News & Opportunities

Back to list

Everyone mucks in to help with a practical exercise in salvaging wet collections

On Wednesday 26th February, 14 people from across the county's museums and heritage sites gathered at the Historic Dockyard in Chatham to find out how to manage in the aftermath of an emergency.  Emma Dadson from Harwell Document Restoration Services, led the day with lots of interesting case studies and examples of what can happen when fire and water attack your collection.  

The group then had to carry out a mini salvage operation on four boxes of items that had been subjected to water damage. Objects were divided into three groups; those that were suitable for fast, medium, or long drying periods - this usually depends on the material type.  For example, wooden objects should always be dried slowly over a long period to prevent any cracking or warping.  A variety of blotting paper, newsprint, silicone film, polythene sheeting, washing lines and fans were all used to set up wind tunnels and drying stations.  

Emma has kindly shared a copy of a template Emergency Plan for you to use and amend for your own site. This can be found on our resources page.

A 'Salvage Group' and 'Salvage Kit' for Kent & Medway

Towards the end of the session, the group had the opportunity to think about their own Emergency Plans and whether their salvage operations would be sufficient given the number of items in their collections.

It was decided that a group effort would be needed if any one of Kent & Medway's museums was unfortunate enough to suffer any kind of emergency.  Therefore, we all decided that Kent & Medway should start a 'Salvage Group'.  The Salvage Group would most likley be an e-GoogleGroup that anyone can sign up to - but on the understanding that putting your name into the group, you are not only eligible for help, but would be required to help others should the need arise.

If you would like to flag up your interest in the Salvage Group, please email

The Kent MDO and Preventive Conservation Officer are currently ordering extra stocks of blotting paper, newsprint and other equipment to create a specific 'Salvage Kit' which will be available, free of charge, to any museum post-emergency.

Shared Harwell's Priority User Agreement

Emma Dadson from HDRS also suggested the idea of Kent & Medway museums jointly sharing one subscription to their Priority Users Agreement.  Annually this costs over £500 and entitles the user to emergency call outs, use of freezers and many other services.  The costs may be prohibitive to some of our smaller museums, but if we all club together, we can cut the price significantly.  If you are interested in being a part of this, please email

#MuseumVideos Day

And as it was officially #MuseumVideos day on Twitter, we put together this short video of the day: