With the recent bushfires and floods, thoughts of how to protect a collection in the face of natural disasters came to mind for many people and organisations. This is a particularly difficult issue for all collections, particularly those small collections held by volunteers in regional and remote areas.
A disaster preparedness plan is an essential part of the documentation and processes for any collection. . . but where to start?
Be Prepared – Guidelines for small museums for writing a disaster preparedness plan contains invaluable information for smaller institutions on assessing and planning for disasters such as training needs, assessment considerations, safety and damage checklists and templates based on established disaster management plans. It’s available for download as a pdf from CAN, and is a very popular and useful resource.
In response to the recent Victorian bushfires, the AICCM has produced some excellent guides that you can download from the AICCM website, covering how to recover and salvage objects which have been damaged by fire.
Museums Australia (Victoria) have set up a bushfire response area on their site for organisations affected by the bushfires who need support, and those able to provide support.
Museums Australia has been keeping people up to date with what’s going on in both Victoria and Queensland during this period in their e-Bulletin to members, and will announce a coordinated response shortly.
If you are looking for help, training and support to develop your own disaster preparedness plan, there are a few places you can try.
Museum and Gallery Services Queensland (M&GSQ) is running Collection Management and Preventive Conservation Skills Development Workshops in Longreach, Cunnamulla and Mt Isa this year. These two day workshops will include disaster planning as one of the main areas covered. Information and registration is available here.
For organisations in NSW, Museums and Galleries NSW (MGNSW) offers the Leg Ups Skill Development Grants, which could help you attend, or even host and run disaster preparedness training.
Wherever you are located, your State’s professional and service organisation are a good place to go for help.