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Tuesday, May 17 • 11:30am - 12:00pm
(Collection Care) When emergency preparedness (or even an emergency) is foreign territory

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The development and implementation of a collection emergency preparedness plan can appear to be a monumental task. Low institution-wide collection emergency awareness paired with minimal staff time and limited resources are common factors. Though literature on developing plans continues to grow, knowing how to start can still be challenging. A team of students and faculty from the Conservation Center (Institute of Fine Arts at New York University) and the Winterthur/University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation pursued this challenge at an institution where no collections-oriented emergency plan existed: Schloss Leopoldskron, an 18th-century palace in Salzburg, Austria. Through collaboration with the Schloss’ staff and local authorities, the team identified the elements of an emergency plan that should be completed while the team was on-site. As outside consultants, the challenge was not only choosing how to begin, but also how to teach the staff the notion of collections emergencies and introduce them to potential preventive measures. Based on a risk assessment completed by the team, a collection emergency scale system was developed to educate the staff and define various levels of collection emergencies, particularly focusing on small-scale, day-to-day situations. The Schloss staff had previously established emergency reporting systems for medical emergencies and fires. The team worked with the staff to build on this by assembling an emergency response team, defining roles specifically for collections emergency situations. Additional resources were gathered for the staff to continue expanding their preparedness materials, including a simple pocket guide that can be used during an emergency. Communication between the staff, the emergency response team, and local authorities was an essential component of developing a sustainable emergency plan. This collaboration highlighted significant cultural differences in the approach to emergency planning between institutions in Austria and the U.S. and thus allowed the exploration of foreign territory on many levels. The team developed new skills in the areas of learning and teaching, understanding the big picture while balancing the day-to-day activities, working with limited resources, and accepting the need for flexibility. In the end, two weeks on-site provided constructive recommendations for emergencies, a safer environment for the collection and the Schloss, and a learning experience that, when shared through this presentation, will provide valuable knowledge for others. This project was supported by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation and Salzburg Global Seminar.

avatar for Jacinta A. Johnson

Jacinta A. Johnson

Assistant Paper Conservator, Balboa Art Conservation Center
Jacinta Johnson is Assistant Paper Conservator at the Balboa Art Conservation Center in San Diego. Jacinta earned her M.S. in Art Conservation from the Winterthur/University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation in 2016 with a focus in paper conservation. Ms. Johnson’s training... Read More →
avatar for Kari Rayner

Kari Rayner

Conservator, National Gallery of Art
Kari Rayner is a 2015 graduate of the Conservation Center of the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University with a specialization in paintings conservation. Kari completed her fourth year internship at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.  In addition to interning at... Read More →

Tuesday May 17, 2016 11:30am - 12:00pm EDT
Room 516 AB