During what has been one of the worst hurricane seasons on record, FAIC’s Emergency Programs have been working fervently to connect people to planning and response resources. Through collaboration with our partners on the Heritage Emergency National Task Force, (HENTF) we have been working to gather information about affected institutions and provide support as needed.
In Florida, following Irma, National Heritage Responders visited several affected sites to help assess damage and set up cleaning protocols. Museums from Orlando to Miami received in-person assistance, and many more throughout the region were given advice via the NHR hotline (202.661.8068) and email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
A new outreach project has been developed in collaboration with HENTF in order to make contact with all collecting institutions that may have been affected by recent storms. FAIC worked with partners in Texas and Florida to develop lists of regional institutions. Students at the University of Texas’s iSchool created tools to conduct a calling project with the Texas sites; the model has been adopted by students at the University of Florida who are in the process now of reaching out to Florida sites. The primary goal of this outreach effort is to connect those who suffered damage with the National Heritage Responders if salvage information is needed, and with FEMA if information on the Public Assistance process is needed.
Response to Hurricane Maria in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico has been slow-going but progress is being made. The level of damage in the region has meant that life and safety issues have remained the priority far into the recovery process. FAIC is started to gather information about the institutions in need, and is once again closely collaborating with HENTF and our Federal partners to ensure an effective response. We will notify members about opportunities to support these efforts.
Finally, we recognize that hurricanes are not the only natural disasters wreaking havoc on our shared cultural heritage. The wildfires in Northern California have brought devastation to the region, and can impact not only those in the path of the flames, but those who may suffer from smoke and soot damage. FAIC is working closely with California partners to assess the situation, and the National Heritage Responders are developing lists of resources on smoke and soot damage to help with the recovery process.
The natural disasters that our nation has faced in the past several weeks serve as a reminder of the importance of preparedness – in our institutions, in our private practices, and in our homes.