Extracts from the Miyagi Network News XXIX

Preserving records in Miyagi Prefectural Agricultural High School

Published on 4 June 2011

Author(s): Network for Historical Materials/Daisuke Sato

Type:  Blog/Situation report Vol 129

Preserving records of tradition and learning in Miyagi Prefectural Agricultural High School

This is Daisuke Sato, as a secretariat officer. From 29th to 30th of May, we carried out the rescue operation at libraries owned by the alumni association of Miyagi Prefectural Agricultural High School in Natori City. We cooperated with the members of the school, the alumni association, the Kobe Network for Historical Materials, and the Yamagata Relief Network for Cultural Heritage.

In addition, the local response headquarters of the Committee for rescuing cultural properties used their interest with our activity. Taking this opportunity, we would like to express our gratitude to all of the people who gave their support to our rescue operation.

Removing mud from the materials.jpg
Removing mud from the materials

This was the secondary operation following the activity which had been carried out from 25th to 27th of April. As for the previous operations, please see the Miyagi Network News vol.115.

On May 29th, in Miyagi Prefectural Agricultural High School

In this high school, the ground floor was flooded by the Tsunami. Compared with the situation when we had carried out the previous activity, because it seemed that removal operations had advanced, all the more substructures of the buildings were in turn revealed, so we could recognise afresh their serious condition.This time’s targets were the photo albums from the prewar time, and the waterlogged books which had been confirmed on the ground floor of the warehouse in the 100thmemorial hall.

Those materials which had sunken into the mud were seriously waterlogged so that they had been dried in the shade. As for them, first of all we got to carry out the operation of cleaning up and packing.

Washing book in the water

In terms of the cleaning operation, we removed the mud which was adhered to the materials by brushes and pallets. At this time, the materials which had mould were wiped up with ethanol. Afterwards, because there are some different forms of treatment for the Japanese style books and western style books, we classified the materials to each style, and packed them into the cardboard boxes.

Simultaneously, as for the photo albums, we carefully removed dirt from every photo and album book, and took out the negative from its bag made from vinyl. After a 3 hour operation from 1:00pm, two thirds of the urgent measures had been done, therefore we temporary transferred those materials (approximately 40 cardboard boxes) to Sendai City Museum.

On May 30th, at the Sendai City Mukouda Repository for Archaeological Artefacts

Due to Typhoon no.2 coming, it became a record downpour day although it was still in May. On such a day, we carried out the urgent measures in Sendai City Mukouda Repository which was offered by the institution concerned with their favours. Following the previous day, we removed the mud from materials all day long and washed materials in the water, and carrying out water absorption for some of the Japanese style books. As for the negative films, they were soaked and washed in tepid water, and after that, air-dried.

To the refrigerator warehouse

With regard to the materials which would require the the vacuum freeze drying treatment, after we finished, we transferred them to the Tohoku Southern Sendai Distribution Centre of Nichirei Logistics which is one of the companies cooperating with our activity. Around the Distribution Centre which was located in Iwanuma City and near Sendai Airport, we could see a lot of debris and the fences being twisted by the Tsunami, the surface of the roads were destroyed by the quake and were submerged, therefore sometimes we couldn’t pass through as we wanted.

The groups of companies’ warehouse which were located in the southern airport had already resumed for the reconstruction of their distribution, although their shutters on the ground floor were destroyed by the Tsunami. The materials which had been treated were transferred into this centre, and will be transferred to the Nara Market Refrigerator Company in Yamatokooriyama City, which is cooperating with Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties which will carry out the treatment for these waterlogged materials.

By the good coordination of the voluntary workers who gathered from all parts of the country, the Committee for rescuing cultural properties and the company which cooperated with us, we could advance this rescue operation effectively.

Incidentally, because the vacuum freeze drying of the photo materials cannot be carried out, 2 members of Kobe Network for Historical Materials executed the urgent measure for them in the secretariat office until 10:00pm on 31stMay.

Drying up photos

By this operation, the first stage of the urgent measures and transportation of the books and other materials concerned with Miyagi Prefectural Agricultural High School have been completed. Afterwards, the drying operation will be carried out in the Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties or Tohoku University of Arts and Design, and will be returned back to the high school and be preserved in the new facility because the school will move to the new building.

On the books bound in Japanese style, part of them had a stamp which indicated that these books had been owned by Miyagi Agricultural Training School(*) which had been the precursor of Miyagi Prefectural Agricultural High School, therefore those materials showed us the school’s tradition and history. We could find that the photo materials involved the scenery of the school events since prewar time or the activities of the alumni association. We hope that our activity will contribute to the succession of their school tradition.

NB: The photos are all from the homepage of the Miyagi Network for Preserving Historical Materials.

*Miyagi Agricultural Training School(宮城農事講習所): established in 1881 near the Sendai Domain’s tea garden which was located in Negishi, Taihaku district, Sendai City.

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