LOC Preservation Week Lecture Series – Open Arms: Expanding the Cultural Emergency Preparedness Community


We want to share this opportunity to sign up for future alerts.  The Libary of Congress Preservation Week celebrated April 23-27, 2017, offered a lecture presentation by Tom Clareson, Senior Consultant for Digital & Preservation Services at LYRASIS.  The presentation covers a variety of new initiatives working to broaden cooperation in disaster recovery response.

LOC Open Arms: Expanding the Cultural Emergency Preparedness Community

If you would like to sign up for email notifications on upcoming lectures or be notified when lecture videos are made available please follow this link here. (about 10 yearly emails)

Georgia’s Jekyll Island Coastline and HB 271

Copy of Photo of Jekyll Island Sand Dune


Why This Matters:

HERA does not advocate one political position or another.  This post provides information regarding legislation which may be of some concern to membership due to environmental and disaster outcomes resulting from changes by amending the language in O.C.G.A  Section 12-5-232.
Please review the link provided and read the language of the HB 271.  This specific legislation will have an immediate effect on Jekyll Island, however, the proposed changes to the statute can expose the future of Georgia’s coastline to vulnerability.  If passed as currently written, there could be more erosion and storm damage should development start encroaching on more and more of Georgia’s more vulnerable coastal areas.  The destruction and erosion of natural barriers along Georgia’s coastline will have a cumulative effect on cultural heritage and preservation of the same.
Here is a PDF of HB 271 in its current form: 2017hb271
In Summary: HB 271 allows for new construction to take place within just 25 feet of the high tide line in shoreline areas where there are no dunes and no sea walls or rock revetments. This provision in HB 271 significantly changes the effectiveness of natural storm barriers in Georgia’s coastal areas.  In addition to the changes to the definitions of what constitutes a “sand dune” the new provisions create a “Shore Protection Committee” within the department, which is governed by five individuals consisting of the Commissioner of the DNR and 4 additional members “selected by the board”.
Hurricane Mathew is our most recent reminder that Georgia’s coastline is vulnerable to storm surge, and flood damage.
 The motivation behind this specific legislation: The legislation was designed to benefit the Sea Island Spit-Project which is a development.  You can read the 2016-04-16 AJC Article by Dan Chapman here: AJC Article: “Posh Homes Expected on Sea Island Spit”
On Thursday, House Bill 271 bill was approved by the Natural Resources Committee and sent to the House Rules Committee (RC), where it will be discussed and possibly passed on to the full House for a vote.  If the House Rules Committee approves this measure, it will go the House Floor for a vote.  You can call your representative and ask them to reject this measure as the language currently stands.
 Talking Points:
Educate your legislators.  Let them know you are not in favor of this legislation the way it is written.  Presently, the language redefines the term “sand dune” in order to drastically reduce the jurisdictional area of the Shore Protection Act (SPA). Essentially, HB 271 says sand dunes that are covered with sparse, pioneer vegetation are not to be defined as “sand dunes” any longer, which means the SPA’s jurisdictional area would be measured from the sparsely vegetated primary dunes rather than the dynamic dune field landward from them.
This significant language change creates a danger to the natural barriers and coastal ecosystem.  HB 271 facilitates the development of the last open stretch of the beachfront area on Jekyll Island by removing it entirely from the SPA’s jurisdiction.  In turn, this legislation as written could have a long-term effect on other vulnerable areas along Georgia’s coastline.  Flooding and damage from storm surge will increase if the natural barriers and ecosystem are lost.
Representative Contacts:
If HB 271 is approved by the RC and goes to the House floor for a vote, call your State Representative and urge him/her to vote “no” on the bill. For the name and contact information for your representative, click on Legislators and enter your zip code in the “Find your Legislator Box” on the right side of the page.


Happy Anniversary HERA Atlanta – HERA Atlanta is 10!

The months of February & March 2017 mark ten years since HERA Atlanta was organized and founded after a series of Alliance for Response forums!


Floods, hurricanes, fires and other disasters can harm or destroy irreplaceable cultural and historical treasures. The institutions that safeguard books, documents, photographs, artifacts, and other historical collections can prepare for emergencies to avert or at least minimize damage. One of the keys to preparedness is a relationship with first responders and emergency managers. They are first on the scene at any event that threatens life or safety, and they represent a local system for planning, response, and recovery that has often overlooked a community’s cultural and historic assets.

Alliance for Response brings together cultural heritage and emergency management professionals at forums at the local level.  Disaster response originates at the local level and the local networks foster vital partnerships in each community. The Alliance for Response formed in 2003 and began holding forums in various locations.  AFR Forums increased interest, participation, and membership in the AFR network membership.  Local networks formed and at present, there are twenty-six national AFR networks.

In the beginning, generous support from the Fidelity Foundation enabled Heritage Preservation to launch Alliance for Response in 2003 and sustain the program through 2009.  The funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has enabled Heritage Preservation to continue to build on the momentum begun in those first six years of the successful programs and take it into the future. The AFR forums and initial meetings lead to new partnerships and initiatives to enhance the protection of cultural heritage collections at local levels.


In February of 2007 Alliance for Response held one such forum at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta and some eighty attendees came together.  As a result of this event, HERA Atlanta was formed.  After the initial meeting at the High Museum of Art, a follow-up meeting of eighteen attendees happened in March of 2007 at the Columbia Theological Seminary, where members brainstormed about everything from defining the local mission to gathering up an emergency supply cache.   The primary aim of HERA is to mitigate the loss of cultural heritage materials in the event of a disaster. 

HERA Atlanta had its first test in March of 2008 when an EF 3 Tornado struck downtown Atlanta and members responded to help the Atlanta Daily World Newspaper.  The Atlanta Daily World is the oldest and continuously published African American Newspaper in the US, being published since 1928.  The Atlanta Daily World’s roof had collapsed and its collections were damaged by flooding.  Over a two-week period, 21 HERA volunteers from 9 organizations volunteered to help pack out damaged historical and business records.  Since the 2008 disaster response, HERA members have since participated in various disaster recovery efforts across the Southeast.

HERA membership has developed a strong network of communications to ensure all members are informed of disaster events, training opportunities, meetings or educational events. HERA Atlanta has 114 members from some thirteen counties, a set of Bylaws and cooperative relationships with sister state organizations to our South such as Savannah Heritage Emergency Response (SHER) in Savannah. Cultural Heritage professionals continue to come together with First Responders to educate each other on the best ways to protect Georgia’s Cultural Heritage collections from disaster, either natural or manmade.


HERA Atlanta holds at least two hands-on educational events each year and holds quarterly steering committee meetings.  Our membership comprises professionals working cultural heritage fields.  We continually work together with our local first responders to educate ourselves and our community on the best practices and measures to protect our state’s cultural heritage.


Reminder: Free Webinar Today @ 1PM in the Alliance for Response Webinar Series!

Just a follow-up reminder with the details Jessica Unger had shared in December.  Please try not to miss out on these free webinar series being offered by the Alliance for Response.  No need for preregistration.  You may enter the meeting by going to the site: https://meet98657813.adobeconnect.com/faic   There is another today,  from 1:00-2:30 PM today!

“Exercise Without Leaving Your Seat: Practicing the Incident Command System” January 19th, 1:00 – 2:30 PM

David Carmicheal, State Archivist, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

Joe Boney, Chief, Biloxi Fire Department

 You can practice the Incident Command System – or any other disaster response tool – through something as simple as a tabletop exercise. This webinar will introduce different ways of practicing emergency response, from simple orientations to full-scale exercises. It will also focus on how to plan and conduct your own successful tabletop exercise. Learn about how exercises relate to your disaster plan and how to evaluate your results.

“Crisis Communications” January 24, 2017

Mike Smith, Chair and Associate Professor of Communication, LaSalle University

Steve Pine, Senior Conservator for Decorative Arts, The Museum of Fine Arts Houston

 A successful emergency plan will address the essential issue of communications. How will your team communicate with each other as well as with outside parties, including volunteers, vendors, and the press? Learn about how to develop a communications strategy that is coordinated, quick, accurate, ongoing, and human. Get tips on how to create, test, and exercise your crisis communications plan.

“Best Practices for Seeking Funding” January 26, 2017

Ellen Gorham, Manager, Disaster Fundraising, American Red Cross National Headquarters

As a member of a cooperative disaster network, you know that passion and commitment fuel your involvement. But to move emergency preparedness forward in your community, you need more than passion and commitment; you need funding. Foundations, corporations, and government granting agencies are all potential sources of funding, but finding the right fit for a network project can be daunting. This webinar will provide research tips and tools to help participants find the prospects interested in funding your network activities, and how to build a plan that takes into consideration the cycle of “disaster giving.”

These are great opportunities. If you’re not able to attend in person, a recording of the webinar will be available on the YouTube channel of the American Institute for Conservation:https://www.youtube.com/user/aiconservation  (the AFR webinar playlist may be found here


Albany Museum of Art Hit Hard by Storm on January 2, 2017

Albany Museum of Art after the January 2, 2017 storm.
Albany Museum of Art after January 2, 2017, storm.







The following is taken from a press release from the Georgia Museum of Art.

On the evening of Monday, January 2, serious storms with high wind hit the Albany, Georgia, area, leaving many households and businesses without power. Governor Nathan Deal declared Dougherty County and surrounding counties a disaster area on Thursday, January 5, and both the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency officials and local Emergency Management Agencies continue to work to assess the full extent of the damages and to repair them. Due to this widespread severe weather system, the Albany Museum of Art’s building sustained severe damage and is closed to the public until further notice.

High winds removed sections of the roof from the building, allowing rain into offices, galleries, and vaults on the second floor. The fact that it was open to the elements meant several inches of water on both the second and first floors, and the loss of power resulted in a lack of humidity controls. Museum director Paula Williams was on the scene early Tuesday morning despite many roads being impassable and having no power and some damage at her own home. She walked through her museum to make a quick assessment and immediately began making phone calls: to her staff, to her Board of Trustees, to her fine arts and building insurance companies, to lenders, to volunteers and to professionals in the field. The response and the offers of help were overwhelming.

AXA ART, the museum’s fine art insurance company and its representatives responded quickly, getting a conservation team from Chicago’s Conservation Center on a plane to Georgia that Tuesday night. Since then, the conservators have been assessing damage to works of art in the museum’s collection and some that were on loan to exhibitions there. It will be some time before the extent of the damage and the time and cost to repair it are known.

A similar process is occurring with representatives of the insurance company that covers the building, although so far it seems that it can be repaired. Objects in the collection that did not need conservation were on their way to off-site fine-art storage on Friday. Contractors have been hard at work adding a temporary fix to the roof, but that part of the building will need major work. Some parts of the building, including the Jane and Harry Willson Auditorium, on the first floor, remained secure and held art moved by staff and volunteers until professional art handlers could make their way to Albany. Generators to supply electricity and 24-hour security are in place until they are no longer needed. Work is underway to preserve not only the art in the museum’s collection but also the many documents associated with it, which were stored in the second-floor offices that were most affected by the damage to the roof.

Countless individuals, organizations, institutions and more have offered their support, which museum staff members greatly appreciate. They are waiting for assessments to be completed before they can work out a full plan of how to proceed and what their needs will be, but they will be considerable. The museum does not have time at the moment to respond to all who have pledged assistance, but Williams says she is are very thankful for the community, statewide and regional response. If you would like to keep up with the Albany Museum of Art’s needs going forward, please sign up for its newsletter at http://bit.ly/albany-newsletter.

Note to editors: The Georgia Museum of Art is sending out this statement to assist the Albany Museum of Art, which has a small staff and is focused on assessment and recovery rather than responding to news organizations.
Museum Information
Partial support for the exhibitions and programs at the Georgia Museum of Art is provided by the Georgia Council for the Arts through the appropriations of the Georgia General Assembly. The Georgia Council for the Arts also receives support from its partner agency, the National Endowment for the Arts. Individuals, foundations, and corporations provide additional museum support through their gifts to the University of Georgia Foundation. The Georgia Museum of Art is located in the Performing and Visual Arts Complex on the East Campus of the University of Georgia. The address is 90 Carlton Street, University of Georgia, Athens, Ga. 30602-1502. For more information, including hours, see georgiamuseum.org or call 706.542.4662.

2017 Begins with Severe Flood Damage at Albany Museum of Art

The Albany Museum of Art suffered severe flood damage after Monday’s multiple storms tore through the area.  Approximately two-thirds of the roof was blown off the structure and there is severe damage.  Director Paula Williams is quoted in the two news article links below.  Please see the included links.  They are determined to preserve and protect the collections and rebuild:

WALB News 10 Video and Story

Albany Herald Article 01-03-2017

Alliance for Response: Webinar Series Schedule 12/15/2016 through 01/26/2017

Mark your calendars for a series of webinars specially developed for members of the Alliance for Response community! Learn from your peers about best practices for organizing your network; discover how to integrate volunteer efforts; get tips on how to navigate the Public Assistance process; develop tabletop exercises for training; learn about how to communicate effectively during an emergency, and discover some best practices for fundraising!

All programs may be accessed at https://meet98657813.adobeconnect.com/faic

No pre-registration required!

“Setting Up Governance Structures and Creating Mutual Aid Agreements”

Thursday, December 15, 2016 1:00 – 2:30 pm (Eastern)

Laura Seifert, Savannah Heritage Emergency Response
Gary Menges, Seattle Heritage Emergency Response Network
Steve Detwiler, Alliance for Response Miami

“Working with Volunteers”

Tuesday, January 10, 2017 1:00 – 2:30 pm (Eastern)

Chandra Fox, Region 10 President, International Association of Emergency Managers

“Navigating Public Assistance After a Disaster”

Thursday, January 12, 2017 1:00 – 2:30 pm (Eastern)

Chris Holmes, Chief of Recovery, NYS Division of Homeland Security & Emergency Services
Rick Lord, Chief of Mitigation Programs & Agency Preservation Officer, NYS Division of Homeland Security & Emergency Services

“Exercise Without Leaving Your Seat: Practicing the Incident Command System at the Institutional Level”

Thursday, January 19, 2017 1:00 – 2:30 pm (Eastern)

David Carmicheal, State Archivist, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania 
Joe Boney, Chief, Biloxi Fire Department

“Crisis Communications”

Tuesday, January 24, 2017 1:00 – 2:30 pm (Eastern)

Mike Smith, Chair and Associate Professor of Communication, LaSalle University
Steve Pine, Senior Conservator for Decorative Arts, The Museum of Fine Arts Houston

“Best Practices for Seeking Funding”

Thursday, January 26, 2017 1:00 – 2:30 pm (Eastern)

Ellen Gorham, Manager, Disaster Fundraising, American Red Cross Nat’l Headquarters

For further information contact junger@conservation-us.org or visit http://www.heritageemergency.org/upcoming-webinar-series/


Personal Archiving, Disaster Planning & Free CoSA Pocket PReP Guide

Heritage Emergency Response Alliance

NOAA Image US Navy Photo Storm Surge pushing water ashore during a hurricane. NOAA Image US Navy Photo Storm Surge pushing water ashore during a hurricane.

How prepared are you and your personal family collections in the event of a disaster?  It’s always important to check the pulse of our own personal archiving habits. A few excellent checkpoints to consider:

  1. Do you have a contact list of family members and/or emergency contacts to easily access at all times?
  2. Do you know the names and locations of your local first responders in your area? (Police, Fire, Hospital)
  3. Do you regularly maintain backups of your computer and other electronic media?
  4. Are you storing your treasured digital photographs someplace other than a smart-phone device, iPad or tablet?
  5. Do you maintain copies of important records such as property deeds, wills, birth and marriage certificates, passports, insurance documents?
  6. Do you keep family heirlooms such as antiques, family photographs, textiles or art?

The attached Family Collections Pocket Response Plan or PrEP™ created…

View original post 114 more words

Annual HERA Atlanta Education Program: Floods and Fires: Recovering from Disaster

by Rebecca Landel-Hernandez, HERA Communications Chair

On Friday, September 30th, 2016, HERA Atlanta held its annual Educational Program at the Georgia Archives in Morrow.  The Georgia Archives were great hosts, Belfor provided us with a tasty lunch and it was great to see so many colleagues interested in this well-attended program.  All the presenters provided very informative and educational segments in their materials and some provided handouts to supplement their presentations.  The program underscored the importance of engaging all the moving parts of the community in disaster preparation for successful disaster recovery effort. Each presenter stressed the importance of a vital and interactive collaborative relationship between cultural institutions, local Emergency Managers, and local First Responders.

Will Lanxton, Meteorologist, GEMHSA










Will Lanxton was hired by the state in 2014 to be the state meteorologist after the snow jam event in 2014.  Mr. Lanxton is with the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency (GEMHSA).  He gave us a great history of Georgia’s and the Southeastern region’s weather patterns and statistics on flooding in the South.  The information in Mr. Lanxton’s presentation on weather mapping was helpful in deciphering the ever changing conditions as Hurricane Matthew approached the following week.  Mr. Lanxton reiterated and stressed the importance and necessity of knowing and collaborating with first responders and emergency managers in order to better protect cultural heritage collections.  At the time of our meeting, he was departing from his presentation at HERA in order to conference with various state officials for the Southeastern region and Emergency Responders in planning sessions due to what was then a pending storm that was to become Hurricane Matthew.

Meg Gaillard, Heritage Trust Archaeologist, SC Department of Natural Resources













Meg Gaillard, Heritage Trust Archaeologist for the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, presented the experiences her institution underwent after the October 4th, 2015 Columbia, South Carolina floods.  Their facility received flooding to the roof.  Flood waters were toxic, filled with petroleum, sewage, and animal waste.  Her department had some great resources at hand, due to the type of property maintenance inherent to their work.  Her presentation resonated with the reality of finding resources, dealing with the multitude of issues for 1500 boxes of flood-soaked artifacts in toxic water; locating fresh water sources and secure triage locations; coordinating some 135 volunteers and hiring temporary archaeologists to help with a 10-month long recovery process.  Again, the coordination and support of working with local emergency responders played an integral role in the entire recovery process.  Meg included handouts for volunteer services as a part of her presentation.  Meg Gaillard’s experience underscored the importance of bringing together professionals from many different backgrounds who work with cultural heritage collections.  HERA WordPress posted Meg’s blog that details many of her experiences on October 4th, 2016 and you can read her descriptions and see her photographs of the recovery process in our WordPress archives.

Ben Carter & Joe Watkins, Carter Watkins Associates Architects









Ben Carter and Joe Watkins, of Carter Watkins Associates Architects, Inc., presented on the restoration of the Hancock County Courthouse before and after the horrific fire of August 2014.  Carter Watkins, located in Monroe, Georgia, specializes in much of the historic preservation and renovation work around Georgia’s many historic courthouse buildings.  They had a great knowledge of the local architecture of many of Georgia’s courthouse structures and histories.  The Hancock County Courthouse fire was exacerbated by the storage of coal in the basement of the courthouse, which continued to smolder for weeks and kept the site too hot for recovery efforts.  Most of the records, even those locked in vault storage, were lost to ash, due to extreme heat conditions and lack of fire suppression or sprinkler systems.  The courthouse has been reconstructed and improved looking just as the original design, only with some 21st-century improvements incorporated into the new construction.  There are now dedicated records storage rooms.  Many of Georgia’s small county courthouses are home to historic records which are irreplaceable and have not necessarily been microfilmed.  These are ideal goals for disaster prevention and essential records training for better preservation of these valuable resources.

Vernon Duty, Belfor Property Restoration







Our final presenter was Vernon Duty, with Belfor Property Restoration.  Many of us have met representatives such as Vernon from past SGA meetings.  Some members have met with or had experience with Belfor in the past.  Vernon’s presentation provided great insight as to the benefits of vendor contact relationships that are established prior to a disaster event.  Vernon also provided handout materials with his presentation. Belfor can help institutions assess and develop disaster recovery plans.  They have equipment such as large-scale freezer trucks and drying services for handling flood-soaked records.  Trying to figure out all the resources for the services necessary during a disaster adds stress on top of an already complex and evolving situation.  Part of disaster prevention planning involves engaging all the local emergency management resources and disaster recovery vendor services an institution may come to rely upon during an event.  Preplanning also helps educate institutional staff as to available protocols, available resources and set up the best possible circumstance to mitigate disaster recovery outcomes.

HERA is an organization open to those professionals working with cultural heritage collections. Professionals working in museums, art galleries, archaeology, archives, libraries, conservation, historic architecture, historic preservation, and historic sites are encouraged to become a part of the Heritage Emergency Response Alliance in order that we may better serve and protect our collective cultural heritage.