Artifact Salvage & Recovery

When institutions first consider developing emergency plans, one of the first areas they focus on is the salvage and recovery of objects in their collections. In part one of this module, you will learn best practices for deterring the process of deterioration for objects archival in nature. This includes books, paper, photographs, electronic media, and paintings. For part two of this module, the focus switches to objects generally classified as artifacts. This includes inorganics, wood/furniture, textiles, and natural history collections. All of the techniques presented are considered first response actions that will slow the process of deterioration. The goal of this initial step is to protect the object. Trained conservators or salvage companies will need to then be involved in the salvage, recovery, and preservation of the object.

Emergency Salvage and Recovery Part One: Archival webinar is presented by Francoise Hack, Collections Manager, The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art

Webinar Length:  33 min. 15 sec.

Emergency Salvage and Recovery Part Two: Objects & Textiles webinar is presented by Stephanie Hornbeck, Principal and Senior Conservator, Caryatid Conservation Services, Inc.

Webinar Length:  34 min. 04 sec.
Note:  When viewing the webinars a new browser page will open.  

A separate worksheet has been developed for this activity. 
Note:  When viewing the activity a new browser page will open.  

Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum - Artifact Salvage & Recovery Sample (.pdf)

Florida State University Libraries - Artifact Salvage & Recovery Sample (.pdf)

University of Miami Libraries - Artifact Salvage & Recovery Sample (.pdf)
Note:  When viewing the samples a new browser page will open.  

Online Resources
American Institute for Conservation (AIC), Disaster Response & Recovery (includes web resources and Response Team information)

National Park Service, Conserv-O-Gram
Salvage of Water-Damaged Collections:  Salvage at a Glance (2002)
Salvage at a Glance,Part I:  Paper Based Collections (2002)
Salvage at a Glance,Part II:  Non-Paper Based Archival Collections (2002)
Salvage at a Glance, Part III: Object Collections (2002)
Salvage at a Glance, Part IV: Natural History Collections (2003)
Salvage at a Glance, Part V: Textiles (2003)

Northeast Document Conservation Center, Preservation Leaflets
Emergency Salvage of Wet Books and Records
Freezing and Drying Wet Books and Records
Emergency Salvage of Wet Photographs
Emergency Salvage of Moldy Books and Paper

Speaker Biographies
Françoise Hack, Assistant Director of Collections, joined the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, Florida as Research Assistant in 1996. Appointed Collections Manager in 2006, she works with the permanent collections of the Art Museum, Circus Museums, and Historic House, as well as overseeing special exhibitions. As Registrar, she focuses on the physical care and logistics of the collections, and strives to make information on the collections accessible to a wide audience. Françoise completed her BA in Art History at the University of Groningen, Netherlands.

Stephanie Hornbeck is Principal and Senior Conservator at Caryatid Conservation Services, Inc. From 2010-2012, she served as Chief Conservator for the Smithsonian Institution’s Haiti Cultural Recovery Project in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. There she directed conservation recovery efforts of cultural patrimony damaged in the January 2010 earthquake. In recognition of her service, Stephanie was awarded the Smithsonian Secretary’s Gold Medal for Exceptional Service; making her the first conservator in the award’s history to be so honored. From 1998-2009, Stephanie was Conservator at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African Art in Washington, DC. Her diploma in Fine Art Conservation (objects) and MA in Art History are from the Conservation Center of the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University. She received her BA in Art History from Wellesley College.

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