The Conservation Center’s Disaster Response team provides expert rescue services nationwide. We have extensive experience assisting with fires, floods, and natural disasters.


The Conservation Center has always been an industry leader in rescuing art, heirlooms, and antiques after disastrous situations such as water, mold, or fire.With over 30 years of experience caring for individual, private, and public collections, The Center is the first call for those in need of immediate response to art emergencies.

The Conservation Center’s 24-hour response team was on the ground after some of the most devastating disasters in recent history—saving thousands of priceless art and objects in the process. Some of these events include:

Hurricane Sandy, New York, NY (2012):  The Center's onsite crews in New York City carefully removed and triaged over 2,000 works of art in order to mitigate additional damage to businesses and homeowners. Artworks from galleries in the Chelsea neighborhood were transported back to Chicago for care. Click here to read press coverage.

Tennessee Floods, Nashville, TN (2010): Triaged, inventoried, and treated 100 items damaged by flood waters at the Grand Ole Opry Museum. Range of items includes furniture, collectibles, country music memorabilia, and the Opry's backdrop. Click here to read press coverage.

Flooding of the Cedar River, various locations, IA (2008): responded to widespread flood damage caused across Iowa during the summer of 2008, recovering over 7,000 items from museums, universities, institutions, and private collections. Click here to read press coverage.

California Wildfires, Rancho Santa Fe, CA (2007): Responded to the damage of private art collections at residences affected by wildfires in Southern California, treating approximately 200 items onsite.

Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans, LA (2005): recovered over 5,000 items from art museums, universities, institutions, and private collections; staff conservators worked on-site for 3 months following the disaster to treat pieces damaged by the storm. Click here to read press coverage.

LaSalle Bank fire, Chicago, IL (2004): recovered over 1,000 items from a major fire in a historic bank building in downtown Chicago. Fire loss involved a large and significant corporate photography collection. Click here to read press coverage.

Please refer to The Conservation Center’s Claims Department, which includes information about reporting a loss, strategies to determine what should be considered for conservation, information about transporting items to The Center for examination, and details about the process and treatment proposals.

Stories related to disaster response:

corporate collections and the conservation center: saving lasalle bank's photography collection

When The Conservation Center was called in to rescue and preserve LaSalle Bank’s extensive photography collection following a fire, the benefits of precautionary steps were obvious. Though a few photographs too close to the core of the fire were irreversibly charred, the majority of the collection was repairable in part due to the professional matting and framing. Without proper housing, those photographs which had escaped the fire itself might have been water damaged by fire hoses, or marred by soot and smoke.

responding to a disaster

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.

iowa flood of 2008: saving the national czech and slovak museum and library's collection

As a consequence of the massive flooding of the Cedar and Iowa rivers that occurred in Iowa in June 2008, The National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library in Cedar Rapids was surrounded by 15 feet of water, well above any historical level. As soon as the water started to recede and the building was safe to enter, The Conservation Center sent a five person disaster response team to assess and recover the textile collection that was located on the first floor of the museum and thus totally immersed during the flood. This portion of the textile collection encompassed approximately 1,000 traditional Czech and Slovak costumes and garments, many with detailed colored embroidery, glass beading and metallic thread decorations.