, books and letters. The good news is that it is often possible to save water damaged possessions by carrying out a few simple salvage techniques.

Advice on how to rescue water damaged collections can be found on the State Library of Queensland’s Preservation website. Also included on the website are leaflets on dealing with mould affected materials and tips on how to safely freeze objects. The more time an object is immersed in water or remains damp, the greater the risk of irreparable damage or mould growth. Salvage should begin as soon as there is no risk to personal safety. 

Badly damaged precious items may require professional conservation treatment. The Australian Institute for the Conservation of Cultural Materials’, the professional body for the conservation profession has details of private conservators on their website along with links to more useful information on saving water damaged collections.

 For further detailed information please contact:  Conservation contact: conservation@slq.qld.gov.au

Lydia Egunnike

Senior Conservator, Conservation Unit, Collection Preservation

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