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Salvage At A Glance, Part II: Non-Paper Based Archival Collections.

Material Priority Handling Precautions Packing Method Drying Method
Cased Photographs
Ambrotypes, Pannotypes Recovery rate is low. Immedi­ately dry. Handle with care. Extremely fragile binder. Binder may be on the reverse of the glass. Glass supports. Pack horizontally in a padded con­tainer. Air dry face (binder side) up with case open. Never freeze.
Daguerreotypes Recovery rate is low. Immedi­ately dry. Handle with care. Fragile surface and cover glass. Pack horizontally in a padded con­tainer. Air dry face up with case open. Never freeze.
Tintypes Recovery rate is low. Immedi­ately dry. Handle with care. Fragile binder. Horizontally. Air dry face up with case open. Never freeze.
Negatives
Wet collodion glass plates Recovery rate is low. Immedi­ately dry. Handle with care. Glass sup­ports and fragile binder. Pack horizontally in a padded con­tainer. Air dry emulsion side up. Never freeze
Gelatin dry plate glass negatives Freeze or dry within 48 hours. Handle with care––glass. If freezing, keep wet. Pack in plastic bags, verti­cally in a padded container. Air drying pre­ferred; or thaw and air dry; freeze dry.
Deteriorated nitrates with soluble binders Immediately freeze or dry. Recovery rate may be low. Do not blot. Pack horizontally. Air dry; thaw and air dry; test freeze drying.
Deteriorated acetates Immediately freeze or dry. Recovery rate is low. Handle care­fully––swelling of emulsion. Pack horizontally. Air dry; thaw and air dry; test freeze drying.
Polyester based film, nitrates and acetates in good condition Freeze or dry within 48 hours. Do not touch emulsion with bare hands. If freezing, keep wet. Pack in small plastic bags inside boxes. Order of preference: Air dry, Thaw and air dry, Freeze dry. DO NOT vacuum dry.
Transparencies Lantern slides (glass), silver gelatin Freeze or dry within 48 hours. Handle with care––loose bind­ing tapes and glass. Pack vertically in a padded con­tainer. Air drying pre­ferred; thaw and air dry.
Color Transparencies
Additive color transparencies (most are glass) Package to pre­vent damage. Recovery rate is very poor. Immediately dry. Handle with care––loose bind­ing tapes and glass. Pack horizontally in a padded con­tainer. Air dry. Never freeze.
Chromogenic color transparencies, mounted color slides and sheet films Freeze or dry within 48 hours. Handle by mounts or edges. If freezing, keep wet. Pack in plastic bags inside box. Order of preference: Air dry, Thaw and air dry, Freeze dry. DO NOT vacuum dry.
Motion Pictures
Rewash and dry within 48 hours. If freezing, keep wet. Pack in plas­tic pails or poly­propylene bins. Arrange with a film processor to rewash and dry.
Microforms
Microfilm rolls Rewash and dry within 48 hours. Do not remove from boxes; hold carton together with rubber bands. If freezing, keep wet. Pack (in blocks of 5) in a polypropylene bin. Arrange with a microfilm proces­sor to rewash and dry.
Aperture cards Freeze or dry within 48 hours. If freezing, keep wet. Pack in plastic bags inside boxes. Air dry or freeze, thaw, and air dry.
Jacketed microfilm Freeze or dry within 48 hours. If freezing, keep wet. Pack in plastic bags inside boxes. Air dry or freeze, thaw, and air dry.
Diazo and vesicular microfiche Freeze or dry within 48 hours. Interleave between enve­lopes and pack in milk crates or polypropylene bins. Air dry or freeze, thaw, and air dry.
Compact Discs and CD ROMs
Immediately dry discs. Dry paper enclosures within 48 hours. Do not scratch the surface. Pack vertically in milk crates or polypropylene bins. Air dry.
Computer Media
Tapes Immediately rinse off tapes in clean water. Dry paper boxes and labels within 48 hours. Tapes can stay wet for several days. DO NOT freeze. Do not touch magnetic media with bare hands. Handle open reel tapes by hubs or reel. Keep tapes wet in plastic bags. Pack vertically in plastic crate. Air dry.
Floppy discs Immediately pack and move to a loca­tion where they can be dried. DO NOT freeze. Do not touch disk surface with bare hands. Pack discs wet and keep them wet for transport. Pack vertically in plastic bags or tubs of cold water. Air dry.
Sound and Video Recordings
Sound and videotapes Immediately rinse off tapes with clean water. Dry paper boxes and labels within 48 hours. Tapes can stay wet for several days. DO NOT freeze. Do not touch magnetic media with bare hands. Keep tapes wet in plastic bags. Pack vertically in milk crates or polypropylene bins. Air dry.
Shellac and Acetate discs Immediately dry. Dry enclosures within 48 hours. Discs are very fragile. Hold discs by their edges. Avoid shocks. Pack vertically in rigid polyethyl­ene foam-padded boxes. Air dry, prefer­ably with a record cleaning machine.
Vinyl discs Dry within 48 hours. Freezing is untested. If it is necessary to freeze, keep at above 0ºF. Freeze or dry enclosures within 48 hours. Hold discs by their edges. Avoid shocks. Pack vertically in rigid polyethyl­ene foam-padded boxes. Air dry, prefer­ably with a record cleaning machine.

The Conserve O Gram series is published as a reference on collections management and curatorial issues. Mention of a product, a manufacturer, or a supplier by name in this publication does not constitute an endorsement of that product or supplier by the National Park Service. Sources named are not all inclusive. It is suggested that readers also seek alternative product and vendor information in order to assess the full range of available supplies and equipment.

The series is distributed to all NPS units and is available to non-NPS institutions and interested individuals on line at . For further information and guidance concerning any of the topics or procedures addressed in the series, contact NPS Museum Management Program, 1849 C Street NW (2265), Washington, DC 20240; (202) 354-2000.

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3 Responses to Managing Collections After a Disaster

  1. [...] Conserve O Grams – Information on the protection and recovery of damaged books, papers, photographs, textiles, and other cultural objects. [...]

  2. pat stark says:

    What should I do with a painting [I THINK acrylic] on cardboard . it was found in the muddy silt and is still quite damp. It is curled on 2 edges some. Thanks Pat – Hartford Hisotircal Sociey

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