Process

The request for assistance came on April 13 from curators at the Morioka City Museum for the Study of Ruins. Pictures shot in the disaster-struck region revealed some catalogs of materials and other lists that had survived the disaster, so Uchida proposed first that these be digitized. The salvaging efforts were being carried out by volunteer curators in the prefecture at this point, because the initiatives of the Agency for Cultural Affairs were not yet underway. Uchida therefore developed the details of the plan in consultation with the curators from the Iwate Prefectural Museum who were leading the volunteer effort. He also presented a written statement that he would give his support without requiring payment for expenses by either Rikuzentakata City or the Iwate Prefectural Museum.

It also became clear at this time that volunteer curators from the prefecture had taken salvaged materials and PCs home from the RT City Museum and the RT UMI to KAI no MUSEUM(Museum of Oceans and Shellfish) and were considering how to proceed from there. Uchida’s company, Waseda Systems Development, offered to assume the costs of shipping additional materials out of Rikuzentakata and of providing storage facilities for them.
It was then discovered that in addition to indexes, catalog cards and other lists of museum holdings, the salvaged items included a large volume of albums, film, slides and other photographic materials.

Because these required specialized knowledge about the cleaning and drying of photographs that had been covered in seawater and sand, Uchida with the permission of the Iwate Prefectural Museum, presented the issue at the April 23 Save MLAK event held at Gakushuin University, and asked for collaborators. The result was the launching of a project team of volunteer curators with expertise in the restoration of photographic materials.