Author: Public Record Office Victoria
Do you work or volunteer at a historical society, museum or other collecting institution? With recent record rainfall we thought it timely to remind you of some tips and contacts if the records at your organisation suffer water damage:
Tips for treating water damaged records
- For any disaster, the most important thing is not to put yourself in danger. Don't attempt to rescue records until emergency services have declared an area safe.
- The two big risks to wet paper, photographs, etc are mould growth (once the rain clears up) and handling. Wet paper is much more fragile than dry objects. Avoid unpacking boxes until you have a plan for salvage.
- One simple thing you can do immediately is to put damaged records in a freezer. Freezing stops further water damage and prevents mould growth.
Useful advice online
Once the immediate danger is passed there are many sources of advice and assistance. Here are just a few:
- Recovering flood-damaged records, National Archives of Australia
- What to do if collections get wet, Library of Congress
- Disaster Response, Museums Australia (Victoria).
You might also like to check out this blog post on the experience of the Rochester Historical Society in 2011.
And of course you can always contact us for specific advice around your collection.