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Hands with nitrile gloves performing preservation tests on an art print

In July and August 2023, torrential rains caused devastating flooding across Vermont

Our cultural heritage institutions – archives, libraries, historical societies, museums – preserve our history and our art for future generations. These same institutions are at increasing risk due to severe weather caused by climate change.

The Vermont Studio Center (VSC) a renowned artist residency program in northern Vermont was inundated by floodwaters in July. A third of the 1,200 prints in the center’s art library – which holds archives of work by alumni – were soaked by polluted floodwaters.

Middlebury Special Collections staff answered a call for volunteers to help with flood recovery. Alongside artists and volunteers, Rebekah Irwin and Mikaela Taylor, ‘15 helped inventory prints, assess damage, and performed water solubility tests. Conservators will continue with next-steps of cleaning, drying, and flattening the many works of art on paper in the VSC’s collection. 

Volunteers restore flood damaged art prints
Flood recovery supplies
Supplies for art print flood recovery

Thanks to Middlebury College for offering Release Time to staff to support flood relief efforts. 

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