In New Jersey, a historic conservation group called Preservation New Jersey has reports of storm damage from 40 historical societies and house museums, some of it from falling trees and wind in addition to flooding.
Most waterlogged items can be saved, Pourchot said, but sometimes the time and the cost may be prohibitive.
‘‘For individual artists and galleries, that’s a terrifying decision,’’ he said. ‘‘Can they be saved in such a way that they can be sold?’’
Pourchot’s institute has fielded 120 requests, mostly from individual artists.
‘‘This response has been so different from anything we've been involved in,’’ he said. ‘‘Often we can get federal funding through some of the federal arts foundations, but they are really restricted by their mandates to fund nonprofit public collections. So when it came to for-profit galleries and individual artists, that’s something they can’t easily cough up money for.’’
The conservation institute and a consortium of local arts groups are putting the finishing touches on an 18,000-square-foot center in Brooklyn where artists can get free space and expert advice to help them stabilize their collections. Even works that have been dried may still need cleaning to remove residues and mold spores.
The Cultural Recovery Center will be open three months, or longer, if necessary, Pourchot said.
The Museum of Modern Art, in collaboration with the institute, also has issued a guide on how to conserve works of art damaged by water.