Washington, D.C. – As participants in Heritage Preservation’s pilot Risk Evaluation and Planning Program, museums in Mississippi, Ohio, and Texas will be conducting risk evaluations and developing emergency plans with the assistance of a team of experts during the coming months. Fifteen institutions that represent the diversity of museums in terms of size, location, and collections have been selected to participate in the program.
A complete list of participants is at the end of this release and posted at www.heritagepreservation.org. The museums care for objects representing the history of archaeology, art, flight, printing, and their local communities.
In 2005, the Heritage Health Index, a survey of conditions of collections at museums and libraries nationwide, revealed that 80 percent of collecting institutions do not have an emergency plan that includes collections, with staff trained to carry it out. Recent tornadoes and floods demonstrate the importance of an ongoing commitment to preparing for emergencies. By identifying incentives to help institutions with valuable collections but limited resources plan for emergencies, the Risk Evaluation and Planning Program aims to increase the number of cultural institutions that are prepared to deal with disaster.
"Being prepared for emergencies large and small is essential for responsibly caring for collections held in the public trust," said Lawrence Reger, President of Heritage Preservation. "I congratulate these institutions on their participation in the Risk Evaluation and Planning Program and would like to thank all of the applicants for their commitment to emergency preparedness."
Modeled after Heritage Preservation’s long-standing and successful Conservation Assessment Program, the Risk Evaluation and Planning Program supports an on-site visit by two professionals-one in preservation and one in local emergency response-to evaluate risks, suggest ways to mitigate hazards, and provide guidance to institution staff in developing an emergency plan. The Risk Evaluation and Planning Program is supported by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, a federal agency.
The inclusion of local emergency professionals in the site visit represents a significant new approach for cultural institutions when preparing for an emergency. Before disaster strikes, it is important to establish relationships with firefighters and others who will respond to the institution in a crisis.
The Risk Evaluation and Planning Program is a project of Heritage Preservation in support of the Heritage Emergency National Task Force, a partnership of 41 national service organizations and federal agencies created to protect cultural heritage from the damaging effects of natural disasters and other emergencies. The Task Force is the co-sponsored by Heritage Preservation and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
For more than 30 years, Heritage Preservation (www.heritagepreservation.org) has been the national, nonprofit advocate for the proper care of all cultural heritage-in museums, libraries, homes, and town squares. Heritage Preservation works to save the objects and sites that embody our history, partnering with conservators, institutions, civic groups, and concerned individuals across the nation who care about preserving our past.
The Institute of Museum and Library Services (www.imls.gov) is an independent federal grant-making agency dedicated to creating and sustaining a nation of learners by helping libraries and museums serve their communities. The Institute fosters leadership, innovation, and a lifetime of learning by supporting the 15,000 museums and 122,000 libraries in America.
Delta State University Archive and Museum, Cleveland
Lauren Rogers Museum of Art, Laurel
Mississippi Museum of Art, Jackson
Oren Dunn City Museum, Tupelo
Tishomingo County Archive and Museum, Iuka
Clark County Historical Society, Springfield
International Women’s Air and Space Museum, Cleveland
Kennedy Museum of Art (Ohio University), Athens
Strongsville Historical Society, Strongsville
William Holmes McGuffey Museum (Miami University), Oxford
Amarillo Museum of Art, Amarillo
El Paso Museum of Archaeology, El Paso
Museum of the Big Bend, Alpine
Museum of Printing History, Houston
Varner-Hogg Plantation State Historic Site (Texas Historical Commission), West Columbia