FAU restoring children records damaged by Superstorm Sandy

800 records recovered in New Jersey

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BOCA RATON, Fla. - Florida Atlantic University is restoring a collection of children records damaged by Superstorm Sandy.

The technicians with Recorded Sound Archives at Florida Atlantic University Libraries spin the 45 and 78-inch records vertically in distilled water that's charged with ultrasonic waves, cleaning off mud, mildew, and saltwater. The 800 records were recovered in New Jersey in Oct. 2012.

"We have done restoration of recordings before, but we had never done anything of this scope or scale," said Maxine Schackman with FAU's Recorded Sound Archives.

WPLG-TV reports technicians gently wash each disc, then slowly blow dry them with their homemade system. Benjamin Roth then pulls the sound off the vinyl and sends it into the digital world. 

"I had this when I was 3 years old," said Roth as he held The Little Red Hen. "I was thrilled to see it again after so many years."

With his digital editing equipment, he takes out clicks, pops and other surface noise from years of wear and tear, making the sound quality 100 percent better. 

"Personally, it's a labor of love," said Roth.

Books, dolls, and other artwork that came with the records are also scanned and Photoshopped. All the material are saved to the libraries' website. 

"There's something emotional about music that you heard when you were a child, and it never loses its appeal to you. It never loses its emotional impact," said Schackman.

The restoration project is about two-thirds of the way done, and the website is also in the works. The recordings should be ready for the public to hear in early 2014.

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