Collection Recovery Methods: Metals
Recovery Priority during the first 24-48 hours
- When handling metal objects, wear thin plastic (e.g. nitrite) gloves.
- When moving objects, provide support.
- Dry immediately. Metals – especially iron and archaeological metals – can corrode (rust) under damp conditions. Rust can also stain adjacent objects.
- Salvage iron and archaeological metals first, especially ion and copper alloys.
- Drain off water. If water is contaminated and object is wet overall, rinse in clear water, if possible.
- After drying, re-house objects with a desiccant (e.g. silica gel), if available.
- 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 mitigate against rust.
- For items with an unstable or damaged finish:
- Do not blot. Air dry only, to avoid disturbing the surface any further.