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Save Family Treasures from Soot

Conservation experts say prompt, gentle attention is best

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Cherished family heirlooms that survive a fire are often covered with soot and ash, requiring prompt and gentle attention to avoid further damage.

The Heritage Emergency National Task Force, an initiative of Heritage Preservation and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, offers the following tips for cleaning up. The advice is based on the experience of respected conservation professionals who care for our nation’s treasures in museums and libraries.

These general guidelines are adapted from the Field Guide to Emergency Response produced by the national nonprofit Heritage Preservation.