Thanks to Lydia Egunnike, Museum Development Officer, Museum Resource Centre for Southern Inland Queensland who has been communicating with groups from the flooded areas of South West Queensland, there are two reports to share:
Firstly the President of Booringa Heritage Group in Mitchell advises that they had had some damage but they had moved the bulk of the collection up higher. Lydia has provided information on disaster salvage and he seemed to think they had enough people (e.g Apex etc.) to help.
Secondly thanks to Maree Worland, President Roma & District Family History Soc Inc who wrote in to thank Christine Ianna and Lisa Jones who ran a disaster preparedness workshop in Chinchilla in December 2011, there is a lovely success story:
Just wanted to let you know how thankful I am to have attended your Disaster Preparedness Workshop in Chinchilla last November. One of our members nearly lost his entire research during the flood but we have been working on it and hope to save 95% of it for him. We have used all the paper towel, the clothes line and pegs, dish clothes out of the Salvage kits we received. And the knowledge of what to do has been invaluable.
We have spent quite a few hours over the past two days working on David Bowden’s flood damaged family history collection. David’s collection was stored in the car shed in a sealed plastic box. He was standing on the veranda when he noticed the box just about to float off down the gully in the flood water. He rushed into the water to save it but by this time, the box was full of flood water so we have offered to try to dry it out for him.
The mud has been washed off the photos, laid on towels and dabbed with paper towel to dry off, let dry out overnight, then hung on clothes line in the Annex to finish drying out. The rest of his collection has been put into freezer bags and stored in the freezer until we have the time to work on it. A couple of members have taken a book home to work on it there. I have a Scrapbook full of newspaper clippings which I think we can save. Attaching a couple of photos.
The only things we have had to throw out have been a few photos printed on a home computer. The top photo’s colour has been nearly washed off the other photos in the pack are only wet around the edges. We certainly didn’t attempt to wash them, only dabbed them with paper towel. Attaching a good photo to remind us not to use coloured paper, files, etc. See the yellow colour that came out of it.
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Thanks for posting this story Ann. It is an inspiration to see what can be achieved when people have access to appropriate (and timely) disaster preparedness and response training and information. I would love to be able to use this case as an example to some of the museum groups in WA as I travel through the regions and discuss these types of issues with them.
Congratulations to Maree Worland and the members and supporters of the Roma & District Family History Soc Inc for doing such a fantastic job of document recovery. Love the photos - they provide a great visual demonstration of the steps involved in the photograph and document disaster recovery process.
Museum Extension Officer
Western Australian Museum