Art preservation and natural disasters, a letter to the NYTimes editor

In response to the recent New York Times article by Paul Sullivan, Protecting Andy Warhol From Flood, Fire and Quake, published online September 15, 2017, the AIC board of directors (through Treasurer Sarah Barack) has submitted a letter to the editor of the Times. The letter is printed in full below.


To the Editor,

The recent article, Protecting Andy Warhol from Flood, Fire and Quake, was commendable in that it brought to the forefront the need to protect art collections when disasters are looming. As the professional association for art conservators in North America, the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (AIC) has long been concerned with mitigating such damage, and aiding those museums, institutions and collectors whose collections have thus been impacted. AIC has resources available on its website ( for the general public, and also provides a Find a Conservator digital database, which allows any individual looking for professional conservation advice to be matched with an appropriate, professional conservator. Further, AIC is able to activate a nation-wide network of conservators trained to respond to emergencies following such events. 

As we all know, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure— however this benefit requires proper prevention which can be provided by trained art conservators. Should these measures prove insufficient, prompt conservation attention can help offset complete property loss.

Sarah Barack

Treasurer of the Board, 

American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works