Connecting to Collections Care Online Community

Mold & Mildew

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    • #134692
      Leslei Fisher

      The Museum building was closed for several months during heavy rains with no climate control. Therefore mold and mildew has invaded with many artifacts affected. There are items of clothing, leather boots, and many very old posters. I have no experience in this area. How do I best remove/destroy the mold and mildew without further damaging artifacts? Please note our entire annual budget is under $60,000 so there is not a lot of money but plenty of labor available. Thank you so much!

    • #134695

      This resource from the Smithsonian Institution should be helpful: And, another, from the Canadian Conservation Institute on Mold looks like it can be very helpful. Be mindful that mold can cause serious health problems and you need to make sure you and your workers have proper protection when work in mold infested environments.

    • #134801

      Freezers are your friend in many cases. If you have paper items that are either actively molding or damp, get them into chest freezers to give you more time to implement suggestions from the resources in Susan’s post. Some other items like textiles can often also be frozen to give you more time.

      Be mindful of what things are made out of if you choose to utilize this; leather could crack frozen when wet as could items that aren’t flexible enough to handle the expansion of freezing water. For these items, it’s most important to get them into a stable environment at cooler temperatures that inhibit mold growth while they dry out. Running dehumidifiers and air circulation from fans can be a huge help for creating these conditions without a lot of expense.

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