Two Smithsonian preservation experts demonstrated some inexpensive ways to salvage flood-damaged photos, quilts and other keepsakes.
Miranda Summers Lowe and Nana Kaneko, with the Smithsonian Cultural Rescue initiative, met with residents on Nov. 1 in the Marlboro County FEMA Disaster Recovery Center inside of Marian Wright Edelman Public Library.
Lowe, who works at the National Museum of American History, said she spends her days taking care of historical objects.
She was happy to be able to pass along some tips they used to care for historic objects.
"These are things you can do in your own home," Lowe said. "Everyday objects can make a real difference with your family heirlooms that have water exposure or flood damage."
Any restoration started with using gloves and wearing an N95 mask to protect against mold.
For photos that were stuck together, she put two inches of plain distilled water in a turkey pan. She emphasized the importance of using distilled water.
"Even with bottled water, they put minerals in it which could settle on the photos and damage them," Lowe said.
Once the water is in the pan, you submerge the photos. As they sit in the water, they will start to pull apart. If they give any resistance, they can stay in the water for up to 48 hours without any damage.
To dry, clip the photos to window screening using binder clips and hang up for ventilation.
"It is a really cheap and easy way to dry a lot of things," she said.