DISASTER RECOVERY AT THE UNIVERSITY OF ALBERTA, OR, EVERY FLOOD HAS A SILVER LINING
1 1. INTRODUCTION
The University of Alberta Clothing and Textiles Collection survived a flood disaster that was a crisis with a silver lining. The flood-damaged clothing and textiles provided numerous challenges throughout the salvage operation and recovery, wherein positive solutions were found. As the conservator for the Clothing and Textiles Collection, my role throughout this disaster was largely to coordinate and supervise, where necessary, the team of conservators; establish guidelines for the documentation and procedures; report to the administration; and actively participate in the treatments. The understanding gained has helped and will continue to help with the conservation treatments of the collection's artifacts. It is hoped that sharing our experiences will assist others faced with the same fate.
The University of Alberta Clothing and Textiles Collection, curated by Anne Lambert, is a diverse collection composed of more than 15,000 historical (dating to 1760) cross-cultural and contemporary clothing, textile, and related artifacts. It is a study collection utilized by students and staff on the university campus, as well as by educators, researchers, and public programmers from outside the community. In addition, the public is welcome to view the collection. Ongoing care and maintenance of the collection are provided by the conservator and curatorial technician.
Approximately 1,700 artifacts from the Clothing and Textiles Collection are housed in a compactor storage unit that accommodates hanging, tray (flat), and rolled storage sections. This is largely where the floodwater entered the collection.