TX-CERA @ Houston Archives Bazaar

Come and see us at Houston Archives Bazaar!
When: this Sunday, November 17, from 10 am to 2 pm
Where: White Oak Music Hall, 2915 N Main St, Houston

Houston Archives Bazaar is a free event that brings together families and historical collections, institutions and local communities to share stories, learn about important legacies and how to preserve them for future generations.

For more information:

https://www.houstonarchivesbazaar.org/

 

Tornado-damaged artworks

We are thinking of all the people in Dallas affected by the tornado. If you have questions and need guidance in rescuing artworks, you can call the National Emergency Responders at (202) 661-8068 or TX-CERA at (669)-237-2243.

To find a local qualified conservator, use the search function on the American Institute for Conservation (AIC) website: https://www.culturalheritage.org/membership/find-a-conservator

A few quick tips to stabilize and avoid further damage to water-damaged or impact-damaged artworks until you are able to contact a conservator.

Remember: your safety comes first! For general guidelines on how to approach an emergency:  https://txcera.org/emergency-response/

For framed artworks: if the artwork is not stuck to the glass, carefully remove from frame in a safe and dry place. If you notice that the paint is lifting off the surface or if you see minute losses, do not unframe. Place painting face up on elevated blocks to provide air circulation. If the glass protecting your watercolor is broken, pay attention not to scratch the artwork when handling it.

For photographs: if there are wet, do not allow them to dry in a pile. They will “block” and it’ll be impossible to separate them. Rinse them with clean, cool water and hang them to air dry. If too dirty to clean, put them in a container with clean water and take them to a conservator within 48 hours. Or you can interleave them with waxed paper and freeze them until you’ll have time to take them to a conservator. Do not freeze glass plate negatives.

For books: if partially wet, stand on top or bottom edge, open to 90 degree angle, and let them air dry. Photographic images need to be interleafed, otherwise they will block (dry inseparably). If you don’t have time or space to air dry all your books, start with a few and wrap in waxed paper (with interleaf as needed) and freeze the other ones. You can get them out and air dry them a few at the time.

For furniture: gently sponge surface to clean, blot, air dry slowly. If the uppermost layer dries too quickly while the inner part remains wet, the wood will warp and crack. Hold wood veneer in place with weights or clamps. Contact a conservator as soon as possible. If upholstery, remove cushions and seats and separate all the pieces; use dry towels or sheets to wrap the upholstered pieces and change the absorbent material as it becomes wet.

For ceramics: keep the pieces together in boxes. If possible, make sure the fragments don’t collide in the box; it’ll minimize the losses along the edges of the fragments.

For metals: handle with gloves, clean with soft sponge and blot dry; if object has an applied finish, do not attempt to clean. Air dry.

For textiles: fabrics become saturated with water and they are at risk of damage when handling them. Make sure the textile is supported. Do not stack wet textiles. Rinse, drain and blot textiles with clean towels to remove excess water. Shape textile to its original form. Air dry using fans.

 

Let’s Talk Mold

There are numerous resources online that provide information and guidance on how to “deal” with mold.

This is a brief synthesis.

Mold grows on organic materials in suitable conditions: relative humidity higher than 65%, oxygen and lack of air circulation, temperatures preferably in the range of 50 – 95°F. Mold decomposes the organic material (something we are usually trying to safe) and produces substances that can cause illnesses and allergic reactions.

During intervention on a mold outbreak:

  • make sure to protect yourself first: wear nitrile gloves and make sure mold does not come into contact with your skin; wash hands after removing gloves; do not eat and drink in an environment where mold is present; wear PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) such as FFP3 dust mask and goggles, up to respirators and body suits in case of large outbreaks;
  • try to identify and address the cause(s) of the mold outbreak;
  • create some air circulation, using fans;
  • use dehumidification equipment to reduce the relative humidity below 65%;
  • use HEPA vacuum to remove mold growth;
  • consult a conservator for appropriate of intervention depending on substrate/artifact.

In case of symptoms such as skin rash or asthma, stop immediately and consult your doctor.

For a list of symptoms, you can consult the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. (2019). Mold Allergy: https://www.aaaai.org/conditions-and-treatments/allergies/mold-allergy

 

Preparedness for flooding and hurricane impact

Our thoughts are with all the people displaced by tropical storm Barry and affected by the severe weather along the East Coast. Feel free to reach out for support and answers to your questions. Your local museums and institutions may be overwhelmed by the requests of help or may be focused on preparing in case the emergency materializes. Wherever you are, you can reach us through the numbers and emails listed on our Facebook page. We are glad and eager to help.

You can also contact the National Heritage Responders (NHR). Volunteers provide advice and referrals by phone at (202)661-8068 or, for less urgent questions, emergencies@culturalheritage.org. For more information:
https://www.culturalheritage.org/resources/emergencies/national-heritage-responders

If you have an emergency plan, review it with everyone involved. Make sure the phone numbers in your list are current. If you have art pieces or storage close to the ground and are afraid your space may become flooded, move your collection to increase its distance from the floor. For example, if you have large paintings hanging from the walls and close to the floor, consider placing them flat on tables.

These are some “tip sheets” prepared by the American Institute for Conservation (AIC) for response and recovery in case of emergency for the arts. The topics covered range from Mold to Removing flat paper pieces from flat storage and Drying wet collections and buildings.
https://www.culturalheritage.org/resources/emergencies/national-heritage-responders/tip-sheets

More useful information on stabilization of photographs, textiles and family heirlooms:
https://www.culturalheritage.org/resources/emergencies/disaster-response-recovery

A list of activities from the American Institute for Conservation (AIC)s’ website for emergency preparedness:

  • If you have a disaster plan, dust it off and make sure it’s up to date.
  • If you don’t have a plan, commit to creating one by making a timeline for developing it.
  • Conduct a building evacuation drill, evaluate the results, and discuss ways to improve your staff’s performance.
  • Update your staff contact information and create a wallet-size version of your emergency contact roster using the Pocket Response Plan™ (PReP™)
  • Identify the three biggest risks to your collection or building (such as a dust storm, leaking water pipe, heavy snow, or power failure) and outline steps to mitigate them. You can use FAIC’s tools for risk evaluation to guide your assessment.
  • Identify and prioritize important collection materials.
  • Eliminate hazards such as storage in hallways, blocked fire exits, or improper storage of paints, solvents, etc.
  • Make a plan to install any needed safety systems.
  • Plan to train and drill an in-house disaster team.
  • Provide staff with easily accessible disaster response information, such as the Emergency Response and Salvage Wheel.
  • Get to know your local firefighters and police–invite them to come tour your institution and give you pointers on safety and preparedness.
  • Plan to take a course on risk assessment or disaster planning.

After Hurricane Sandy MoMA prepared and distributed a document with simple and concise instructions on how to stabilize affected artworks.  You can find it on MoMA’s website under “Immediate Response for Collections”:
https://www.moma.org/momaorg/shared/pdfs/docs/explore/conservation/emergency_guidelines_for_art_disasters.pdf

Friday, July 19th Houston Arts Alliance (HAA) and Fresh Arts Workshop in Houston

On Friday, July 19th the Houston Arts Alliance (HAA) and Fresh Arts will host an introductory workshop and a symposium on emergency preparedness for the arts.
TX-CERA instructors will conduct the workshop with a hands-on approach and will address participants’ questions.
The symposium will focus on developing and maintaining an emergency plan.

Workshop and symposium are part of a 2-day conference that covers a vast array of topics of interest for artists: from marketing and self-promotion, to legal resources and copyrights.  Registration is $150 and closes on Sunday, July 14.
Workshop and symposium are free and open to the public.

Resources Expo: Friday, July 19th, noon-2pm
Free and open to the public.
The expo will have several resources available to artists and creative entrepreneurs at tables. The Houston Arts Alliance (HAA) is sponsoring the expo and facilitating the following resources:
  • TX-CERA (Texas Cultural Emergency Response Alliance) teach artists how to recover their assets after a flood
  • Performing Arts Readiness will provide sample documents to help entrepreneurs develop a plan to endure their safety in case of emergencies large and small
  • HAA will provide Hurricane Preparedness Guides specific to artists and arts organizations, as well as the CERF+ Studio Safety Guide

Symposium: Friday, July 19th, 2pm-5pm
Free and open to the public; designed for those who have an emergency plan and want to expand on their preparedness knowledge.

Emergency Preparedness Consultant Ellen Korpar will speak about readiness of performing arts organizations for emergencies in Houston. Building upon this report, former fire chief and emergency management expert Gary Friedel will facilitate a tabletop recovery exercise which will group TX-CERA experts and additional attendees in cross-network groups to develop a response framework and strategy in a  real-world scenario.

For additional information about the conference:
https://www.fresharts.org/content/fresh-arts-summit

Conference Schedule-at-a-glance:
https://www.fresharts.org/content/summit-schedule-and-presenters

Location:
Silver Street Studios, 2000 Edwards Street, Houston, TX 77007
https://www.silverstreethouston.com/

 

For additional information about Fresh Arts:
https://www.fresharts.org/content/what-fresh-arts

For additional information on Houston Arts Alliance (HAA):
https://www.houstonartsalliance.com/

 

 

PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE July 8, 2019 Contact: Eryl Wentworth, Executive Director Phone: 202.661.8060 Email: ewentworth@culturalheritage.org Collecting Institutions: Prepare for Heavy Rainfall on Gulf Coast WASHINGTON, DC—A low pressure system over central Georgia is expected to move toward the Gulf of Mexico over the next few days. This system will likely produce heavy rainfall along parts of northern and eastern US Gulf Coast. Those in the storm’s path should prepare for the likelihood of an extreme water event later this week. The Foundation for Advancement in Conservation (FAIC) offers free emergency response assistance to cultural organizations impacted by the event. Please help ensure that staff members of collecting institutions are aware of these resources: • Information on disaster recovery and salvage for impacted collections can be found online at www.culturalheritage.org/resources/emergencies. • The National Heritage Responders, a team of trained volunteer conservators and collections care professionals, are available to provide advice on the phone via a free 24-hour hotline at 202.661.8068. • National Heritage Responders are also available to conduct pro bono on-site assessments and provide guidance on salvage. Call the hotline (202.661.8068) to request assistance. Collecting institutions are encouraged to do all that you can to stabilize your collections before the storm hits, while also making sure that your response contact lists and resources are ready to use, should your institution be affected. ### The Foundation for Advancement in Conservation (FAIC) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that delivers and supports an array of programs and initiatives to protect our shared cultural heritage. FAIC tells the story of conservation, empowers professionals working within the field, and shares instrumental knowledge and resources. FAIC works with organizations and individuals to ensu servation is widely understood, appreciated, and supported.

FAIC’s Emergency Response & Salvage Wheel

The Foundation for Advancement in Conservation (FAIC) offers a tool to guide responders to an emergency that affects our cultural heritage. In case of an emergency, the most important action is to stabilize the artifacts to avoid further damage until they could be properly treated by a conservator.

A very useful tool to guide the first responders is the FAIC’s Emergency Response & Salvage Wheel. The two-sided-wheel lists on one side the steps of the emergency response, on the other side the appropriate action to stabilize 9 types of artifacts.

The cost is $10 ($5 if you buy 10 or more).
https://store.culturalheritage.org/site/index.php?app=ecom&ns=prodshow&ref=FAIC-1

Emergency Response & Salvage Wheel from FAIC website

After stabilizing the artifacts, do not attempt treatment. It is very important that you contact an experienced conservator.
For a list of Professional Associates and Fellows of the American Institute for Conservation, please visit:
https://www.culturalheritage.org/membership/find-a-conservator

PPE (Personal Protective Equipment)

When disaster strikes, fortunately for our communities first responders and volunteers come to the rescue.
As we know from many tragic examples of great heroism and ultimate sacrifice, unfortunately first responders and volunteers are often not sufficiently protected and during an emergency put the safety of their community first, over their own health and safety.

Before responding to an emergency, think about Personal Protective Equipment that will protect you as you are generously helping your community.

The American Institute for Conservation (AIC) has created and maintains a Wiki page dedicated to PPE:
http://www.conservation-wiki.com/wiki/Personal_Protective_Equipment_(PPE)

In particular for protective gloves this page offers a table with the type of glove safe to use to handle different categories of chemicals:
http://www.conservation-wiki.com/wiki/PPE_Chemical_Protective_Material_Selection_Guide

Regarding tight fitting air-purifying respirators, necessary in case of volatile chemicals such as organic solvents, please be aware that you have to undergo a medical check up and an annual respirator fit test to ascertain that using the respirator will not tax your heart and respiratory system and that you are trained to wearing it correctly.
A Conservator’s Guide to Respiratory Protection by Craig E. Colton offers an exhaustive explanation:

http://www.conservation-wiki.com/w/images/c/c3/H%26S_A_Conservator%27s_Guide_to_Respiratory_Protection_2016.pdf

For the masks that filter particulate and dust, make sure to choose N-95 models that filter at least 95% of the particulate. The “duck bill” model is one of the most comfortable to wear.

Thank you for your volunteering!