National Heritage Responders

Is an emergency (such as a natural or man-made disaster) affecting your institution? Call our response team 24/7 at
202-661-8068.  

Learn more

Need help from a conservator? Call 202-452-9545 or use our Find a Conservator tool.

NHR Responses

Superstorm Sandy

NHR had volunteer conservators helping in New York, providing assistance and advice to those affected by Hurricane Sandy. On Nov. 4, 2012, MoMA and NHR hosted an informational seminar for artists and art owners. Sotheby's generously donated a Leadership Gift in support of NHR's activities, which allowed conservators to reach out further to arts communities.

Flooding in North Dakota

Watch video of flooding in Minot, ND

NHR had "boots on the ground" Friday, August 5, 2011 to assist the Ward County Historical Society in Minot, North Dakota. The call for volunteers went out on Tuesday afternoon.  By Thursday, we had an Incident Action Plan, a three-person team, and airline tickets, car rental, and hotel rooms booked. This is a real testament to the dedication of the team volunteers and to the maturing nature of the NHR.

Many thanks to Jon Brandon, Hitoshi Kimura, and Sarah Stokely (all AIC as well as NHR members) for being able to drop their professional and personal responsibilities, and to the many others who also volunteered.  Corine Wegener is serving as the "internet hub" for any research and communications needs they might have.  We'll see how this first visit goes before determining if additional assistance is needed.  Beth Antoine, the NHR Coordinator, really stepped up to pull all the strands together so quickly to make this actually happen.

We also want to acknowledge Heritage Preservation for supplying some wheels and guides, and to Artifex Equipment for donating some Zorbix samples for use.

Hurricane Ike

Within a few days after the storm, a local team member was able to make several trips to Galveston, perform assessments and make initial recommendations. Working on his recommendations, two further NHR teams were deployed. Those teams offered assessments, recommendations, hands-on recovery and a training clinic for materials salvage. The institutions served included the Ashton Villa, the1861 Custom House, the Rosenberg Library, the Moody Mansion, the Galveston Historical FoundationThe University of Texas Medical Branch, and the Lone Star Flight Museum.

Haiti Earthquake

FAIC joined the Smithsonian Institution and the U.S. Committee of the Blue Shield (USCBS) to help recover cultural and historic artifacts damaged by the January 12, 2010 earthquakes in Haiti.

In early May, 2010, two NHR members joined Corine Wegener, President of USCBS, and engineers from the Smithsonian Institution to assess collections and to evaluate a building in Port-au-Prince for use as a conservation center. Paintings conservator Susan Blakney of West Lake Conservators in Skaneateles, New York, and paper conservator Vicki Lee of the Maryland State Archives were able to view and assess conservation needs at a number of museums, galleries, and historic sites. Based on their findings, the Smithsonian entered into a lease on the building to create the Haiti Cultural Recovery Center. The Center was operated by the Smithsonian Institution in cooperation with the Government of Haiti. Stephanie Hornbeck served as the Chief Conservator for the Center. FAIC helped supply volunteer conservators to provide assessments, advice, stabilization, and storage solutions for works in peril.

Read the report by Cori Wegener, President of USCBS, regarding her visit to Haiti in March 2010.


NHR volunteer Hitoshi Kimura working on the FIRST
painting at the Haiti Cultural Recovery Center

On June 7, Vicki Lee returned to Haiti, along with paintings conservator Hitoshi Kimura of Art Conservation of Central Florida. The two assisted in setting up conservation labs at the Haiti Cultural Recovery Center and began work on paintings and works on paper. The Smithsonian Institution also sent AIC members Hugh Shockey and Stephanie Hornbeck.

 Over the next 18 months, FAIC sent 31 conservators on 35 trips, totaling over 430 days, along with over $34,000 in supplies and materials.  Volunteers worked on iconic pieces, cleaned dust and mold from thousands of items in collections, and helped train Haitian specialists to continue the work.

AIC thanks the many NHR members and AIC conservators who volunteered at the Haiti Cultural Recovery Center:

  • Dennis Baltuskonis, conservator in private practice, San Antonio, TX
  • Susan S. Blakney, conservator in private practice, Skaneateles, NY
  • Viviana Dominguez, conservator in private practice, Los Angeles, CA
  • Nicholas Dorman, Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, WA
  • David Goist, conservator in private practice, Raleigh, NC
  • Paul Jett, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC
  • Sian Jones, conservator in private practice, Baltimore, MD
  • Hitoshi Kimura, conservator in private practice, Tampa, FL
  • Vicki Lee, Maryland State Archives, Annapolis, MD (two deployments)
  • Rosa Lowinger, conservator in private practice, Los Angeles, CA
  • Elizabeth Mehlin, conservator in private practice, Essex, MA
  • Jane Norman, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC
  • Anne O'Connor, conservator in private practice, Mill River, MA
  • Karen Pavelka, University of Texas, Austin, TX
  • Beverly Perkins, Buffalo Bill Historical Center, Cody, WY
  • Mariet-Chantal Poisson, conservator in private practice, Sherbrooke, QC
  • Veronica Romero, Rustin Levenson Conservation, Miami, FL
  • Sylvia Schweri, conservator in private practice, Los Angeles, CA
  • Dawne Steele Pullman, conservator in private practice, Honolulu, HI
  • Karen Zukor, conservator in private practice, Oakland, CA

AIC members worked closely with USCBS, Smithsonian employees, the Haitian Ministry of Culture, and other international teams. Richard Kurin, Under Secretary for History, Art and Culture at the Smithsonian noted that, “the highest priority of the Haitian government and international humanitarian communities has rightly been to save lives and provide food, water, medical care and shelter. However, Haiti’s rich culture, which goes back five centuries, is also in danger and we have the expertise to help preserve that heritage.” Eryl Wentworth, Executive Director of AIC and FAIC, added, “As the national association of conservation professionals in the United States, our members have sought ways to assist their colleagues in the Caribbean, and have responded generously with their time and talents in support of preserving Haiti’s cultural heritage. We are grateful to our funding and project partners for sharing our determination to make sure Haiti’s vibrant arts, culture, and history is preserved for the future.”

The NHR response was made possible through the support of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and the FAIC. In addition to travel costs for the NHR volunteers, grant support has enabled the purchase of nearly $8,000 in supplies and tools so far. FAIC also thanks Talas of Brooklyn, New York, for its support.

On June 7, Vicki Lee returned to Haiti, along with paintings conservator Hitoshi Kimura of Art Conservation of Central Florida. The two assisted in setting up conservation labs at the Haiti Cultural Recovery Center and began work on paintings and works on paper. The Smithsonian Institution also sent AIC members Hugh Shockey and Stephanie Hornbeck.

 Over the next 18 months, FAIC sent 31 conservators on 35 trips, totaling over 430 days, along with over $34,000 in supplies and materials.  Volunteers worked on iconic pieces, cleaned dust and mold from thousands of items in collections, and helped train Haitian specialists to continue the work.
On June 7, Vicki Lee returned to Haiti, along with paintings conservator Hitoshi Kimura of Art Conservation of Central Florida. The two assisted in setting up conservation labs at the Haiti Cultural Recovery Center and began work on paintings and works on paper. The Smithsonian Institution also sent AIC members Hugh Shockey and Stephanie Hornbeck.

 Over the next 18 months, FAIC sent 31 conservators on 35 trips, totaling over 430 days, along with over $34,000 in supplies and materials.  Volunteers worked on iconic pieces, cleaned dust and mold from thousands of items in collections, and helped train Haitian specialists to continue the work.


Please Help Us be Ready in the Future!

Disasters can strike virtually anywhere and at any time.  Please help FAIC be ready for the next threat to cultural heritage by making a donation today.