Maffra and District Historical Society

M&DHS operates the Maffra Sugar Beet Museum, part of the Local History Collection at the Maffra Library, and a Dairy Museum at the Robotic Dairy at Winnindoo.

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Location: Victoria, Australia

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Museum closed until January 2013

Overnight Maffra has received about an inch of rain (25ml) in a very solid downpour, resulting in flooding in the Maffra Library. More specifically, the worst of the rain came down on the compactus in the workroom, where a quantity of our documents, early albums and other precious material was stored. About half the material was seriously dampened, and we were left with no alternative but to totally clean out our section of the compactus (the reserve local history collection in the other bays has gone to library HQ in Sale), and take it to the Sugar Beet Museum for immediate treatment.

The three filing cabinets of photographs and files are untouched.

A fleet of cars transported the material to the museum,where we triaged it into wet and dry, and were mostly involved in removing the wet boxes in which it was stored. We were indeed fortunate that mostly the boxes took the water, and much of the collection was only slightly dampened.

Dry material was sorted onto chairs in the smaller "Dry Room", where we tried to keep material together while airing it. Much is uncatalogued, and we were concerned we would lose relationships between material if we just laid it all out.

Individal items, such as this large photograph album that was only in the compactus because John had just finished scanning the 600 photographs in it, were interleaved with kitchen paper to absorb initial dampness.

We will be spending the next few days doing the immediate, urgent drying, but setting up the treatment area has necessitated the immediate removal of much of the display material in the main room. We need to carefully dry and sort all material before it is reboxed and stored somewhere other than the compactus - this is the second time it has flooded. Last time was not as serious - or maybe we did not have as much in it then.

Since we were due to close for the year in December, we are taking this opportunity to close until a date to be announced in January. The 19th November meeting will be at a different venue - please check with an executive member if you do not receive advice in time.

With thanks to Lyn, and especially Bill for assistance, and to Judy Richards from Stratford Historical Society. We may even write more here about what we have learned, once we settle down.


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