Responding to a Disaster

Chicago Tribune, “Conservation Lab Saving Art: Heather Becker Has Transformed a Small Business in Chicago into an Art Trauma Center”, March 24, 2010 (PDF).

Responding to disaster and emergency situations is one of the most challenging services The Center offers. It is also the most critical. Organization, timely response, and the right resources are crucial to a successful outcome. Taking control of a disaster starts long before it happens. Maintaining a comprehensive inventory consisting of descriptions, photographs, dimensions, and locations of all works in the collection, including items of sentiment or high value, is an essential component to a successful disaster recovery. Copies of the inventory should be kept on the premises as well as in a safe offsite location. In addition to a current inventory, having an easily accessible emergency response contact list can help expedite the recovery process. The Center serves as a resource for insurance companies, institutions, museums, and private clients nationwide. Along with our conservators, we have a trained team with experience in responding to a variety of emergency situations, on call 24 hours a day.

In December of 2009, a fire broke out in a high-rise building in downtown Chicago. Within hours, our team was onsite within hours to respond to the situation, evacuate and assess multiple collections, and triage critical pieces of art. This quick response aided in the successful recovery and treatment of these collections.

To learn more about our creating a plan, resources and our services, please visit the Disaster Response page of our website.