Disaster Response & Recovery

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.

AIC-CERT

AIC-CERT  (The American Institute for Conservation - Collections Emergency Response Team) responds to the needs of cultural institutions during emergencies and disasters through coordinated efforts with first responders, state agencies, vendors and the public. For 24-hour assistance from trained volunteers, call (202) 661-8068.

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Cultural Recovery Center

The Cultural Recovery Center (CRC) in Brooklyn, NY was managed by the Foundation of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (FAIC). The CRC was in operation from December 10, 2012 through March 8, 2013. The CRC offered space and help to owners of artworks damaged as a result of Superstorm Sandy. Volunteer assistance and work space was available for museums, libraries, archives, historic sites, galleries, collectors, and artists in need. The goal was not to provide free conservation treatment, but to provide guidance and assistance in the cleaning and stabilization of art and cultural materials.

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Other Disaster Response Information


AIC is a partner in the Heritage Emergency National Task Force (HENTF). HENTF offers tools and information to cultural institutions and the general public for preparing for and responding to emergencies that affect collections and family treasures.

Other Organizations and Resources

IICAH


AIC continues to support the goals of the Iraqi Institute for the Conservation of Antiquities and Heritage in Erbil, Iraq to rebuild Iraq’s cultural heritage and professional capacity. The Institute was initiated through a grant from the US Embassy in Baghdad in 2008 as part of the larger Iraqi Cultural Heritage Project. The Institute  graduated its first classes of six conservation students and nine historic preservation students. The second courses for Conservation and Historic Preservation began in July and August 2010, respectively and finished in December 2010.

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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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