Do you remember that flood we had a couple of years ago?

Photo by Des Moines Register staff

The seemingly boring pile of blotter below is actually the last of the thousands of plans that we took out of the basement of Facilities, Planning and Management and treated after the flood. We’re just waiting for some storage tubes to arrive before they go to Special Collections.

Finished plans between blotter

What have we learned over the last two years and two months?

Melissa learned how to put theory into practice by organizing an impressive and creative salvage response.

Drying operation in the mechanical room.

Our newly hired student workers learned about the lab and each other while washing sheet after sheet of plans on Mylar. Amazingly, two of three are still will us.

Ashely, Ben and Hope

And as you have read over the course of the years, I have learned quite a bit about architectural drawings, the Iowa State campus and more than I’d like to know about tape removal. I could say that I learned how wonderfully helpful everyone in the lab is but I knew that before the flood. Still, many thanks to everyone for lending a hand when needed, because as you can see from the photo below a conservator often needs a third hand.

A third hand would be helpful right now

Mostly what we learned is something we already knew: responding to a disaster is hard and time consuming work. Taking steps to prevent a potential disaster is well worth the time. I will leave you with one final photo and a question. What’s in your basement?

Flood residue left after washing