Forming Disaster Networks to Be Topic of Conference Session

As emergency planning systems have grown more sophisticated, museums, libraries, and historic sites are challenged to develop effective responses to large disasters. A session at the 2014 Annual Meeting of the American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) will discuss the importance of forming networks for response and training, provide tips for starting new networks, and offer suggestions for fostering relationships with emergency management personnel.

The panel session will feature presenters Dyani Feige of the Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts (CCAHA), who will moderate the session and discuss the Pennsylvania Cultural Resilience Network (PaCRN); LeRae Umfleet, Office of Archives and History, North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, who will talk about North Carolina’s Cultural Resources Emergency Support Team (CREST); Pat Young, Disaster Research Center, University of Delaware, and current chair of the Delaware Disaster Assistance Team (DDAT), who will discuss DDAT’s formation and structure as well as lessons learned along its six-year history; and Kathy Craughwell-Varda, Project Director of Conservation ConneCTion, Connecticut State Library, who will discuss their accomplishments, which include increasing awareness of the need for all cultural heritage institutions to be disaster ready and laying the foundation for mutual aid.

Some of the panelists participated in the Philadelphia State Heritage Emergency Partnership forum in 2013. The AASLH Annual Meeting will be held September 17–20, 2014, in St. Paul, Minnesota. Early bird registration for the meeting ends July 25.

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Pennsylvania Moves Forward

The Conservation Center for Art & Historic Artifacts (CCAHA), which was represented at the Philadelphia forum, has been awarded $189,000 by the Institute of Museum and Library Services to lead the Pennsylvania Cultural Resilience Network (PACRN), a two-year project to develop, coordinate, and consolidate statewide efforts to address disaster preparedness and response needs at museums and historic sites through new programs and resources. Components of the PACRN initiative include: emergency planning, response, and recovery training for museums and historic sites; the establishment of a trained response team to provide triage assistance when emergencies occur; expanded online emergency resources; and the development of an Annex concerning protocols at collecting institutions to be added to the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency’s statewide response and recovery plans. Click here for more information.

Another cool Pennsylvania initiative is Pennsylvania’s Top Ten Endangered Artifacts. This campaign highlights the cultural significance of our nation’s valuable and vulnerable heritage held in trust in Pennsylvania’s museums, libraries, archives, and historic sites. Check out the Top Ten here and vote for your favorite artifact (and even consider a financial contribution). Anyone can vote, whether or not you’re a Pennsylvanian.