Our second forum was held in St. Louis a few weeks ago and it was just as lively as our Philadelphia forum. It was wonderful to have representation from a number of very enthusiastic emergency managers who now seem determined to incorporate cultural heritage into their state emergency plans.
These forums offer a space where state emergency managers are brought into contact with state cultural stewards, and it was clear from our discussions that each group often knows little about what the other does. Feedback from the forums has made it clear that our goal of fostering new and lasting relationships between these two groups is welcome and necessary:
“I was just so thrilled to meet folks from the Emergency Management part of the spectrum even if they were from other states. Not only did I get their perspective on priorities, but I could put some human faces to that aspect of the mix. I saw them as very involved, caring people. I think the mixing of tables was crucial to broadening (and narrowing!) perspective.”
The best part of my forum experience was “understanding what the library, museum and arts contribute to the well-being of the state–both financially and culturally.”
“I thought having Emergency Management people together with cultural resource people was a great idea. I wouldn’t have guessed we’d be so lacking in knowledge about the other group and what they do. This meeting certainly helped bridge that knowledge gap.”
“Just bringing us all together. The conference was a great excuse to do what we should have been doing at home.”