Help for Collecting Institutions During Disasters

Posted by Tim Mikulski, Aug 25, 2011 0 comments

After being part of the rare Virginia earthquake and preparing for Hurricane Irene this weekend, natural disasters are certainly on the minds of many of us here on the East Coast.

While there are a number of resources available when preparing for or facing an emergency situation from organizations like ArtsReady and CERF+, another group that helps collecting institutions wants to spread the word about their offerings as well.

Below is a press release from the American Institute for Conservation-Collections Emergency Response Team (AIC-CERT) that we wanted to share with our blog readers:

"With the peak of hurricane season approaching, museums, historic sites, libraries, and archives in coastal regions will be at risk. The American Institute for Conservation (AIC), the national association of conservation professionals, is offering free emergency response assistance to cultural organizations. Please help make sure that staff members of collecting institutions know to contact AIC-CERT when a disaster—flooding, hurricane, earthquake, fire—has damaged collections.

•    Call AIC’s 24-hour assistance number at 202.661.8068 for advice by phone.

•    Call 202.661.8068 to arrange for a team to come to the site to complete damage assessments and help with salvage organization.

AIC-CERT volunteers have provided advice to dozens of museums, libraries, and archives, most recently to sites in Minot, North Dakota affected by flooding. AIC-CERT teams were on the ground following the Midwest floods in 2008 and in the Galveston area following Hurricane Ike later that year. AIC-CERT members and other AIC conservators are currently in Haiti assisting with recovery of cultural materials damaged in the 2010 earthquake.

AIC-CERT is supported and managed by the Foundation of the American Institute for Conservation (FAIC). In 2007 and again in 2010, FAIC received funding from the Institute of Museum & Library Services to support an advanced training program for conservators and other museum professionals that resulted in a force of 107 “rapid responders” trained to assess damage and initiate salvage of cultural collections after a disaster has occurred.  They are ready to assist.

Resources and information on disaster recovery and salvage can be found on the AIC website at The public can also call AIC-CERT at 202.661.8068."

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