A Primer: Paper-Based Materials

October 1993
[ Note]






Smithsonian Institution Staff Disaster Preparedness Procedures,
Smithsonian Institution, Office of Risk Management,
revised October 1993

Staff Evacuation Procedures
Severe Storms
Hurricane Warning
Tornado Warning
Winter Storm
Utility Failure
Hazardous Material Accident
Civil Disorder and Demonstrations
Bomb Threat and Checklist
Major Transportation Accident
Emergency Salvage of Flood Damaged Family Papers,
National Archives & Records Administration, Preservation Policy & Services Division,
July 1993

Cleaning and Drying Flood Damaged Items
Air Drying
Photographs, Negatives, and Motion Picture Film
Framed Items



Procedures for Salvage of Water-Damaged Library Materials,
Library of Congress, extracts from unpublished revised text,
by Peter Waters, July 1993

Part 1
Part 2
How Water Affects Books and Unbound Materials
Estimating Water Absorption
Part 3
Coated Papers
Archival Box Files
Stabilizing the Environment
Assessment of Damage and Planning for Salvage
Part 4
The Recovery Team
Considerations for Recovery of Water-Damaged Collections
Part 5
Preliminary Steps in the Evacuation from Water-Damaged Areas
Removal and Packing of Water-Damaged Materials -- The Work Force
Removal from Water-Damaged Area--The Catalog and Other Records
Part 6
Removal and Packing
Disposition of Remaining Materials and Cleaning of Water-Exposed Areas
Cleaning After a River Flood
Thorough Washing to Remove Heavy Deposits of Mud
Principles of Stabilization by Freezing
Part 7
Cold Temperature Storage Conditions
Preparation for Freezing
Containers and Methods of Packing for Freezing
Part 8
Vacuum and Freeze Drying Technologies
Rehabilitation After Drying
Part 9
Evaluation of Loss
Summary of Emergency Procedures
Mold and Mildew: Prevention of Microorganism Growth In Museum Collections,
National Park Service,
revised Conserve O Gram Number 3/4, by Jane Merritt, July 1993

The Microorganisms
Susceptible Materials



In the past several years, the United States has suffered major disasters ranging from earthquakes in California to hurricanes in Miami. These disasters often cause severe and ongoing destruction in the form of water damage to cultural property, the most vulnerable being books, documents, and other paper-based materials. On such occasions the Conservation Analytical Laboratory - Smithsonian Institution (CAL-SI), Library of Congress (LC), National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), and National Park Service (NPS) receive increased requests for information on disaster preparedness, management, and response for the salvage of books, documents, and other paper-based materials.

In order to facilitate a pro-active rather than reactive approach to disaster preparation with respect to cultural property, four basic references currently issued separately from CAL, LC, NARA, and NPS have been updated and combined into this single pamphlet. The editors hope that this streamlined publication will provide sound introductory information to private individuals and public institutions in preparing for either small or large scale events.

The SI handbook presents guidelines for general facilities preparation and response to a variety of events both natural (storms, floods) and man-made (hazardous material accidents). The NARA article addresses small-scale events and procedures for the general public to be used for the immediate response action for water damaged documents, photographs, etc. The LC booklet provides more in-depth information for both public and private collections dealing with a larger, longer-term coordinated program to salvage bound volumes. Finally, the NPS Conserve O Gram supplies specific information about dealing with the prevention and treatment of mold, a frequent consequence of water damage.

Since little information has been published in Spanish pertinent to the salvage and recovery of cultural property, this consolidated brochure will be published in Spanish as well as in English.

CAL-SI, LC, NARA, and NPS all have additional guidelines and publications on a variety of preservation and conservation topics available to the general and professional public upon request:

Information Office
Conservation Analytical Laboratory
Museum Support Center
Smithsonian Institution
Washington, DC 20560

Preservation Policy & Services Division
National Archives at College Park
8601 Adelphi Road
College Park, MD 20740-6001

Preservation Directorate, LMG-21
Library of Congress
101 Independence Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20540-4500

Curatorial Services Division
National Park Service
800 North Capitol, Suite 230
Washington, DC 20013



A Collaborative Publication Sponsored by
the Conservation Analytical Laboratory
and the Office of Risk Management, SI;
the Preservation Policy and Services Division, NARA;
the Preservation Directorate, LC;
and the Curatorial Services Division, NPS.

In commemoration of Arts and Humanities Month and Hispanic Heritage Month October 1993.

SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION Office of Risk Management:

Jacqueline Young, Assistant Director
Priscilla Terry, Risk Manager

Conservation Analytical Laboratory:

Lambertus van Zelst, Director
Dianne van der Reyden, Senior Paper Conservator
Ronald Bishop, Senior Researcher
Alan Postlethwaite, Deputy Director

NATIONAL ARCHIVES & RECORDS ADMINISTRATION Preservation Policy & Services Division:

Cynthia G. Fox, Acting Director
Diana Alper, Regional Preservation Coordinator
Mary Lynn Ritzenthaler, Supervisory Conservator

Public Affairs:

Shirley Clarkson, Acting Public Affairs Officer
Susan Cooper, Public Affairs Specialist

Public Programs:

Thomas King, Marketing Specialist

LIBRARY OF CONGRESS Preservation Directorate:

Diane Nester Kresh, Acting Director
Peter Waters, Preservation Strategic Planning Officer
Amparo de Torres, Assistant to the Conservation Officer

NATIONAL PARK SERVICE Curatorial Services Division:

Ann Hitchcock, Chief Curator
Virginia Kilby, Staff Curator
Anthony Knapp, Staff Curator
Diane Vogt-O'Connor, Archivist

Division of Conservation:

Jane Merritt, Textile Conservator

Disaster Preparedness Table of Contents

Note: This web version was prepared in 1999, based on:
A Primer on Disaster Preparedness, Management and Response: Paper-Based Materials: Selected Reprints issued by: Smithsonian Institution, National Archives and Records Administration, Library of Congress, and National Park Service. A Collaborative Publication Sponsored by the Conservation Analytical Laboratory and the Office of Risk Management, Smithsonian Institution; the Preservation Policy and Services Division, NARA; the Preservation Directorate, Library of Congress; and the Curatorial Services Division, National Park Service. In commemoration of Arts and Humanities Month and Hispanic Heritage Month (October 1993). Printed in English and Spanish by the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, 1993: pages. This version may differ from the printed version.