Conservation DistList Archives [Date] [Subject] [Author] [SEARCH]

Subject: Cabinets and protection from water damage

Cabinets and protection from water damage

From: Kasey Brewer <kbrewer>
Date: Thursday, May 20, 1999
In response to Barbara Njie's request for anecdotes about water
damage to objects in cabinets, I have a story to relate.

Several years ago I was consulted about an incident at the Calgary
Police Museum.  They had a very slow leak from an overhead pipe
which dripped down onto the top of a cabinet (I believe it was
wooden, if memory serves me well) which housed small handguns.  The
real problem was that the leak was not detected for some time
(possibly weeks) when a staff member had reason to open the cabinet.
By that time, the water had entered the cabinet through seams in the
top and filled the upper most drawer with water.  When this drawer
was full, the water spilled over into the next drawer, and so on
until most of the drawers were filled with water.  By the time the
mishap was discovered, there was severe surface corrosion on most of
the affected metals and other irreversible damage to associated

The lesson I learned: cabinets do afford a certain amount of
protection for collections, but they must be opened and checked
regularly for hidden problems.  In addition, a continuous sheet of
polyethylene over the tops of the cabinets might be a good idea if
there is any possibility of water entering from the top.

                  Conservation DistList Instance 12:89
                  Distributed: Thursday, May 20, 1999
                       Message Id: cdl-12-89-006
Received on Thursday, 20 May, 1999

[Search all CoOL documents]