How do I salvage a card with water damage?
Q. Dear Donia,
I have a card from President and Mrs. Obama that I received as a congratulations on my wedding, and it's one of the most cherished items I have from that time. I was planning on having it professionally preserved (and it was in really good shape), and then I discovered that my friend spilled water on it and did not tell me. The envelope and card are wrinkled from getting wet, the ink appears smudged (for lack of a better word), and there are some other color stains on the card itself. Is there anything that can be done to remove these stains, smooth the wrinkles, and otherwise prevent this from progressing? I am willing to pay a professional for these services, but I have no idea where to start. I would really appreciate any thoughts you may have. Thank you, Taylor
A. Dear Taylor,
What an incredible memento to have from your wedding but I am so sorry to hear it was damaged. For something this important to you, I would get a conservator to take a look at it. It sounds like the inks bled and this makes anything you might want to do much more difficult. Luckily for you, Chicago is home to the Chicago Conservation Center. They will be able to help you with this delicate project. The one thing I would caution is that rarely do conservation treatments make the item look brand new. We can do a lot but there may always be a little reminder of the history of water damage.