When a fire broke out in the Rare Books room of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music Library in 2014 the fire brigade responded within minutes and quickly used foam to extinguish it. This fast response contained the fire within the room and saved the items within it from potentially devastating damage. The collection was swiftly assessed by Conservatorium and University of Sydney staff to ensure it was in no further danger while fire recovery and salvage procedures were undertaken.
ICS was contacted to conduct a site assessment and put together a methodology for conservation of the fire affected materials.
All items stored in the room were found to be fire-affected. All exposed surfaces were coated in soot, some were stained from chemical foam and one item was partially singed.
The majority of items were paper-based. There were numerous bound books, and a large collection of loose- leaf documents (including musical scores and manuscripts) stored in card folders. There was also a Verbrugghen music stand and several historical photographs.
• Transporting all fire affected items from the Conservatorium Library to ICS
• Removing and reducing soot and fire extinguisher foam residue on affected items
• Recording card index information onto a spreadsheet, cross referencing to catalogues and cataloguing all uncatalogued material on an additional spreadsheet
• Replacing damaged auxiliary materials (boxes and folders) and rehousing documents within archival folders
• Carrying out additional conservation treatment and then returning items to the Conservatorium Library or University of Sydney Fisher Library as required
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