Fire, flooding, earthquakes, and civil disturbances are among various catastrophes that potentially can strike museums and other collecting institutions. Since preparing for such emergencies--and responding effectively if they occur--is a critical component of collections care, the Getty Conservation Institute (GCI) held an international meeting on disaster preparedness in 1985 which led to the creation of an interdisciplinary steering committee and a number of initiatives intended to assist in the protection of cultural property from disasters.
In 1992 the GCI collaborated with the J. Paul Getty Museum to offer a joint workshop on emergency planning for collecting institutions. The workshop was designed to provide instruction and guidance to museum directors and senior staff on how to prepare for and respond to an emergency. Topics included the importance of an emergency plan within a museum's collection management policy, the principles of emergency planning, decision-making in emergencies, and preparing and implementing an emergency drill.
The GCI maintains its commitment to disaster preparedness through its participation in the National Task Force on Emergency Response, an initiative of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Heritage Preservation, and the GCI.
Related articles in Conservation, the GCI Newsletter