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Learn how to save your stuff from disaster

Joyce Hollister

Did something precious of yours get wet during the flood – or do you have an old family document that you want to keep safe?

“How to Save Your Stuff from a Disaster” will be offered at the Carson Valley Museum and Cultural Center by the guy who wrote the book – really.

Scott M. Haskins, whose book known by that title has been widely acclaimed by conservation and preservation experts, will share his techniques with Carson Valley people at noon March 8 in the museum meeting room.

He will give concrete advice on storing, protecting and preserving photographs, ceramics, documents, books, paintings, old clothes and keepsakes for the nominal charge of $15 per person.

Participants in the workshop are urged to take along an item they wish to reclaim from damage or preserve for the future. Haskins will give individual advice, said museum curator Cecile Brown.

“The idea,” Brown said, “is to teach the public how to preserve things from disaster in advance and also to fix things after they’ve been hurt.”

Disasters that can hurt your “stuff” range from floods and earthquakes to simply damp in the basement and bats in the attic. Items that may be reclaimed or preserved can also include computers, computer disks, furniture and all kinds of recordings, Brown said.

Haskins’ book will be available before and at the class.

The class was prompted not only by the flood but also by the idea that most people have items that are valuable and important to their family history. Brown thinks people could preserve their history for many more generations with a little care – and by using professional conservation products available at the museum.

“This may prompt people to take a look around and assess what it is they may want to preserve,” she said. “They may not have realized the value of something before this.”

As Haskins speaks and demonstrates, large screen television and video equipment will be used so participants may watch his hands close up as he repairs items.

Haskins has been working in the conservation field since 1975. He had lived and studied in Italy for many years and also ran the conservation laboratory at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah before moving with his family to Santa Barbara, Calif.

He provides painting conservation services for clients all over the world, including Pope Paul’s family, Hearst Castle, International Institute of Iberian art and the Santa Barbara Museum of Art.

For the past seven years, he has taught an adult education class in Santa Barbara on the preservation of treasured family documents.

To reserve a space for the class or for information on the kinds of conservation materials available at the Carson Valley Museum and Cultural Center, call 782-2555.