On November 13th, I gave a presentation on disaster preparedness at the Association of Registrars and Collection Specialists (ARCS) conference in New Orleans. The audience included nearly 700 museum registrars, collection managers, conservators, consultants, appraisers, and art shippers.
Building on the Center's decade long experiences in coping with disparate events such as the LaSalle Bank fire in 2004, Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the Floods in Iowa in 2008, the Floods in Nashville in 2010, Hurricane Sandy in 2012, and the ice storms of 2014 for example -- I spoke of the critical importance of creating a preparedness plan for internal protocols and fundamentals. We have learned that adaptability, established protocols, teamwork, and problem solving skills are pivotal to the outcome.
The best recovery situations I have witnessed have involved extraordinary individuals making innovative decisions and operating outside the traditional modes of thinking. It is a matter of being creative when trying to salvage a challenging situation under serious conditions. No two situations are alike, and foresight when making early decisions is integral to producing optimal long-term results. In a world of increased challenges posed by everything from the weather to human actions, preparedness is something that not only museums but all collectors should think about.
During my talk I reviewed lessons learned from seven significant national cases The Center assisted with over the last 10 years. If you are interested in learning more about this topic, please let us know.