DISASTER RECOVERY AT THE UNIVERSITY OF ALBERTA, OR, EVERY FLOOD HAS A SILVER LINING
5 5. CONCLUSIONS
The University of Alberta Clothing and Textiles Collection was fortunate to survive this flood relatively unscathed. In the end, only 3% of the artifacts suffered irreparable damage. While not to say this is of no consequence, because some of those artifacts were in excellent condition with good provenance, it is to say, however, that it could have been worse. In many cases the damage caused by the flood was “reversible,” and the artifact was able to receive a cleaning treatment it desperately needed. When presented with a wet object that would be considered a high risk or poor candidate for a wet treatment, techniques were explored and often found to be successful. A better understanding of the treatment procedure and results when using water-based systems was gained.
Many conservators of institutions suffer from the same woes—too few staff members, lack of funding, time constraints, and so on. Fortunately, a team of conservators could be hired for the flood recovery; the insurance guaranteed funding; and, although there was some pressure by the insurance adjusters to finish the work quickly, reasonable time was given to successfully treat the artifacts as needed. While this flood was an unwelcome disaster, as all are, it afforded many people with employment, experience, and a platform for the sharing of knowledge and techniques.