Collections and Conservation staff are busy dealing with a problem in our Lily St. storage location. A water pipe broke in the washrooms in the basement, putting water on the floor in several areas where collections are stored. Because the building is not going to be repaired (it’s slated for demolition sometime soonish)our landlords, Manitoba Centennial Centre Corporation (MCCC) want us to clear out the basement and close access to that level permanently. We were planning to pack everything up anyway for the move to a new (as yet unidentified) offsite collections storage location, but this acceleration of our schedule is a challenge.
The water has been shop-vacced up and fans are running 24/7, but the inevitable high humidity has unfortunately spawned some mould and corrosion on artifacts. We are isolating affected items and they will be cleaned before we wrap and pack them. Curators have been confirming all items that must be removed, including equipment and supplies. Collections go out first, though. Because we don’t have a new storage building yet, the bulk of artifacts will go just a short trip up to the main floor, where we are monitoring the humidity.
Human safety is the highest priority, so we’re donning lab coats, nitrile gloves and dust masks (N95, against dusts and mists) as we work.
Not quite a crisis, but certainly a challenging project to complete ASAP. And it keeps raining; although sunny skies are predicted for the next few days. Stay tuned for a happy ending – I hope.