Many of us possess family heirlooms. They may be old family photographs or marriage certificate or a handmade quilt that is more than 100 years old. Whatever the object(s), they are handed down from generation to generation and are cherished by each new recipient.
What happens if your home is flooded or in a hurricane or tornado or other disaster? Even a simple burst water pipe or a few roof shingles blown off in a thunderstorm can result in damage to all sorts of things, including heirlooms.
No one likes to think about disasters, whether natural or man made, but thinking ahead and preparing, together with knowledge about first steps, can save those family treasures from ruin.
The Library of Congress has a great webpage offering simple instructions and links to more in-depth information regarding preserving family documents. The information provided is often simple but contains a lot of common sense. For instance, the section on where to store heirlooms states:
The single most important decision you can make to mitigate damage from a future disaster is selecting an appropriate location for your most valued family treasures. Avoid basement and attic when possible. Consider the safest location based on the most likely threat; if flooding, avoid the basement; if tornado, avoid attics and outside walls. Are there certain times of the year when you are most vulnerable? Can you store some things offsite during those periods?
Another consideration is small disasters and prevention. Don’t store valuable materials under water pipes and keep materials off the floor. If you must store items in the basement, don’t put materials against an outside wall that may let in dampness. Small leaks that go undetected for a period of time can cause irretrievable damage through mold growth and staining. Be sure to check your storage at least twice a year to be sure there are no problems.
This is but one example of the common sense advice offered. You will also find links to more comprehensive information for many topics. It also contains information about handling damage AFTER a disaster, such as water, smoke, and soot damage.
"Preparing, Protecting, Preserving Family Treasures” may be found at http://www.lcweb.loc.gov/preserv/familytreasures/index.html.
Don't your family heirlooms deserve some protection?