Many of you will have heard by now that the Royal Winnipeg Ballet Archives was flooded during the weekend of August 22nd. The archives are stored on the second floor of the RWB's building on Edmonton Street. The storage room was flooded when a toilet tank on the third floor exploded shortly after the building was closed for the weekend on Saturday. Water poured out and caused extensive damage to a large portion of the second floor as well as the parkade .
As soon as the disaster was discovered, the insurance company dispatched Winnipeg Furniture Services (WFS). Decisions were made quickly to have the records transported to WFS's facility for drying. What could not fit immediately into the drying room was frozen until they could be dried. Archives staff had the opportunity to tour WFS's facility and see firsthand how their drying process works. We were pleasantly surprised to see that the records came out of drying quite well.
The majority of damaged records were housed in acid free file folders and Hollinger cases. Garry Brenner of WFS was impressed by how well our records came out of the drying process and he credited the excellent storage containers for that. Our photograph and slide collections were housed in PrintFile Print Preservers inside of acid free file folders and Hollinger cases. These also fared well through the flood.
Sometimes we find basic preservation work on our collections tedious and the supplies expensive. But an incident like this certainly shows that refoldering and reboxing are important. We were also grateful for having diligently removed all metal fasteners, so none of our documents got stained by rust.
WFS will be bringing in a paper conservator to help guide the work moving forward. We still have a lot of work ahead of us, but thankfully the records have been saved. We would like to thank everyone who offered their assistance to help through this calamity. Please be assured that the records are in good hands and every effort will be made to restore them.
4 September 2015