AIC's disaster response and recovery efforts encompass facilitating the American Institute for Conservation - Collections Emergency Response Team (AIC-CERT) training; working through FAIC with the Smithsonian Institution and the U.S. Committee of the Blue Shield to help recover cultural and historic artifacts damaged by the 2010 earthquakes in Haiti; assisting in the Northeast after Hurricane Sandy in late 2012; assembling guides and information; as well as partnering with other organizations and their disaster response and recovery efforts.
America's Treasures at Risk
Disasters can strike anywhere at anytime, and can pose threats to public health and safety, to infrastructure, and to American’s cultural heritage. From hurricanes and earthquakes to fires and leaking sprinkler systems, collecting institutions need to have disaster plans in place, with staff trained and ready to implement them. Unfortunately, this is too-often not the case. The Heritage Health Index, conducted by Heritage Preservation and the Institute for Museum and Library Services in 2005, found that 80% of collecting institutions in the U.S. did not have an emergency plan that included collections, with staff trained to carry it out. Even with a plan in place, museums, libraries, and archives can easily be overwhelmed by a catastrophic event, especially a regional disaster that also affects the personal lives of staff, their families, and the community at large. AIC-CERT can provide volunteer expertise for advice, coordination of salvage efforts, assessments, and referrals for a broad range of cultural materials.
Presidential Disaster Declarations in the United States and Territories by county from 1965–2003 reflect the broad geographic distribution and human impacts of earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, landslides, tsunamis, volcanoes, and wildfires. (Map not to Scale. Source: FEMA) Image source: U.S. Geological survey
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