C2C’s Test Burn

On February 6th and 7th our staff will be leading a Fire Disaster Recovery Workshop that will include a controlled burn of a mock museum space. Our team will install a range of collections and storage/ display containers at the Buxton Fire Station on North Carolina’s Outer Banks. This fire station has a firefighter training facility that is equipped to demonstrate large fires and their effects safely.

 The primary purpose of this burn is to give our workshop participants the opportunity to practice fire salvage recovery methods. Firefighters will extinguish the fire with water, so we expect artifacts to suffer from blistering heat, smoke, and soot, as well as water. C2C’s mock museum will include: a small exhibition case containing 6 silver plate artifacts on small mounts; a hanging rack with costumes—some with covers, some without; a bookshelf with books; a metal storage cabinet with interior shelves containing books and other faux collection items.

The controlled burn will also give us the chance to test the protective features of various storage containers and inserts. We will place 10 storage boxes at equal distance from the planned fire area.

 We will be as consistent as possible with the faux collections each box contains. Enclosed “artifacts” will be:

  • Book
  • 2 Mylar-encapsulated photographs
  • Copper sheet
  • Silver-plated utensil

We will also be including the Image Permanence Institute’s A-D strips in each of the 10 test boxes.  Designed to indicate “vinegar syndrome” (acetic acid) in deteriorating film collections, these products detect the presence of many acidic vapors and may be a useful guage for the protective qualities of various preservation materials inside our test boxes.

 The morning of 2/7 we will open each box and record the color of the A-D strip inside and a visual condition assessment of the contents of each box. We will post results as soon as possible thereafter to this blog.

Do you have any ideas or advice for this test, or the controlled burn more generally? If you are interested, please join us for the workshop!

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About collectionsconversations

This blog will contain posts from the C2C project staff on a variety of topics related to collections care and disaster preparedness. Enjoy the posts and let us know if you would like additional information or have a topic you would like for us to address.

Posted on January 10, 2012, in collections care, Connecting to Collections, disaster preparedness, storage, workshops and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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