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Emergency Preparedness and Response

Collection Recovery Methods: Metals, Glass, Ceramics, Wood, Textiles, or Animal/Plant Material

Metals, Glass, Ceramics, Wood, Textiles, or Animal/Plant Material

Metals   -   Glass/Ceramics   -   Wood   -   Textiles, including objects with textile-lined interiors   -   Animal/Plant Materials


Metals

Recovery Priority during the first 24-48 hours

  • Wear thin plastic gloves.
  • Dry immediately.
  • Drain and carry fully supported underneath.

Freezing Procedures

  • Do not freeze metal items.

Air Drying Procedures

  • For items with a stable finish (paint, coating, enamel, etc.):
    • Immediately rinse or sponge off any debris.
    • Blot with a clean absorbent material and air-dry quickly to avoid rusting.
  • For items with a damaged finish:
    • Do not blot. To avoid disturbing the surface any further, air dry only.
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Glass/Ceramics

Recovery Priority during the first 24-48 hours

  • Glass and ceramic items are generally stable. Drain and carry fully supported underneath.

Freezing Procedures

Air Drying Procedures

  • Rinse off any debris.
  • Blot smooth surfaces with absorbent material and air dry.
  • Do not blot rough surfaces; air dry only.
  • If item is broken/cracked or has mineral salts on surface, seal it in plastic bag until it can be treated.
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Wood

Recovery Priority during the first 24-48 hours

  • Dry immediately.
  • Drain and carry fully supported underneath.

Freezing Procedures

  • Do not freeze wood items.

Air Drying Procedures

  • Air dry only.
  • For bare wood or wooden items with a stable finish (paint, coating, veneer, etc.):
    • Immediately rinse or sponge off any debris.
    • Blot with a clean absorbent material and immediately air-dry.
  • For items with a damaged finish:
    • Do not blot. To avoid disturbing the surface any further, air dry only.
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Textiles, including objects with textile-lined interiors

Recovery Priority during the first 24-48 hours

  • Dry immediately.
  • Drain and carry fully supported underneath, using screens or polyester webbing as needed.

Freezing Procedures

Air Drying Procedures

  • Air dry only.
  • For objects with textile-lined interiors:
    • Drain off excess water and treat the exterior as appropriate for that material; place a wad of absorbent material inside and replace damp wadding until the interior is dry.
  • For textiles and costumes:
    • Gently blot textiles and air dry flat on an absorbent material. Do not unfold wet, delicate fabrics. Do not move heavy, wet fabrics without adequate support underneath.
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Animal/Plant Materials

Recovery Priority during the first 24-48 hours

  • Dry immediately.
  • Drain and carry fully supported underneath, using screens or polyester webbing as needed.

Freezing Procedures

  • Do not freeze organic materials.

Air Drying Procedures

  • Air dry only.
  • Drain off excess water and treat the exterior; place a wad of absorbent material inside and replace damp wadding until the interior is dry.
  • Consult the Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections (SPNHC) for specific guidelines on animal/plant items.
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