Water damage to natural history collections can result from both natural and human-caused environmental disasters. Floods can result in irreparable damage to scientific specimens, depending on the scale of the disaster, types of specimens affected, and availability of remediation resources. In April 2021, the mammal skeletal collection in the Biodiversity Research Collections (BRC) of the University of Connecticut (UConn) experienced a ceiling flood that affected 612 specimens. In this paper we detail all steps of our specimen rescue process and all materials and equipment we used to complete this remediation in an endeavor we termed “Operation Bone Rescue.” Because we were able to immediately respond to this emergency and implement a complete remediation plan, facilitated by funding from our university, we not only rescued all water-affected specimens, but also improved specimen storage and metadata. We highlight the holistic nature of this successful operation and the key roles played by personnel in the BRC, UConn Facilities Operations, Fire Department, and College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Dean's Office. A deep appreciation of the value of natural history collections is shared widely on our campus and resulted in the favorable outcomes of this complex, coordinated specimen rescue effort.

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