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Sunday, May 15 • 12:00pm - 2:00pm
(Luncheon Session) Socratic Dialogue Luncheon: The Best Laid Disaster Plans of Mice and Men Often Go Awry - Now What? SOLD OUT

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In the past two decades, conservators, collections managers, and other museum professionals have benefited from increasing experience with risk analysis and disaster planning methodologies. With proper training and practice, many more valuable objects and collections of cultural heritage have been saved than ever before. The 2016 AIC annual meeting provides an ideal opportunity to share and review this experience in disaster planning and management, review the success and failures in practice, and discuss how approaches to disasters and the unexpected can be further improved.

However, disasters by definition, don’t follow plans. What should we do when confronted with the unexpected? We won’t know until we are actually confronted with the situation. This conference is thus also providing an opportunity to pause and take some time to reflect about what it is we want to achieve in disaster planning and management, and why. With that in the back of our minds, we can perhaps better cope with the unexpected when it does happen.

In the continuing series of so-called Socratic dialogues at AIC annual meetings, a Socratic dialogue will be conducted to help us investigate our thoughts on these questions on disaster planning. A Socratic dialogue is a structured form of dialogue in which all participants actively contribute. The purpose of the dialogue is not to solve the question at hand, that is, specifically determine how we should react in an emergency and what to do when the unexpected occurs, but to investigate each other’s experience, and concerns about how to handle unexpected situations, concerns such as,

-   Disasters don’t always follow disaster plans. What do you save if you only have a few seconds or minutes, and why?

-   How much damage is acceptable in order to save as much of a collection as possible?

-   Do we let bystanders or volunteers help save and initially stabilize (large numbers of) objects if the professionals can’t get there on time?

The Socratic method provides a safe, open environment for participants to investigate what the essence behind these issues is, and to understand their own points of view as well as those of others. In practice, it provides a better foundation for that moment when the best laid disaster plan goes awry, and one then has to make split second, gut decisions about what to do.

avatar for Dr. W. (Bill) Wei

Dr. W. (Bill) Wei

Senior Conservation Scientist, Rijksdienst voor het Cultureel Erfgoed
Dr. Wei is a senior conservation scientist in the Research Department of the Rijksdienst voor het Cultureel Erfgoed (RCE), and was recently named program manager for the program “Sustainable Heritage. He continues to conduct research into the effects of cleaning and treatments of objects on their appearance, including: | The use of non-contact roughness measurements to study surface changes, as well as for the identification of objects... Read More →

Sunday May 15, 2016 12:00pm - 2:00pm
Room 516 E

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