Monday, March 22, 2010

Disaster Proofing Heritage Collections

The Australian Library and Information Association is hosting a symposium on "Disaster Proofing Heritage Collections" (registration) with Blue Shield Australia & DISACT, 6 May 2010 at the National Library of Australia, in Canberra.

Recently the International Council on Archives passed on a request to the international community for assistance in preserving the cultural heritage of Haiti. In addition to physical work to shore up buildings damaged in the recent earthquake and to remove cultural materials to safety the Statement of Requirements identified the need for IT staff and equipment to assist in digitising and recording cultural materials. When visiting Samoa to teach information technology for Museum staff, I heard of instances where artefacts were removed to "safety" because of a disaster, but were never seen again. As there were no good records, it was not possible to know what was missing or if it was stolen, or mislaid in a warehouse somewhere. Thus the need for records.
Developing updated guidelines for environmental conditions in collecting institutions
Julian Bickersteth
Guidelines for environmental conditions in collecting institutions have for the past 40 years or so been defined within fairly narrow parameters. ...
AICCM has established a Taskforce to develop guidelines for Australian conditions based on current international standards, which are changing as a result of these pressures. Julian Bickersteth is the chair of the Taskforce and will be detailing the progress that has been made to date on developing these guidelines ....

AICCM Victorian Division’s Response to the Victorian Bushfires of 2009: After Disaster Struck.
Alexandra Ellem
This paper presents key aspects of AICCM’s response to communities affected by the 2009 Victorian bushfires and the unique role conservation can play regarding disaster response and cultural heritage. ...

Centre for the National Museum of Australia Collections: a proposal for sustainable collections storage and management.
Greer Gehrt and Eric Archer
The National Museum of Australia (NMA) recently completed a functional design brief for the design and development of new storage and collection management facilities for the National Historical Collection.
As part of this process, the NMA has undertaken extensive studies into the use of passive building technologies. ...

Alert But Not Alarmed: A decade of the Disasters ACT Network.
Bernard Kertesz
DISACT (the DISasters ACT network) is a network of disaster preparedness practitioners operating in south-eastern New South Wales and centred in the Australian Capital Territory. Although largely driven, resourced and enabled by the major Commonwealth cultural collecting institutions, the network participants represent more than 25 Commonwealth, ACT Government and private sector organisations. ...

Meeting and Reporting “Conservation Standards” for Environmental Conditions; The Government’s Key Performance Indicators Versus The Real World
Jennifer Lloyd
It is not unreasonable that the Commonwealth Government expects the custodianship of the nation’s heritage collections to be a responsible one. Maximising the life expectancy of these collections is a priority for all cultural collecting institutions. ...

Blue Shield Australia - Building Disaster Resilience into the Australian and Asia-Pacific Heritage Sectors
Detlev Lueth
The Blue Shield is the cultural equivalent of the Red Cross. The distinctive emblem was specified by the UNESCO’s 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict. It is also the name of the International Committee of Blue Shield (ICBS), set up in 1996 to advise UNESCO on the protection of the world's cultural heritage threatened by wars and natural
disasters. With the permission of the ICBS in 2005 Blue Shield Australia was established. BSA’s vision is to influence disaster preparedness and emergency management in Australia in order to ensure the
preservation of cultural heritage within Australia’s areas of responsibility and influence. ...

Not If But When! Some Observations on Collection Disaster Preparedness Around Australia.
Kim Morris
Disaster planning for collections has been a feature of cultural activity in collecting institutions in Australia since 1985 when the National Library suffered a serious and devastating fire. Major national and state institutions recognised the need to prepare for collection disasters and began developing
response and recovery plans. ...

AICCM and a National Response Network
Kay Söderlund
Spurred on by the year that saw the Victorian bush fires and the Queensland floods, AICCM has started work on a project to develop a National Response Network in order to more effectively help communities and museums that have been devastated by disasters. Kay Söderlund, National President of AICCM, will briefly outline the project and the plan for the coming year. ...

Planning for Floods in a Drought: Cooperative Regional Responses to Disasters
Roger Trudgeon
The secret to good risk management is planning to deal with events that you would normally deem to be impossible. In the midst of the state’s worst drought in years, the Gold Museum, Ballarat was flooded on New Year’s Day in 2007. In the context of climate change and the increasing likelihood of extreme weather events it is essential to think ahead as to how we face such catastrophes. ...

From: Paper abstracts and biographies, Disaster Proofing Heritage Collections, Australian Library and Information Association, 2010

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