Free HERA Webinar May 3 @ 2:00 PM

Picking Up the Pieces: Helping Puerto Rican Cultural Heritage Organizations After Hurricanes Irma and Maria

HERA Atlanta in cooperation with the Georgia Archives is pleased to announce a FREE upcoming educational program presented by HERA member, Ann Frellsen. Anne has been involved with the disaster recovery in Puerto Rico.  You won’t want to miss this interesting program.

Please see the attached flyer to register and for additional information on the program. We hope that you are able to join us!

HERA May 2018 program


Prepare for May Day

It’s time to think about May Day again!  Here is a free webinar to get us thinking about everything: Tara Kennedy, Preservation Services Librarian, Yale University Library, will be presenting a webinar: “Avoiding Ambulance Chasers: Working With Recovery Vendors“, April 24th from 2:00-3:30 EDT.

Here’s a link with some more information and you will need to register: Avoiding Ambulance Chasers

NHR Emergency CAPs

Jess Unger, Emergency Programs Coordinator, FAIC, has sent an update to make everyone aware of an opportunity that IMLS and FAIC have been able to make available to museums affected by recent disasters.  A brief synopsis is provided below. This information is also distributed on the HERAlistserv.  Please share this with your colleagues where applicable and you may contact Tiffani Emig with any questions: ( or 202-750-3346)

The Foundation of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works

 (FAIC) and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) announce the availability of Emergency Collections Assessment for Preservation support. Based on the existing Collections Assessment for Preservation (CAP) program, the Emergency CAP will help those collecting institutions in federally declared disaster areas receive post-disaster collections care recommendations from conservation and building professionals on an expedited basis.

Emergency CAPs follow the general guidelines of the Collections Assessment for Preservation program, with the following exceptions:

  • Only museums affected by recent federally-declared disasters are eligible.
  • Museums of any size are eligible for an Emergency CAP. Small and mid-sized museums will receive a general conservation assessment. Larger museums will receive a review of preservation/conservation plans for the structure and/or those parts of their collections which have been damaged by the emergency or disaster.
  • Assessor allocations for Emergency CAPs range from $3500-$4900 per assessor, based on institutional budget, need, and available funds.
  • Applications for Emergency CAPs are reviewed immediately upon receipt. Applicants are typically notified of their status within two weeks of application.
  • Program schedules and deadlines are determined by each institution and its team of assessors, subject to approval by FAIC. All program activities must occur within one year of notification of program acceptance.

Museums include, but are not limited to, aquariums, arboretums, art museums, botanical gardens, children’s/youth museums, general museums, historic houses/sites, history museums, natural history/anthropology museums, nature centers, planetariums, science/technology centers, and zoological parks.

Limited funding is available.

Eligible museums interested in receiving an Emergency CAP assessment should contact Tiffani Emig, CAP Program Coordinator, at 202-750-3346 or for additional information.


HENTF Preparedness tips for Tropical Storm Nate – Please share

We are sharing these tips from Lori Foley, Administrator for Heritage Emergency Task Force and we ask that you please share widely with colleagues and constituents.  Lori’s contact information is at the bottom of this post.

Please share the following information TODAY with your members and constituents, and ask them to pass it along:

 Tropical Storm Nate will move into the southern Gulf of Mexico Friday night and approach the northern Gulf coast Saturday evening. Strengthening is forecast during the next couple of days, and Nate is expected to become a hurricane by the time it reaches the northern Gulf of Mexico. Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 90 miles mainly to the east of the center. Look for rainfall amounts of 3 to 6 inches with maximum amounts of 12 inches over U.S. Central Gulf Coast states. (NOAA Update, October 6, 2017, 5:00 a.m. EDT)

Be Prepared!

As Nate approaches the northern Gulf of Mexico, it’s important that individuals and cultural institutions in these states prepare before the weekend:

  • Track the storm via the National Hurricane Center,
  • Gather your staff and review your disaster plan today. No disaster plan? Put that at the top of the to-do list once the storm passes (and hope you didn’t need it this time).
  • If you have a disaster plan, make sure everyone has a printed copy to take home. An electronic version may be useless if you lose power.
  • Make sure staff, volunteer, and board contact lists are up to date. Determine how you will communicate with one another before, during, and after the storm.
  • Make sure your insurance and disaster recovery vendor contact information is readily available.
  • If you don’t already have up-to-date images (photographic/video) of your facility’s exterior and interior, including storage areas, now’s the time to take them. Being able to illustrate how your building and collections looked before damage will be helpful if the need arises to pursue recovery financing.
  • Back up electronic records and store the back-ups off-site or in the cloud.
  • Secure outdoor furniture, bike racks, book drops, signage, etc. – anything that can become a projectile in strong winds.
  • Move collections that are in areas vulnerable to flooding (i.e., the floor, the basement) or susceptible to rain (near windows or under roofs) out of harm’s way.
  • If you have time, cut lengths of plastic sheeting to be able to throw them over shelves, cabinets, or equipment should the building envelope be compromised.
  • Know the location and shut-off procedures for water, electricity, and gas.
  • Review individual or family plans. You’ll feel better attending to your organization knowing that your loved ones are safe.
  • Download the FEMA mobile app for disaster resources, weather alerts, and safety tips. The app (available in English and Spanish) provides a customizable checklist of emergency supplies, maps of open shelters and recovery centers, disaster survival tips, and weather alerts from the National Weather Service. The app also enables users to receive push notifications reminding them to take important steps to prepare their homes and families for disasters.
  • Download the free ERS: Emergency Response and Salvage app, based on the Emergency Response and Salvage Wheel,
  • For tips on what to do before, during, and after a hurricane, go to
  • Keep this 24/7 hotline number handy: 202.661.8068. The National Heritage Responders, a team of trained conservators and collections care professionals administered by the Foundation of the American Institute for Conservation, are available 24/7 to provide advice.
  • Download FEMA’s “After the Flood: Advice for Salvaging Damaged Family Treasures” fact sheet, with tips and resources for individuals and institutions,
  • Familiarize yourself with the disaster declaration process in case one is declared for your state,
  • Heed advice from local officials and monitor the situation on your state’s emergency management agency website:

o   Louisiana’s Governor’s Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP):

o   Mississippi Emergency Management Agency:

o   Alabama Emergency Management Agency:

o   Florida Division of Emergency Management:

o   Georgia Emergency Management & Homeland Security Agency:

FEMA and the Smithsonian Institution co-sponsor the Heritage Emergency National Task Force, a partnership of 42 national service organizations and federal agencies created to protect cultural heritage from the damaging effects of natural disasters and other emergencies.

Thank you,
Lori Foley
Administrator, Heritage Emergency National Task Force
Office of Environmental Planning & Historic Preservation
Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration

M: 202.826.6303

SAA National Disaster Recovery Fund for Archives

The Foundation of the Society of American Archivists funds grants of up to $2000 and is available for archives affected by disasters.  The application is easy and the applying organization does not have to be a member.
Please share this widely within your networks for those who may benefit from this resource:

Disaster Recovery PDF Resources to Download

We wanted to share several resources in a blog post that could be used in disaster planning and recovery efforts.  Some of these PDFs may be large downloads and will not work well in a mobile situation:

  1. Field Guide Assessment Form: Field Guide_Assessment Form
  2. AIC CERT List of Salvage Priorities: AICCERTSalvage Priorities
  3. AIC CERT Damage Assessment Form: AICCERTDamage Assessment
  4. 2016 Endangered Heritage Interactive Report Emergency Evacuation of Heritage Collections: 2016Endangered-Heritage_INTERACTIVE



Hurricane Recovery Resources Reminder

We wanted to post this blog with a few links to some PDF resources for all to use.  As you gain situational awareness of your area and assess damages to your facilities, please don’t forget to remain aware of the existing resources available in your cultural heritage community.

Here are a few key points to share:

Salvage Priorities

Most vulnerable materials

  • Paper, books, some photographs
  • Parchment, vellum, semi-tanned or untanned leathers or  Ivory
  • Paintings
  • Textiles with fugitive dyes
  • Anything with water-soluble or friable colors
  • Finely constructed furniture, veneers, inlays
  • Anything lacquered or gilded
  • Low-fired ceramics
  • Iron or unstable archeological metals
  • Anything with mold growth

The Least Vulnerable Materials

  • Metals other than iron or unstable archeological metals
  • Most glass
  • Most ceramics
  • Most stone

Drying Techniques

Preventing mold in the collection is important. Reduce humidity while increasing air circulation or freezing – depends on the item and the degree of wetness.  Over-drying or drying too fast can damage artifacts further. If you are able to use cell phones on site, the Emergency Response and Salvage Mobile App contains salvage advice by format:

If you need printable resources:

Furniture and Wood

Water-soaked furniture and wooden objects should be dried slowly using fans to keep air circulating. Try to maintain a relative humidity of 60% to prevent over-drying. Rapid drying can cause warping and cracking.

See: ConservoGramWatersoakedWoodFurniture07-07

Textiles should be dried within 48 hours to prevent mold growth. If you cannot dry them they should be frozen. There are some exceptions, like items with beads, metallic threads.

Complete list here:ConservOGramTextiles21-08

Paintings should also dry slowly. Acrylic paintings on acrylic primed grounds are rather resistant to water damage. Oil paintings on glue sized canvas can be very reactive. Automatically removing paintings from frames is not recommended. The frame can help resist torquing. Do not remove a wet painting from its stretcher or strainer. Remove backing boards to permit air flow along the back of the canvas. If the canvas is really wet, it should be placed horizontally up on blocks to prevent paint from falling off if there is major canvas shrinkage. Slightly wet paintings can be leaned against a wall face out which is often necessary when handling many paintings in limited space. Keep air circulating but do not direct a fan at a painted surface. Keeping relative humidity near 60 percent while drying to avoid over drying. Do not go below 40 percent.

If a badly flaking painting must be moved (horizontally) then lay sections of single ply toilette paper across the damaged area. The wet tissue holds down the damaged paint for transport. When the tissue dries, it seems to lift up and away from the paint, so that a conservator can perform consolidation.

Ornate gesso coated frames can also be fragile when wet.  The gesso can crumble into powder.  Loss elements can detach and damage a painted canvas.


National Heritage Responders Request

Greetings.  As we watch one very serious hurricane and two more serious storms approach the US, and as many people are still dealing with the devastation left by Hurricane Harvey; NHR is trying to pool the collective knowledge of Heritage custodian professionals into some imaginative and useful videos as a resource for the general public.   Incorporated below is a message from Jessica Unger detailing this request and there are links to PDFs of the Tip Sheets at the bottom of this post. Please share:

Hi all,

Over the past couple of days, several NHR team members and our stellar NHR Coordinator Rebecca Elder have been corralling useful information in the form of tips sheets for the folks in Texas and Florida. Please see attached for:

Tips for working with recovery companies

  1. Tips for evacuating collections
  2. Tips for sheltering collections in place

(Special thanks to Tara Kennedy and Andrew Robb for making these happen!)

Now here’s an opportunity for other team members to step up and provide useful info for those affected by these historic storms.

We’re looking for help creating some very quick training materials aimed at the general public to help them salvage their family treasures damaged by Hurricane Harvey (and, likely, Hurricane Irma). We’d like for you to create a quick and dirty video (think iPhone with Facebook Live quality) discussing how to salvage your particular specialty, and create a one-page bullet point handout to go with the video.

The ideal video and handout will be:

  • 3-5 minutes long
  • Aimed at the general public
  • Informal
  • Free of professional jargon
  • Recommend supplies that should be readily available, such as paper towels.
  • Emphasize health and safety concerns when dealing with contaminated water.

A quick turnaround time on these is essential— if possible, by COB on Friday. Hopefully, the quick turnaround will facilitate the casual and unproduced feel for the videos that we are looking for. If you need longer, let us know and we’ll see what we can do.


Best wishes,
Jess Unger

Jessica Unger | Emergency Programs Coordinator
202-661-8069 | f 202-452-9328 | @conservators | Facebook


Links to tip sheets are here:

Sheltering Collections in Place

Evacuating Collections

Recovery Company Tip Sheet

C2CC Announcement for Free Webinar for those Institutions who may have been affected by Hurricane Harvey

NOAA photographs
Hurricane Ike approaching the Texas coast. 2008 September 12 
Credit: NOAA Environmental Visualization Laboratory

Was your institution affected by Hurricane Harvey? Are you curious about resources available to the museum community after a major disaster? Join Rebecca Elder of the National Heritage Responders and Lori Foley of the Heritage Emergency Task Force to discuss resources available to the museum community after a major disaster.  They will allow plenty of time to discuss your questions on emergency response, salvage, and recovery, so come prepared!

The webinar will be held September 28 at 10:00 central time.

The webinar is free, but registration is required. Go to
to register now.
 Rebecca Elder
National Heritage Responders
Direct: 512-699-3494
NHR Hotline 202-661-8068