A note about the MOCA fire in NYC from Michelle Novak

On Thursday night, a fire broke out on the roof of the historic, landmarked building which houses the archive for the Museum of the Chinese in America (MOCA). The building is owned by the City of New York, was recently renovated, and housed many cultural institutions and local non-profits. The fire raged for hours and when I visited the site about 24 hours later, the FDNY was still pouring water onto the collapsed top two floors of the building from two directions.

The horrific news this morning is that although the floors where the archives are stored was not touched by fire, the collection may be a complete loss. The building will not be accessible to MOCA staff for at least three weeks, and the museum president expects that water damage destroy the artifacts by then (source: NY Times article, below). (As a side note, I have experienced two flood situations in my businesses or residence and one fire in my building. Water damage is a slow-moving catastrophe and can receive far more damage than upper floors.)

I toured this collection less than a year ago and it is/was phenomenal. The collection contained one of a kind artifacts from life in NYC Chinatown, precious documents and papers bought by immigrants, ephemera from local businesses (including signs, some literally rescued from demolition sites or dumpsters as Chinatown changed), theater props and handmade costumes for religious and cultural events, family histories, photo collections, etc., etc. I had planned to write a “repository tour” article for a New Your genealogical magazine and took some photos. I wish I had taken more.

The situation is changing by the hour and, if anything from the archive can be salvaged, that museum has a long road ahead of them.

With the permission of MOCA, I started a google sheet for those who can offer advice, expertise, hands-on help, material donation, etc. They will have a long road ahead of them and will use this sheet to reach out to people, institutions, and resources as the recovery path becomes clearer. I have also included an options on the sheet for professional service referrals and other ways to share expertise. (Please let me know if I should add some other fields. This sheet is a work in progress.)
MOCA Archive Disaster Recovery Google Sheet

They also started a recovery fundraiser page. You can also make a donation to the museum directly.
MOCA Archives Fire Recovery Fundraiser

Direct contacts for recovery coordination are:
Lauren Nechamkin, Director of Education, 212.619.4785, lnechamkin@mocanyc.org
Nora Chen, nchen@mocanyc.org

85,000 Pieces in Beloved Chinatown Museum Likely Destroyed in Fire (New York Times, 25 January 2020)

I have posted some of my photos here:
Museum of Chinese in America Archives

Please help spread the word. Thank you.

Michelle Novak
Brand Designer, Trustee, + Masters of Information Student, Rutgers University

AFR Winter Webinar series- A note from Jessica Unger

2019 has been a busy year for networks throughout the AFR community. As the year comes to a close, we are excited to share a slate of webinar programming that we hope will be of use to you and your colleagues.

Starting next week, we will offer the following programs:

Beyond the Plan: Maintaining a Culture of Preparedness with Valerie Marlowe (12/18) Widening the Circle: Including Performing Arts Organizations in Disaster Networks with Tom Clareson (12/19) Spark Interest in Preparedness: Gaining Buy-in with Becky Fifield (12/20) Navigating Response Structure with Rebecca Elder (12/30)

Webinars will run from 2:00-3:00 pm EST. You can register for all programs by visiting http://learning.culturalheritage.org/responders

These programs will be run through FAIC’s new education platform—note that participants will need to create an account with AIC and FAIC in order to register. Any questions about setting up an account can be directed to membership@culturalheritage.org.

If you are not able to join for the live program you may still sign up, and you’ll automatically receive a recording of the webinar when it’s done.

We hope to see you and your network members on these programs, and we look forward to continuing to build out educational offerings for the AFR community in 2020 as well! As always, feel free to reach out with any questions.

Best wishes,

Jess Unger

Jessica Unger

Emergency Programs Coordinator

foundation for advancement in conservation Protecting Cultural Heritage


(t) 202.661.8069 | (f) 202.452.9328

727 15th St NW | Suite 500 | Washington, DC | 20005 culturalheritage.org | @conservators | Facebook

Georgia Heritage Responders Training Application Deadline Extended! Now December 6, 2019

This combination online and in-person training program is designed for cultural heritage professionals in Georgia who want to better prepare their institutions for disasters and join a network of trained experts in the state to help others. 

The Foundation for Advancement in Conservation (FAIC) received funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to train a regional cultural emergency response team in Georgia as part of their continued support of the national Alliance for Response program. The Heritage Emergency Response Alliance (HERA) and the Savannah Heritage Emergency Response (SHER) are pleased to partner with the FAIC to support this training which starts early 2020 with an online course component followed by an in-person scenario training session in Savannah on April 22 and 23, 2020.

Professionals with experience with natural, cultural and historical collections are encouraged to apply.  Please view https://faic.secure-platform.com/a/solicitations/login/1122 for access to the application portal. There is no cost for attending, but there is a selection process and attendance is limited.  Participants traveling from outside of Savannah are eligible for a travel stipend of up to $400.

Application Deadline Extended! Now December 6, 2019

Questions about the training may be directed to Jessica Unger, junger@culturalheritage.org

Fall Meeting – Thursday November 7

Reminder- Join us for the Fall HERA meeting! 2-4 PM

Please RSVP with this Google form and let us know you’re coming! https://docs.google.com/forms/d/11Xo22uOU_cQUcT1Aq-ZZ-7gg5FYM2lQ9TBcSZUkLMvw/viewform?ts=5daf2e61&edit_requested=true

HERA Steering Committee Meeting

Manuel’s Tavern, https://www.manuelstavern.com/ Thursday Nov 7, 2019 @ 2:00 pm


1.       Approve minutes from last meeting, 02/07/2019

2.       Committee Updates

a)            Membership

b)            Communications

c)            Education

d)            Update from the State

3.       Old Business – expand marketing efforts to increase membership (divide up tasks below)

a)            Hurricane Dorian Debrief

b)            Outreach Project: Survey members on State and regional organizations they participate in/planning to attend for the remainder of the year.

c)            Update FAIC NEH grant for disaster training in Savannah.

d)            Update on the GaNCH Project (state-wide cultural heritage database) LYRASIS grant funding awarded to Atlanta University Center.

4.       New Business

a)            Next HERA meeting

24-Hour Emergency Response Assistance for Collecting Institutions

Announcement from the Foundation for Advancement in Conservation (FAIC) about 24-hour emergency response assistance. Please share with colleagues in south Georgia. (Apologies for cross-posting.)


August 28, 2019

Contact: Eryl Wentworth, Executive Director
Phone: 202.661.8060
Email: ewentworth@culturalheritage.org

Collecting Institutions: Prepare for Impact from Hurricane Dorian

WASHINGTON, DC—Hurricane Dorian is currently bringing heavy winds and rain to the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. The storm is expected to strengthen in the coming days and will likely bring more extreme conditions to the mainland, with expected impacts in Florida and other parts of the southeast US over the Labor Day weekend.

The Foundation for Advancement in Conservation (FAIC) offers free emergency response assistance to cultural organizations impacted by the event. Please help ensure that staff members of collecting institutions are aware of these resources:

• Information on disaster recovery and salvage for impacted collections can be found online at http://www.culturalheritage.org/resources/emergencies.

• The National Heritage Responders, a team of trained volunteer conservators and collections care professionals, are available to provide advice on the phone via a free 24-hour hotline at 202.661.8068.

• National Heritage Responders are also available to conduct pro bono on-site assessments and provide guidance on salvage. Call the hotline (202.661.8068) to request assistance.
Collecting institutions are encouraged to do all that they can to stabilize collections before the storm hits, while also making sure that response contact lists and resources are ready to use, should the institution be affected.


The Foundation for Advancement in Conservation’s (FAIC) mission is to save cultural heritage for future generations, protecting it from decay and destruction. We advance research and education, lead treatment and collection care initiatives, and deploy conservation expertise to where it is most urgently needed. Our work empowers conservation professionals, strengthens cultural institutions, and engages stakeholders, including public audiences, as we work together to protect cultural heritage for humanity.

AUC Woodruff Library Awarded Grant to Improve Disaster Preparedness for Ga.’s Natural, Cultural, Historical Organizations

ATLANTA (July 18, 2019) — The Atlanta University Center Robert W. Woodruff Library was awarded a one-year grant totaling $16,190 from the LYRASIS Catalyst Fund to support its project “Using Linked Open Data for Georgia’s Natural, Cultural and Historic Organizations’ Disaster Response.” The Library is one of only five institutions to receive this award in 2019 for the purpose of fostering innovation leading to new services and programs among members and knowledge communities worldwide.

The grant begins this month and will be used to create a publicly editable directory of Georgia’s Natural, Cultural and Historical Organizations (NCHs), allowing for quick retrieval of location and contact information for disaster response.

This centralized website will provide first responders with an easy-to-use interface to search by city or county for cultural heritage organizations in affected areas. The Library will also create datasets and document workflows, in an effort to allow other states to reuse and adapt the project’s processes.

Directory information will be compiled, updated, and uploaded with geolocation information to Wikidata, the linked open database from the Wikimedia Foundation. The information will then be delivered via a website that will display embedded subsets of the directory, allowing emergency responders to quickly search for NCHs in disaster areas. 

Partners on this project include Georgia Historical Records Advisory Council (GHRAC), Georgia Emergency Management & Homeland Security Agency (GEMA/HS), Georgia HomePLACE (A project of the Georgia Public Library Service), Heritage Emergency Response Alliance (HERA), Georgia Library Learning Online), and GAMG (Georgia Association of Museums and Galleries), with additional partner organizations to join in the future.

The website will launch in June 2020. Click here for more information on the LYRASIS Catalyst Fund.

About the Atlanta University Center Robert W. Woodruff Library

The Atlanta University Center Robert W. Woodruff Library serves the nation’s largest consortium of historically black colleges and universities, which includes Clark Atlanta University, the Interdenominational Theological Center, Morehouse College and Spelman College. As the intellectual center of this prestigious academic community, the Library’s mission is to provide the highest level of information resources and services in support of student and faculty success and the cultural preservation of the Atlanta University Center. In addition to the aesthetic benefits of this state-of-the-art facility, the Library has evolved into a model repository of information resources and a front-runner in the innovative delivery of digital resources. The AUC Woodruff Library is the winner of the 2016 Excellence in Academic Libraries Award in the university category from the Association of Collegiate and Research Libraries (ACRL). Library CEO Loretta Parham was named the ACRL 2017 Academic/Research Librarian of the Year. Additional information about the AUC Woodruff Library is available at www.auctr.edu.


LYRASIS (www.lyrasis.org), a technology and services membership 501(c)(3) non-profit supporting enduring access to our shared academic, scientific and cultural heritage through leadership in open technologies, content services, digital solutions and collaboration with archives, libraries, museums and knowledge communities worldwide. With 1,700+ institutions supporting LYRASIS’s 10 Community Supported Programs and another 200 institutions that use its hosting and migration services, members enjoy the economies of scale and the shared benefit coming from the effect of networks.

HERA’s 2019 program available on YouTube

From HERA Atlanta’s YouTube channel

On May 8, 2019, HERA members gathered at the Michael C. Carlos Museum on the Emory campus to listen and learn about “The (im)Perfect Storm: Flooding in the Storage Areas of the Michael C. Carlos Museum”, presented by staff of the Michael C. Carlos Museum, Emory University. View the video of the event above!

Free Preparedness Webinar Coming Soon

Georgia’s Weather: A Year in Review, and What to Expect This Hurricane Season


Thursday, June 27, 2019

2:00 pm, Eastern Daylight Time (New York, GMT-04:00)


Over the past 12 months, Georgia has experienced a major tornado outbreak, multiple months of flooding rainfall, a Super Bowl snow scare, and one of the worst hurricanes ever to impact the United States. How well were these events forecast? What’s the historical significance of each? What can we expect this hurricane season? And most importantly, what can we do to prepare for when these significant weather events happen again in Georgia?

Will Lanxton has served as the Meteorologist, Hurricane Planner, and Hurricane Program Manager for the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency since May 2014. He previously worked for WSB-TV and interned at the National Weather Service. Will is an Atlanta native and graduated from Georgia Tech in 2013 with a degree in Earth & Atmospheric Sciences.

This webinar is co-sponsored by Georgia HomePLACE, part of the Georgia Public Library Service, and the Heritage Emergency Response Alliance of Atlanta.

Folder for slides/handouts: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1u4_fDh5dN6InQJdUlCZ8w0MxtQAquUl8