As we are just days away from whatever Hurricane Irma has in store for us in Florida, I want to take a minute to think about the important photographs we have around us and our homes.
Of course now is the time to back up any digital files to a cloud or off site location but what about those mementos that are only in printed form. If you are evacuating, while I believe photos are super important, after your families and supplies and pets and insurance papers…you can only take so much with you. Think about which ones are irreplaceable and which ones you can have remade later.
If the worst happens and photos are damaged, they are not necessarily a lost cause! The American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic works has put together a few guidelines for helping save these precious memories.
Damaged photographs for which there are no negatives should receive attention first. Once photographs have stuck together or become moldy, saving them may not be possible. Handle wet photos carefully; the surfaces may be fragile. Wet photos may be rinsed in clean water (if needed) and sealed in a plastic garbage bag with a tie or a ziploc type plastic bag. If possible, put wax paper between each photograph. If a freezer is available, freeze the photos immediately. Later, the photos may be defrosted, separated, and air-dried.
If no freezer or refrigerator is available, rinse wet photos in clean water and dry them, face up, in a single layer on a clean surface (a table, window screen, or clean plastic laid out on the ground. Avoid drying the photos in direct sunlight. Don’ t worry if the photos curl as they dry. A photo expert can be contacted later about flattening them…
I hope and pray with all of my heart that no one NEEDS this information but more importantly, I ask all of you, my friends and neighbors, to keep yourselves and your families safe during this storm.