A huge restoration project is underway for flood affected artifacts from the High River, Alta. museum.

Gail Niinimaa, a textile conservator, has been working to restore hundreds of artifacts. They were in the basement of the Museum of the Highwood when it was flooded in June.

Niinimaa has been contracted by the museum to restore flood-damaged artifacts

"There's not a lot of literature on this, like there aren't a lot of people who have written you know, case studies and information on this, how you deal with river flooded textiles or objects."

Cowboy hat

One of the artifacts is a cowboy hat from well-known Alberta rancher Burt Sheppard. It was damaged in a fire that hit the Museum of the Highwood in 2010. Curator Irene Kerr says it made it through the flood quite well because of the material it’s made out of. (CBC)

Niinimaa is going through more than 200 boxes that have been stored in a refrigeration truck.

Items include Calgary Stampede founder Guy Weadick's cowboy hat, silk dresses and baby clothes.

To get them clean, Niinimaa uses special soaps.

"You know putting water in, changing it, putting water in, putting it in soap and then rinsing and rinsing and rinsing."

Project could be complete by summer

Museum curator Irene Kerr said the process is going well so far.

“We don't really know exactly what's in the refrigerator truck. We did a partial inventory but it's really difficult to identify a lot of it. So, there will still be some things that we're going to have to just say it can't be restored or we don't have the financial resources to restore it.”

Kerr said the goal is to get all of the stored artifacts restored by the end of summer.

“It’s really exciting,” said Kerr.

“To open a box and see what’s in there and see what it looks like, because, believe me, I remember what a lot of that looked like when we first brought it out and it was pretty scary."