AMRestore: Protecting Your Family History

AMRestore: Protecting Your Family History

People all over the world are gaining interest in learning more about their family history. DNA tells us a lot about where we come from, but historic documents can give provide exquisite details. That is why these documents must be preserved.

The World Cup, while one of the most popular sporting events on the planet, hasn’t always been popular in the US. The event has become more popular in recent years, but as Americans grow to like soccer, there comes a problem; which team to cheer for? In the past, the US men’s team hasn’t gotten very far against superstars like Brazil, Portugal, or Germany, and this year they aren’t even in the competition. A clever marketing campaign by one of the 2018 World Cup partners, 23andme, offers Americans a chance to ‘root for your roots” by taking a DNA test to trace their genealogy back to their original place of origin.

Searching for Your Roots

All of this speaks to the fact that Americans are obsessed with genealogy. It makes sense; as a nation of immigrants, we all want to know where we come from. We don’t have the luxury of centuries of political or social history easily visible around us. As a part of this melting pot, we have all been blended together.  Knowing where we come from, even if it was hundreds of years ago, gives us a sense of identity and legitimacy. It grounds us in a society that lacks certain defining factors that are present in older places such as Europe or Japan. Services like 23andMe offer a simple quick-and-easy answer to the question of genetic identity, all wrapped up in a slick user experience.

Preserving Your Records

Thanks to affordable, accessible DNA testing and improved archival websites, US Americans are enjoying a renewed interest in their heritage. Internet resources such as ancestry.com provide the document trail to go with, but many people might not be aware of the treasure trove of documents that they actually have in their own homes. Every family has accumulated paperwork over the years that often sits piled in boxes in the attic or basement; birth certificates, naturalization papers, and love letters that sit forgotten for decades. These documents tell just as much about a family, if not more, than DNA and should be cared for properly. Storage is key to keeping these precious documents safe and intact. Paper can decay rather quickly and needs a climate-controlled environment to last. Humidity should be kept below 65% in order to prevent mold and insects from spreading through the paper, though too little humidity can actually cause the paper to dry out and become brittle. Paper should be stored below 75 degrees Fahrenheit in order to prevent decay. So hot attics, garages, and basements should be avoided. Papers should also be stored flat, rather than rolled up or simply stuffed in a box or drawer. The containers and folders that you use to store them should also be archival quality, meaning acid-free so as not to further degrade the paper.

AMRestore to the Rescue!

If these precautions fail and documents become damaged, you can contact AMRestore for help. Every year, we salvage millions of paper and film-based documents from damage caused by water, fire, and environmental factors. Documents that have suffered damage deteriorate extremely fast, and so it is important to work with a conservationist as soon as possible to halt the progression of decay. AMRestore uses the most technically advanced processes and equipment available to address the specific needs of each project and keep your precious documents safe.

Conservation is both an art and a science and, like both fields, requires a constant exchange of knowledge to improve. To learn more about our contents restoration service, check out this page: https://amrestore.com/index.php/contents-restoration-personal-property-cleaning/

 

AMRestore Saves School Materials When Mold Strikes

AMRestore Saves School Materials When Mold Strikes

With summertime only a few months away, it’s time to start thinking about how excess temperature and moisture in school buildings work in concert to create an ideal environment for mold to thrive. High humidity, in particular, makes it easy for mold to damage soft goods. A wide variety of materials in school environments—ranging from musical instruments to library books—can serve as ideal media for mold growth. If you’re a school administrator dealing with the consequences of a mold outbreak, you may feel as if these items are a total loss.

The good news is that doesn’t need to be the case. In occurrences of mold damage, AMRestore’s document recovery solutions can help return school materials to working condition.

Mold Damage Shuts Down Popular School Activities

The “Sonic Boom” band at Stephen F. Austin High School in Houston, Texas, knows just how expensive mold damage can be. Over the summer, HVAC issues led to a mold issue that decimated 40 musical instruments and cases ranging from brass to woodwinds, resulting in thousands of dollars worth of damage. The incident caused many students to miss out on participating in halftime shows, parades, and other once-in-a-lifetime events.

Student-athletes and coaches at Fillmore Middle School in Fillmore, California, know the inconvenience of mold damage as well. The boy’s locker room, coach’s office, and stage area of the gymnasium building closed because of safety concerns when mold was found to be present in the drywall attic space over these areas. While repairs take place, coaches are being forced to use classrooms to conduct athletic activities and instruction—not an ideal situation.

Environments Where Mold Thrive

Mold grows when airborne mold spores land on a damp “food source,” such as wood, paper, carpet, insulation, and other building materials, and begin digesting it in order to survive. In schools, excess moisture could be present due to leaky roofs, pipes, windows, and foundations, or even from fresh paint or carpet cleaning. In fact, just the increased humidity of summer weather in building areas where the air conditioning has been shut off can be enough to trigger mold growth. Thus, it’s not much of a stretch to recognize that materials such as schoolbooks, musical instruments, ceiling tiles, and carpeting can provide the perfect environment for mold spores to take hold and grow. The key to managing mold in schools: controlling moisture.

AMRestore Is the Best Solution Provider for Mold Growth and Damage in School Settings

AMRestore’s innovative equipment restoration technology employs state-of-the-art vacuum freeze-drying chambers that use negative pressure to create the industry’s most effective drying solution, capable of returning school materials to working condition rapidly. And AMRestore’s desiccant air-dry distribution system is an energy-saving technology that provides customers real-time access to documents as they complete the restoration process.

Learn more about our document recovery solutions here.

When Art, Culture, and History are at Stake, It’s Time to Call AMRestore

When Art, Culture, and History are at Stake, It’s Time to Call AMRestore

Political activist, publisher, journalist, entrepreneur, and orator Marcus Garvey once stated, “A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin, and culture is like a tree without roots.” As such, valuable historical texts, books, documents, artworks, and ancient artifacts enable future generations to learn about their past, enabling discoveries of humankind’s triumphs and foibles over the years, engendering understanding that will allow for a better future.

Thus, after a flood or other disaster, it’s critical for museums, churches, libraries, municipalities, archives, and historical societies to quickly and properly restore their most valuable historical items to avoid further damage and decay. This preservation process, an essential part of document management, begins with choosing the right restoration partner.

Preserving Archival Material is Important for Historical and Cultural Reasons

Although the terms are sometimes used interchangeably, when it comes to historical collections, conservation and preservation are two different concepts. In general, conservation refers to proactive steps taken to ensure the proper physical treatment of individual damaged items. For example, a fragile historical document that had been incorrectly framed by an amateur might be mounted on acid-free paper and put behind UV-resistant glass to ensure it does not degrade further.

On the other hand, the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works defines preservation as activities that minimize chemical and physical deterioration and damage and prevent loss of informational content. This broad concept includes not only disaster planning, but also activities such as treatment, replacement, or reformatting that address existing damage.

To ensure the permanence of their collections, earlier, less technologically advanced generations simply recorded the words of historical documents by publishing them; but as technology advanced, archivists began to use microfilm as a medium for preservation and document management. However, by the mid-20th century, rather than just capturing or copying the information, archivists increasingly saw the value in preserving the original documents themselves before they deteriorated.

These Materials Have Commercial Value as Well

The term intrinsic value is used by the National Archives and Records Service to describe historical materials with qualities and characteristics that should be retained in their original physical form, rather than as copies. Of course, these records may have significant monetary value as well—that’s why historical documents are routinely appraised for insurance replacement, probate, donation, purchase, sale, historical, and research purposes.

So, when disaster strikes, the monetary losses can be devastating, such as the numerous examples of water-related library disasters. In 1975, for instance, the Case Western Reserve University Library was flooded, saturating and muddying approximately 40,000 books and 50,000 maps, resulting in a recovery cost of $540,000. And when floods struck Prague in August 2002, extensive collections in more than 40 libraries were destroyed and damaged—the damage to the National Library alone was estimated at $11,000,000.

Items of Cultural Relevance Exist in a Variety of Locations

Of course, valuable documents aren’t found only in libraries and museums. Municipal buildings, churches, historical societies, and other institutions may house rare and irreplaceable records as well. Literature, maps, letters, genealogy records, business contracts, and photographs are just a few of the cultural and historical archives that may be represented in these collections. And these documents need not always be connected with famous people or events to prove valuable. Just as important to historians is the record of everyday life within a culture, including rituals, religion, foods, art, and other facets that make a culture unique. Unfortunately, many of these documents may not be cataloged and may be stored in various offices, storerooms, boxes, and cabinets, or in even more out-of-the-way spots, such as under a staircase or in the attic.

Disaster Planning and a Restoration Partner are Integral When Disaster Strikes

Responding quickly to damage from water or other emergencies requires a disaster plan. A number of document recovery solutions, such as vacuum freeze drying, desiccant air drying, and cleaning and sterilization, can be employed to reverse much of the damage. When documents can’t be salvaged, digital imaging can often be used to capture the information contained in damaged records. To determine the best course of action in performing document management, it’s vital to employ the services of a restoration specialist partner with extensive experience in restoration. AMRestore is that partner.

By combining the passion for helping others with both experience and technology, the experts at AMRestore maintain high standards in service delivery. AMRestore has successfully dried and restored countless priceless contents. The AMRestore team prides itself on a quick response and unparalleled restoration of valuable archives. To find out more about how AMRestore can help with disaster recovery planning, contact us today.