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African American Museum of Iowa Update

Friday, July 11, 2008

I worked at home to get a little quality time and be a little more focused. Started with breakfast on the deck, caught sight of a humming bird checking out the red salvia, and then segued into working on my email on the deck. Very relaxing.

I met with the African American Museum staff late morning. They are doing all the right things for the dry collections that they are storing at the Masonic Library. They are running a fan and have popped lids off boxes to make sure all is really dry. They are very stressed about the estimates that are rolling in.  $118,000 so far in stabilizing the building – tearing out dry wall, swabbing the floors out, packing stuff into the refrigerated truck, sterilizing and drying out the building. This is before they even think about rebuilding. Document restoration will cost around $29,000 (70 cubic ft.). The 200 textiles/15 works of art on paper, and 1,000 photographs to thaw/assess/store will cost around $24,000-$34,000 – before any restoration starts. Costs for wooden objects and other artifacts not yet in. They are being very aggressive with grant applications and have begun to tap several resources. It’ll take at least 6 applications to net $75,000. We plan on doing the conservation work for the documents but need to find funds for equipment. Grants garnered by African American Museum of Iowa will fund the labor. We will work together to keep costs down, the African American staff will assess, prioritize, and rebox. We’ll do the conservation work.

When I returned home, I learned that someone ordered the large DH-Tech dehumidification units along the west side of the UI Main Library shut down. Humidity levels started to creep up immediately. Luckily staff caught the increase in humidity and our facilities manager was able to get the order reversed and have the dehumidification units turned back on. The UI Main Library building is likely days/weeks away from handling the air issues on its own because we’re short one air handler and no steam capability.