Museums and other collections-based institutions are particularly vulnerable to natural disasters and other events that compromise the safety of their buildings. We have compiled this list of helpful links to information that will help in disaster preparation and recovery. If you would like to see an additional link listed, please contact us directly.
Disaster Preparation and Response Links:
The State Office of Emergency Management provides assistance, including access to products and recovery services.
From the New York State Library & Archives:
The State Office of Emergency Management provides assistance, including access to products and recovery services. Go to: http://www.dhses.ny.gov/
The State Library and State Archives have resources to assist you. Contacts, services, and resources are listed below by your organization type. The State Library and State Archives are also responsible for gathering information about the extent of damage to your building and/or collections as well as recovery costs. Contact Barbara Lilley or Maria Holden to report the impact of the storm on your organization.
State Library staff are available to provide advice on recovering collections. Contact the State Library at (518) 486-4864. For additional resources, go to http://www.nysl.nysed.gov/libdev/cp
Archives staff are available to provide advice on recovering damaged records. When agency records are believed to constitute a hazard to human safety or health or to property, the agency records management officer may request authorization from the State Archives to destroy or dispose of such records immediately. Contact the Archives at (518) 474-6926 or (518) 473-4254. For a complete listing of State Archives disaster services and resources, go to:
The State Archives Regional Advisory Officers are available by phone/email to provide advice on recovering archives and records and to assist you in applying for a recovery grant. Local governments may be eligible for up to $20,000 in disaster recovery funding for damaged records. Contact your Regional Advisory Officer or call the Archives at (518) 474-6926 or (518) 473-4254. For a complete listing of State Archives disaster services and resources, go to:
Other Cultural Institutions (museums, historical societies, non-government archives):
State Archives and State Library staff are available to provide advice on recovering collections. Contact the State Library at (518) 486-4864 or the State Archives at (518) 474-6926 or (518) 473-4254.
Guide to preparing for hurricanes at the beginning of the season, June 1.
American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (AIC-CERT)
24 hour hotline (202) 661-8068
AIC-CERT responds to the needs of cultural institutions during emergencies and disasters through coordinated efforts with first responders, state agencies, vendors and the public. Hotline volunteers can provide advice and referrals by phone. Requests for on site assistance will be forwarded by the volunteer to the AIC-CERT Coordinator and Project Director for response. Less urgent questions can also be answered by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Disaster Response and Recovery Guides
- Emergency! If You’re First
- Tips for the Care of Water Damaged Family Heirlooms and Other Valuables
- Salvaging Water-Damaged Textiles
- Saving Photographs After the Flood
- Conservation Online Disaster Portal
Heritage Preservation, the National Institute for Conservation
Heritage Emergency National Task Force HENTF
Emergency Response and Salvage Wheel offers step-by-step procedures for dealing with damage to framed artwork, photographs, books and paper items, electronic records, textiles, furniture, ceramics/stone/metal, organic materials and natural history specimens. Order from www.heritagepreservation.org/catalog/Wheel1.htm or 888-388-6789. A Spanish version of the wheel is available. For more information, call the number above or email TaskForce@heritagepreservation.org. A companion publication, The Field Guide to Emergency Response, is also available from the same source. Additional guides and tools can be found on several website sections.
Resources for Emergency Planning and Preparedness website sections include Know Your Risks, Plan for Collections Emergencies, Prepare a Historic Property for Emergencies, Learn What Funding is Available and How to Get It, Train Your Staff and Volunteers and Protect Family Treasures from Disaster.
Resources for Response and Recovery website sections include: Respond to an Emergency, Get Professional Help, Assess Damage, Get Funding to Aid Your Recovery, Share Information with Your Community and Local Media, Protect Your Health, Salvage Your Collections, Salvage a Historic Property, and Salvage Family Treasures from Disaster.
Information on major disasters: www.heritagepreservation.org/PROGRAMS/TFcurrent.html.
National Park Service
Primer on Disaster Preparedness, Management and Response (Paper-based materials)
The NPS also provides a Rapid Building and Site Condition Assessment form. The document can be used to quickly assess conditions within a disaster region; it has an emphasis on historic structures. Instructions on using the form and definitions are also available.
The Library of Congress Preservation Directorate offers "Emergency Drying Procedures for Water Damaged Collections." It has concise information that covers air-drying of paper, books and photographs and recovery from mold.
The Minnesota Historical Society shares salvage procedures for a wide variety of materials, including textiles, photographs, wooden objects, leather, paintings and paper.
This concise website leads cultural institutions through the process of applying to the Small Business Administration (SBA) and FEMA for assistance after major disasters. It includes links to necessary forms.