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Created on Wednesday, 06 September 2017 14:35
Written by Carroll Wilson
Right after the flood of Memorial Day weekend in 2015, the library brought in experts from the University of Texas to show people how to salvage their family photos.
They conducted some very helpful workshops, and while I don't have data to support it I think a lot of photos were saved because of their advice.
I have a daughter who made it through the Houston flood unscathed, thank goodness, and she asked me to email her some information about saving photos.
What I recall of what the UT folks advised was this:
If the photos are stuck together and you can't gently get them apart, you might as well discard them. You're probably not going to be able to save them, so concentrate on the ones that are single or that can be pried apart carefully.
For those, spread them out and let them dry on a flat surface, if possible. Don't start scraping debris off of them; you'll just peel off the image. If you have access to a freezer, put these photos in plastic bags and freeze them for a few weeks. That will help dry them out.
When they are dry, you can flatten them by using heavy books to weight them down.
If when you remove them from the freezer, they have dirt or debris on them, put them in clean water and gently swirl them to remove as much debris as possible. Then let air dry, then freeze again.
If you don't have access to a freezer, then spread the photos out and use a fan to dry them. Again, they will curl, but you can flatten later.
If the photos are in an album, try freezing the entire album, then try to remove the photos from their sleeves.