Available 24/7 for emergency assistance

Call: 888-377-5669
Text: 312-344-0331

Practical Tips to Maximize the Recovery of Water Damaged Art, Antique and Furniture Collections

The most common cause of art and historic artifacts damage during the hurricane is exposure to water, humidity, and high temperature. Often, hundreds of paintings, photographs, prints, drawings, sculptures and historic pieces of furniture may survive wind and flood, but without electricity and air conditioning the collections are often exposed to the environment which is conducive to the development of mold and mildew. The following are a few recovery tips that may help you save your precious collections from flooding and environmental damage:

  • Before entering the damaged property, please check with local authorities it is safe to return.

  • Take images and videos of the collection upon arrival.

  • Identify priority items.

  • Contact a conservator to assist with the recovery and triage of affected items.

  • Time is of the essence, the sooner the items are addressed, the more successful the treatment results.

  • Wear gloves and respirators when handling items.

  • Relocate items to a secured, climate controlled environment.

  • To help deter mold, the works should be staged in a well lit, climate controlled environment with fans for air circulation.

  • If a climate-controlled facility is not immediately available for object relocation, open the doors, windows, and the vents to created cross ventilation and to minimize mold growth.

  • Look for detached elements and fragments, store in bags with the item for future treatment.

  • Remove drawers from wet cabinets to remove water and wet items, as well as to facilitate drying and deter mold growth.

  • Do not force swollen drawers open as that may cause further damage.

  • When moving compromised items, please be aware that they are likely structurally compromised, and handled accordingly to avoid further damage.

  • NEVER ASSUME THAT A PIECE IS A LOSS. It is amazing what can be successfully recovered. Always check with a conservator for options.

  • The sooner a conservator is contacted, the better the potential results of recovery.

Need Assistance? Contact our national hotline:

Call: 888-377-5669
Text: 312-344-0331

Detail of an oil painting on canvas housed within a gilded frame, recovered from contaminated flood water

Detail of an oil painting on canvas housed within a gilded frame, recovered from contaminated flood water

We are...

A consortium of art industry professionals committed to disaster planning and response services for artwork, sculpture, works on paper, murals, objects, gilt objects, frames, antique and fine furniture.

Our professional team is on call to respond to emergencies including fire, flooding, or accidental damage. In addition to safeguarding artifacts, we ensure accurate inventory, safe evacuation, transportation, and climate controlled storage.  DPR provides expert conservation and preservation services. We offer consulting services to educate collectors on the care, maintenance and display of their collections. As well as custom disaster response plans designed to protect collections from potential vulnerability.

DPR Art Rescue helps facilitate the management of art related claims and offers consulting for claim related cost adjustment and expert opinion related to: damage and condition, conservation treatment design and prior treatments, as well as research and reporting for specific claim adjustments.

Our Clients

Private collections
Corporate collections
Insurance firms /claims specialists

Contact Information

For project or claim related inquiries, please feel welcome to contact:

April Hann Lanford
Vice President
Director of Client Services and Disaster Response
(312) 243-9747 | april@dprartrescue.com

Click the image above to download DPR Art Rescue brochure

Click the image above to download DPR Art Rescue brochure


Fire damage to oil painting
Fire damage to historic furniture
Fire damaged oil paintings

Subscribe to Our Journal/Newsletter Featuring Information on Safeguarding Art, Furniture, and Precious Objects

Name *