Agent of Deterioration #5: Water
As a summer conservation series, we will be talking about the Agents of Deterioration as defined by the Canadian Conservation Institute (CCI) in Ottawa. If you want to learn more about CCI, see their website or our April 29th blog post.
There are a lot of situations that could lead to water damaging not only your museum's collections but the building as well; that list includes:
- Spring melt or runoff
- Leaking roof
- Sewer back-up
- Blocked eavestrough
- Leaks from heating system
Damage resulting from water happens more regularly than one might think! AND the range of objects and materials types that are affected by water is huge.
Water can stain, warp, crack, soften, delaminate, and swell objects as well as cause their dyes to run and promotes the development of mould throughan increase in the Relative Humidity. All in all, having water in your collection is bad news.
Dyes running as a result of water
Ways that you can protect your collections include:
- Completing preventative maintainence on your buildings in order to preventing water from entering your collection (See our April 15 blog post entitled Museum Maintainence Cycles).
- Ensure that objects are not stored in areas that may be affected by water, such as basements or near water pipes.
- Properly store objects in water-resistant containers, such as clear, colourless Rubbermaid containers (pictured in our March 12th blog post entitled Spring Preparations for Your Site).
Make sure to have emergency supplies on hand in-case there is a water related emergency, such as a pail, mop, flashlights, fans, and plastic sheeting. When in doubt, ask for help! Give us a call at MAS; toll free at 1-866-568-7386 or through email at firstname.lastname@example.org