Monthly Archives: August 2013

CERT is NOT Just a Breath Mint

The candy-breath mint is 29 years older than the disaster-training course.  One was founded in Los Angeles and the other in New Jersey. One fits in your hand and one requires lending a hand. Both can help people improve their lives before and after a disaster.  Both can have positive effects upon an individual and the community at large.  A Cert, the candy-breath mint, helps the individual who is using it and helps those around that person who are glad they are using it.  The same can be said for CERT training.

CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) can assist the individuals and the community at large as well.  One is small and easily portable.  The other is hard work and requires training. Both can have an important impact on the quality of life after a disaster.  Just think about it, how will you brush your teeth in order to have cleaner, fresher breath, when there is no water, no toothbrush, and no way to take a bath?

However, after a disaster, more people are likely to use Certs than to use CERT. Let’s face it, bad breath is one kind of disaster, but a natural disaster that affects our homes and workplaces is of a higher importance.

CERT training is the very basic organized response to a disaster such as a tornado, hurricane, an ice storm, or flooding.  One of the frequent reactions after a disaster is that ordinary citizens automatically rush to assist their friends and neighbors.  Strangers become heroes and lives become transformed by the spirit of close humanity in a time of crisis. With the CERT training, regular citizens gain the skills for basic response and learn recovery steps. After training, they can then provide assistance to others, especially when professional resources are overtaxed.

If there is a CERT training course being offered in your area, we strongly recommend that you consider stepping forward, taking the classes, and achieving this higher level of response training.  With CERT, we can make life after a disaster a “fresher, cleaner” place.

CERT team members learn to work together to protect life and property in the event of a disaster.

CERT team members learn to work together to protect life and property in the event of a disaster.

Lyn Triplett

C2C – Disaster Preparedness Coordinator

NC Department of Cultural Resources

Ethafoam Update

Thanks to Doug Nishimura, Senior Research Scientist at the Image Permanence Institute, for his contributions to this post.

A cradle mount made by a recent workshop participant

A cradle mount made by a recent workshop participant

Ethafoam is closed-cell foam made from polyethylene and often recommended as a preservation-appropriate material for making object mounts. C2C has recommended this product, visited an NC factory supplier as part of a mount-making workshop, and used it for hands-on storage-mount-making practice in volunteer training. Conservation testing and materials research in the last decade, however, suggest caution when it comes to ethafoam’s use with metals.

R. Scott Williams, Senior Conservation Scientist at the Canadian Conservation Institute has warned that direct, long-term contact between polyolefin and polyethylene foams and metals can lead to corrosion. (Read his report here by scrolling down to pages 26-29 & 31-33.) Williams notes that the variety of foam manufacturers leads to an uncertainty about the chemicals involved in its processing. Often retailers substitute the product of one foam supplier for another, assuming that products with the same texture and appearance are the same. More and more, Chinese factories are the producers of polyolefin and polyethylene foams, and different manufacturers use various additives. Additionally, blowing processes can be either physical or chemical and result in a similar appearance. These apparently minor differences, however, can yield varying long-term preservation results.

During our workshops, we often hear questions about the long-term stability of colored foams, such as pool noodles. Williams’ research indicated that pigments do not pose a danger to the long-term stability of the foam. Pool noodles are a reasonably safe product for storage-mount-making. The one exception to the safety of colored foams is the light pink foam, indicating anti-static properties.  The anti-static agents migrate to the foam’s surface and are made from fatty compounds that can trap moisture and speed metal corrosion in cases of long-term contact.

Recent oddy testing of ethafoam with metal coupons has reiterated concern. Tests resulted in a striated pattern of corrosion on metal coupons when in direct contact. There was no noticeable deterioration from foam vapors (i.e. nearby, but no direct contact). Conservators, therefore, recommend a barrier layer between the foam and any metal object. In C2C hands-on exercises we have used tyvek (pictured above), white cotton jersey, and colored poly fleece. All three materials are soft and stretchy enough to smooth the surface of cut foam (which can be very abrasive) and tuck into slits cut in the foam. Because tyvek (also made of polyethylene) is not a blown product, it does not pose a metal corrosion danger in contact. Conservators’ research and cautions about contact between ethafoam and metals mean that these barrier layers are an important preservation measure, helping to prevent both abrasion and metal corrosion.

A great workshop and thoughts on finding funding in tough economic times.

Last week I had the opportunity to listen and participate in a lively day-long pre-conference workshop in Charlotte. The conference was the annual meeting of the Association of African American Museums and the workshop host was the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture.  The workshop was organized by the North Carolina African American Heritage Commission as part of the Gathering Place Project funded by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

The workshop focused on a pressing need faced by every institution, large or small, MONEY!  Called Gathering, Growing, and Gleaning Vital Resources for our African American Museum Spaces, we were forced to think about sustainable practices in saving our institutions from financial decay even as we are more often focused on the preservation of the “stuff” in our institutions.  To figure out where your institution is going financially, it helps to know from whence you came and the path that brought you to these questions.  Institutions should undertake a self assessment to study where its expenses lay, where it garners income, and where the weaknesses in those two pillars exist.

Further, as institutions consistently face smaller and smaller budgets during this economic downturn, it is amazing to see creativity in action to accomplish big goals with small funds.  We were treated to several presentations from archivists and museum professionals who demonstrated that non-traditional, low cost, approaches to sharing history through exhibition and programming can be very effective in bringing new visitors and sometimes generating additional, unexpected, revenue.  Insightful evidence of such programs was provided by Holly Smith of the Southern Historical Collection, Belinda Tate of the Diggs Gallery, and Bamidele Demerson of the International Civil Rights Museum.  Holly shared how she overcame challenges in mounting exhibits and programming in academic settings, and Belinda taught us to reach into the community for interactive exhibits.  Most interesting for me in Belinda’s presentation was her discussion of the Happy Hill Community exhibit – which became a tool to collect community history, art, and support for Diggs’ programming from a local neighborhood.  Bamidele shared with the group his challenges in creating meaningful exhibits in an historic space.

My section of the day featured discussions of finding funding from a variety of granting organizations.  I provided the introductory presentation for our panel as a way to demonstrate the variety of funders that can be found in the public and private sectors.

Click here Finding Funding to view my introductory powerpoint and hints on finding funders!

The basics of considering a grant application:

  • Identify a Need  – Know thyself
    • What is the problem?
    • How does my plan address the problem?
    • Can I do what I want to do with the resources I have? What do I need to have in place to apply?
  • Identify Funding Sources
    • Who should I approach for funding?
    • How do I obtain information about potential funders?
  • Develop Proposal
    • What are the goals and objectives of the program?
    • How will the program be carried out?
    • How will I budget the program?
    • What type of proposal format should be used? (e.g., forms or letters)
    • Contact program officers at potential funders – ask questions, follow protocol
  • Submit Proposal
    • Am I following the funder’s application procedures and deadlines?
    • Am I sending the proposal to the appropriate contact?
    • Am I sending all required materials in the appropriate format?
  • Follow-up
    • Was the proposal accepted?
    • If not, why?
    • Should I submit a revised proposal?
    • If awarded funds, follow grantor’s rules regarding publicity, reporting, and governance.

As a grant writer and reviewer, I always have an eye to the stability of the organization and its ability to achieve the goals of a grant project.  If an organization cannot keep its house in order, it most likely cannot meet the needs or goals of a grant project. So, bottom line, when considering writing a grant proposal, be sure that you can DO the things you propose to do in the grant project! Don’t over-assume your abilities – being realistic will benefit you in the long run!

LeRae Umfleet

“I Wish it Would Rain” by The Temptations

If you listen to the words of that iconic song, then, yes, we do think it “…strange, that you are wishing for rain.” There is a quarter mile crack in the roadbed of the Blue Ridge Parkway near Mount Mitchell and washed out roads have been reported from all over western North Carolina.  The eastern half of the state has been deluged with storms and flash floods practically every week since late May. The center of the state; the Piedmont, Triad and Raleigh areas, are very soggy, but are just getting by. River levels of the French Broad, Neuse, Catawba, and Cape Fear are full and/or close to capacity.   Reports of mold, mildew, leaks, drainage problems, and wind damages are coming in from all over.  There is no doubt that this has been one of the wettest springs and summers on record.  This is unusual considering that there have been no tropical storms or hurricanes to influence the climates so far.  Whew!  What a change from last summer.

On Tuesday, August 6, noted meteorologist, Greg Fishel, of WRAL TV Weather Center quoted the following statistics:  “To this date in 2012, we had recorded a total of nine days where the temperature was 100 degrees (F) or more.  Plus, we had experienced 44 days of temperatures in the 90’s.”   Those 2012 numbers Mr. Fishel reported are just to the beginning of August. Many of us remember that long hot summer that continued through the middle of September.

Each type of climate and local weather patterns brings its own signature of problems in archiving and conserving the cherished artifacts around North Carolina.  Spring and summer of 2012 was the year of extreme heat and typical southern humidity. This year problems are evolving because of the extended periods of constant rainfall, high humidity and flooding.  Although we are thankful for the cooler temperatures, the pervasive dampness can wreak havoc with artifacts of paper, wood, and fiber. Please be sure to watch items closely and to take preventative measures to preserve these special collections.  Fans, lights, dehumidifiers, proper storage and staff vigilance can help forestall any potential insect, mold and/or mildew problems.

My own home attic has created the headache of condensation on the AC ductwork that is dripping through the ceiling tiles.  Thank heavens it is not a roof leak, but that is symbolic of the weird weather we are experiencing.  The “artifacts” in my attic are only sentimental, but definitely replaceable.  What is happening at your site?  Be sure to take advantage of the cooler weather to check attics, closets, storage units and other areas for possible problems.  In addition, remember, we here at C2C are always available to help you.  Be sure to check the list for upcoming Disaster Preparedness Workshops and Collection Care learning opportunities. Stay dry!

Lyn Triplett

C2C Disaster Preparedness Coordinator

NC Department of Cultural Resources