Planet Texas 2050 Resilience Symposium

I was pleased to participate this week in the Planet Texas 2050 Resilience Research Symposium.  At this multi-disciplinary event, I shared our preservation students’ work in climate risk mapping for Texas archives.  We revisit this project with a new climate focus each semester in my Disaster Planning and Response class.

At the event, an engaging array of scholars approached climate research from broadly varied perspectives.  Focuses included community resilience planning; regional shifts in communicable diseases; and current and historical impacts on plant and animal life.   Most attendees were new to the preservation of cultural collections, so this was a great opportunity to build new connections.

Many thanks to Jonathan Lowell, Heidi Schmalbach, and the Planet Texas team for organizing this event.

Texas archives institutions mapped with 2-foot, 4-foot, and 6-foot sea level rise.

Getting Ready for Fall 2021

Mold remediation is a common preservation challenge, and students in my INF 385T Disaster Planning and Response class get to practice their mold response skills. Here’s a peek behind the scenes as we prepare for our Fall 2021 students. This mold chamber allows test samples of archival materials to grow mold in a high-relative-humidity environment. After several weeks, these materials will be dried in a silica gel enclosure to ensure the mold is inactive for use in class. Students will also practice working with the right PPE, or personal protective equipment, to do the job safely.

I look forward to welcoming our fall students soon!

Mold chamber
This mold chamber shows the less-than-glamorous side of course preparation.

Earthquake!

In INF 385T, Disaster Planning and Response, we explore disaster preparedness and recovery for cultural heritage collections impacted by flood, fire, mold, and more. Here, we use a shake table to simulate two earthquake storage strategies for artworks of varying shapes. The artworks featured here are played by a set of Duplo blocks.

An introduction to our earthquake demo in INF 385T, Disaster Planning and Response.

Read more about the earthquake storage strategies highlighted in this video:

Agbabian, M.S., Ginell, W.S., Masri. S.F. and Nigbor. R.L. “Evaluation of earthquake damage mitigation method for museum objects.” Studies in Conservation 36 (1991) 111-120. 

Preparing for Spring

As the fall semester draws to a close, I’m in the lab today packing supply kits for my upcoming spring classes: Introduction to Paper Conservation and Disaster Planning and Response. Here’s a peek behind the scenes of remote learning. Looking forward to seeing you all in January!

spring supply kit
Packing supply kits for spring. Those folders are full of pre-cuts and practice materials, organized by week.