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Monday, May 16 • 2:30pm - 3:00pm
(General Session: Lead by Example - Models to Follow) PRICE: Preparedness and Response in Collection Emergencies

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This paper will provide an overview of a Smithsonian Institution initiative to develop an internal collaborative for addressing preparation and response teams for collection emergencies. With 19 museums, the Institution has extraordinary challenges and multiple resources for managing emergencies that affect collections. In the past three years (2012-2015), colleagues at the Smithsonian Institution have discussed the roles that we play in preventing, preparing, and responding to emergencies. Even with a robust disaster management program at SI, we discovered that we needed to do a better job of planning for emergencies that affect collections. We know that the offices charged with life safety at the Smithsonian will do a great job managing the people and many visitors at the Institution in an emergency, but what about the collections? Our team came up with a concept that we are bringing to the administration of the Smithsonian, called “PRICE” – Preparedness and Response in Collections Emergencies. Each of the museums at the Smithsonian functions with its own set of plans for emergencies, but we recognized that at a big place like the Smithsonian there might be scenarios that require the help of the Institution at large. What if a museum needs help from a team of external conservation experts because it is overwhelmed with recovery? What if having a collections emergency recovery contract in place ahead of time, for instance, from a dry-freezing company, would spare a collecting unit from spending the valuable post-recovery time having to write and execute a contract? What if one unit has equipment and supplies needed by another unit? The PRICE concept would provide staffing, training, logistics and administrative support that pertain especially to collections before, during, and after a disaster. At the Smithsonian we follow the Incident Command System (also known as ICS) for emergencies, and the PRICE concept fits into the structure as one of the reporting nodes to the incident commander. We think that the model that we are proposing will help the Institution take care of its 137 million collection items. Stewardship of our collections must include ongoing review of collections emergency plans and put the emergency preparation, response and recovery experts in touch with one another.

avatar for Sarah Stauderman

Sarah Stauderman

Director of Collections, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
Sarah Stauderman is the director of the department of collections care at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. She co-edited the publication "Proceedings of the Smithsonian Institution Summit of the Museum Preservation Environment" in 2016 available for download at opensi.si.edu... Read More →

avatar for William Tompkins

William Tompkins

Administrative Staff, National Collections Program
William G. Tompkins, Director, National Collections Program, Smithsonian Institution serves as a principal advisor to Smithsonian senior management, unit directors, and staff on matters relating to collections management. With 30 years’ experience at the Smithsonian, Bill strives... Read More →

Monday May 16, 2016 2:30pm - 3:00pm EDT
Room 516 CD