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American Association of Museums

Founded in 1906, the American Association of Museums (AAM) is dedicated to promoting excellence within the museum community. Through advocacy, professional education, information exchange, accreditation, and guidance on current professional standards of performance, AAM assists museum staff, boards, and volunteers across the country to better serve the public.

American Association for State and Local History (AASLH)

1717 Church Street, Nashville, TRN 37203  tel:  615 320 3203   
Brief, helpful description of levels and types of insurance coverage for any collecting institution. This and other excellent publications can be ordered through their Web site, by writing to 530 Church Street, Suite 600, Nashville, TN 37219-2325, or (615) 255-2971.

American Institute of Architects

Building Security Through Design:  A Primer for Architects, Design Professionals, and Their Clients.

American Industrial Hygiene Association

industrial hygiene and occupational and environmental health and safety

American Library Association

The American Library Association is the oldest and largest library association in the world, with more than 64,000 members. Its mission is to promote the highest quality library and information services and public access to information.


Library & Archival Related

  • Fox, Lisa L. "Management Strategies for Disaster Preparedness." The ALA Yearbook of Library and Information Services 14 (1989): 1–6.  An excellent summary of management and implementation strategies for putting theory into practice.
  • Walsh, Betty. "Salvage Operations for Water Damaged Archival Collections: A Second Glance" and "Salvage at a Glance." WAAC Newsletter 19.2 (May 1997).
    Excellent recovery guidelines for minor, moderate, and major disasters.
American Society for Industrial Security
Art Theft Response

The theft and illicit trade of cultural artifacts is a major international crime, second only to drug trade, and totaling $4 - 6 billion each year (according to the Museum Security Network). A vast majority of those thefts are committed by someone inside the cultural organization. Very few of us have any personal experience with collections theft. The Collections Theft Response Procedures was developed to provide guidance to the multiple functions involved in theft response, and to suggest actions to take before and after the incident. It is made available through the Getty Conservation Institute

Book Preservation/Disaster Planning for Libraries
California Preservation Program

This site has a disaster planning workbook and template that can be customized to individual libraries

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
The Chubb Corporation Library
Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts

Disaster Recovery publications address salvaging books, art on paper, photograph collections and managing a mold invasion

Conservation Online (the most comprehensive web site devoted to this field),

Conservation/Preservation Information for the General Public

Disaster Mitigation Planning Assistance
Disaster Preparedness and Response
Disaster Preparedness for Museums
palimpsest. stanford.edu/bytopic/disasters/index.html
Disaster Recovery Journal

A quarterly journal covering all aspects of disaster recovery, but especially strong from a business perspective, including electronic data and impact analysis. Available free in the US and Canada for those involved in contingency planning. Contact the Circulation Department, P.O. Box 510110, St. Louis, MO 63151, or order through their Web site

Emergency Information Infrastructure Partnership
Emergency Management Bibliography

This is an annotated bibliography of publications on planning, preparedness, and recovery. It also includes a number of websites. It was last updated in 2004

Employee Safety Precautions
Emergency Response and Salvage Wheel.

National Task Force on Emergency Response:  Safeguarding Our Cultural Heritage. 1997. A preservation project produced with the support of the National Endowment for the Humanities and The St. Paul Companies.  Available from Heritage Preservation, Washington. DC.

23. Every Business Should Have a Plan.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security.  Preparing Makes Good Business Sense.  “These recommendations reflect the Emergency Preparedness and Business Continuity Standard (NFPA 1600) developed by the National Fire Protection Association and endorsed by the American National Standards Institute and the Department of Homeland Security.”

FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency)
http://www.fema.gov/eph toolkit.shtm
Fire Sprinkler Related:
"An Introduction to Automatic Fire Sprinklers." WAAC Newsletter 15.3 (September 1994): 2027, and 17.2 (May1995): 2328.

Describes the various types of sprinkler systems and their advantages and disadvantages in a clear, readable style.

FBI Art Theft Programs

The illicit trade in art and cultural artifacts is a major category of international crime. This includes theft of individual works of art, illegal export of objects protected by international laws, and pillaging of archaeological sites. Art theft is an international problem requiring cooperation at all levels of law enforcement. To aid in this endeavor, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) established the National Stolen Art File (NSAF) to assist law enforcement agencies in resolving this ever increasing problem.
The NSAF is a computerized index of stolen art and cultural property as reported to the FBI by law enforcement agencies throughout the United States and internationally. The NSAF consists of images and physical descriptions of stolen and recovered objects, in addition to investigative case information. The primary goal of the NSAF is to serve as a tool to assist investigators in art and cultural artifact theft cases and to function as an analytical database providing law enforcement officials with information concerning art theft.

FBI Law Enforcement Bulletins
Harvard University Libraries Preservation
Before and After Disasters. Federal Funding for Cultural Institutions

FEMA 533/September 2005  PDF version: 

Heritage Emergency National Task Force

1012 14th Street, N.W., Washington DC 200005.  () tel. 202 233 0800 Larry Reger, President 

Guidance Filtration and Air-Cleaning Systems to Protect Building Environments from Airborne Chemical, Biological, or Radiological Attacks.

Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.  April 2003. 

International Committee on Museum Security

The International Committee for Museum Security (ICMS) was formed by the 10th General Assembly of ICOM on June 1974 in Kobenhavn, Denmark. It has played a leading part in activities throughout its twenty years of meetings. Its Rules have changed to conform to the Model Rules of ICOM, dated 1991, declaring ICMS original and unchanging aims:


To support the aims and objectives of ICOM, in particular with the reference to museum security,

  • To formulate and carry out a program of activities related to museum security
  • To provide a forum for communication, co-operation and information exchange, between museums, professional museum workers and others concerned with museum security;
  • To provide advice to ICOM on museum security and be a source of professional expertise to assist in the implementation of ICOMs program;
  • To represent the interests of museum security within ICOM;
  • To cooperate with the National Committees and Affiliated Organizations in maters related to the Committees specific mandate and to the broader interests of ICOM.

Interpol exists to help create a safer world. Its aim is to provide a unique range of essential services for the law enforcement community to optimize the international effort to combat crime.

To be the world’s pre-eminent police organization in support of all organizations, authorities and services whose mission is preventing, detecting, and suppressing crime.

Interpol will achieve this by
Providing both a global perspective and a regional focus;
Facilitating international co-operation;
Co-coordinating joint operational activities of its member countries
Making available know- how, expertise and good practice

Library of Congress Preservation Directorate
Museums Emergency Program. Bibliography. Annotated, 2005. (Fire, Water, Wind, Earth Movements, Explosion, Vandalism, Civil Unrest/War, Theft/Illicit Trade, Other).

The Getty Conservation Institute, Museums Emergency Program Education Initiative.

Museum Security Network

Award winning security resource covering broad range of cultural security concerns and issues. Daily e-mailed newsletter

National Archives & Records Administration

Vital Records and Records Disaster Mitigation and Recovery.  National Archives and Records Administration.  Instructional Guide Series.  National Archives and Records Administration, Office of Records Administration.  College Park. Md.  1996 A useful broad approach to protecting vital records from harm.

National Fire Protection Association

Contact them at 1 Batterymarch Park, Quincy, MA 02269-9101, tel. (617) 770-3000, or order through their Web site

A worldwide leader in providing fire, electrical, and life safety to the public since 1896. The mission of the international nonprofit NFPA is to reduce the worldwide burden of fire and other hazards on the quality of life by providing and advocating scientifically-based consensus codes and standards, research, training and education.

  • NFPA 909:  Standard for the Protection of Cultural Resources Including Museums, Libraries, Places of Worship, and Historic Properties;
  • NFPA 914:  Recommended Practice for Fire Protection in Historic Structures. Quincy, MA: National Fire Protection Association.
  • NFPA 1600:  Emergency Preparedness and Business Continuity Standard, endorsed by the American National Standards

These standards discuss the causes, prevention, detection, and suppression of fire in libraries, museums, archives, and historic structures. They contain descriptions and standards for fire detection/suppression equipment, synopsis of the role of the institution's staff in fire protection, and a bibliography of resources. Each includes useful self-inspection checklists.

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)
New York City

New York City Office of Emergency Management emergency e-mail alerts.   NYC.gov/oemnews.   Emergency Planning, A Guide for Small and Mid-Sized Companies in the Ready New York series.


This technical leaflet is an overview of issues to consider when developing a plan: decreasing risks, identifying resources, and setting priorities. It includes a bibliography and a list of basic supplies and equipment to have on hand.

Overseas Advisory Council

The Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) was established in 1985 by the U.S. Department of State to foster the exchange of security related information between the U.S. Government and American private sector operating abroad. Administered by the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, OSAC has developed into an enormously successful joint venture for effective security cooperation. Through OSAC, the American private sector, including colleges and universities, is provided timely information on which to make informed corporate decisions on how best to protect their investment, facilities, personnel and intellectual property abroad.

Preservation of Library & Archival Materials: a manual.3rd Ed. Andover, MA: Northeast Document Conservation Center, 1999. Ogden, Sherelyn, Ed.

On the web: http://www.nedcc.org/ 
Leaflets addressing disaster planning, preservation planning, environmental monitoring, emergency management, storage and handling, reformatting and conservation procedures.

Red Cross
Regional Alliance for Preservation:

Members include service networks such as Amigos and Solinet and conservation agencies that have emergency planning resources on the websites

Security Management website

The security professional’s central web connection

Sprinkler facts

American Fire Sprinkler Association’s website offering updates on news, special events (training seminars, etc.), legislation, e-mail forum

Wildfire Related
"Protecting Your Institution from Wild Fires: Planning Not to Burn and Learning to Recover.”  By Trinkley, Michael.

http://palimpsest.stanford.edu/byauth/trinkley/wildfire.html (14 August 1998).
Good advice for site preparation to help prevent wildfire damage to buildings.

United States Codes
Conservation Dist List:

To subscribe: consdist-request@lindy.stanford.edu
Online forum for conservation related topics. Participants include conservators, preservation administrators, curators and conservation scientists

PRESERVENW: an unmoderated list for preservation concerns.

To subscribe:  listproc@u.washington.edu




Ball, Cynthia ed. Help! A Survivor's Guide to Emergency Preparedness. Alberta, CA: Museums Alberta, 2003.

Brooks, Constance. Preservation Planning Program Guides: Disaster Preparedness. Washington, DC: Association of Research Libraries, Spring 1993. 184 pp.
This volume is one of a set of 7 guides. Cost is $15 each, or $70 for the set. To order, contact ARL at ARL Publications-WEB, Department #0692, Washington, DC 20073-0692 or order through their Web site, http://arl.cni.org/pubscat.html

Buchanan, Sally A. Disaster Planning: Preparedness and Recovery for Libraries and Archives. RAMP Publication PGI-88/WS/6. Paris: United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, 1988. 187 pp.
An efficient review of Buchanan's conceptual structure for disaster preparedness, which remains a model for the library field. Available from UNESCO, Division of the General Information Programme, 7 Place de Fontenoy, 75700 Paris, France. Single copies are free.

Canadian Conservation Institute."Emergency Preparedness for Cultural Institutions," CCI Notes 14/1, and "Emergency Preparedness for Cultural Institutions: Identifying and Reducing Hazards," CCI Notes 14/2. Ottawa: CCI, 1995.
A good starting point. Available from CCI, 1030 Innes Road, Ottawa, ON K1A 0M5 Canada, or tel. (613) 998-3721.

Coleman, Christopher. "Practical Large-Scale Disaster Planning." Westwords 2 (May 1992): 1–20.  Covers the problems of large institutions with many independent units (e.g., multi-library university systems or branch libraries).

Fortson, Judith. Disaster Planning and Recovery: A How-To-Do-It-Manual for Librarians and Archivists. How-To-Do-It Manuals for Libraries, No. 21. New York: Neal Schuman Publishers, 1992. 181 pp. $45.00.
Excellent, comprehensive guidance for emergency preparedness, risk prevention, response, and recovery. Includes resource lists, bibliography, decision tree. If you can buy only one emergency planning guide, this should be it.

Fox, Lisa L. Disaster Preparedness Workbook for U.S. Navy Libraries and Archives. Newport, RI: U.S. Naval War College Library, 1998. Forthcoming.
A comprehensive guide to emergency planning, including topics such as response to wildfire. Extensive bibliography.

George, Susan, comp. Emergency Planning and Management in College Libraries. CLIP Note No. 17. Chicago: Association of College and Research Libraries, and ALA, 1994. 146 pp.
Compiled from a survey of small college and university library policies. Includes sample plans. To order, call ALA at (800) 545-2433 and press 7 to reach ALA's Customer Service Representatives (Open 8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m., CST, Monday–Friday). For 24-hour service, FAX your order: (312) 836-9958. Or, mail your order to American Library Association, Order Fulfillment, 155 N. Wacker Drive, Chicago, IL 60606.

Haskins, Scott M. How to Save Your Stuff From a Disaster. Santa Barbara, CA: Preservation Help Publications, 1996.
A basic response guide for the general public touching on most aspects of disaster preparedness, with emphasis on recovering collections (e.g., paper and books, fine art, furniture, etc.). The advice and information are sound, and the presentation is user-friendly. Available from Preservation Help Publications, PO Box 1206, Santa Barbara, CA, 93102, tel. (800) 833-9226, or tel. (805) 899-9226. Cost: $19.95.

Kahn, Miriam. Disaster Prevention and Response for Special Libraries: An Information Kit. Washington, D.C.: Special Libraries Association, 1995.
This has a very useable checklist format designed to aid in preventing disasters, with an extensive bibliography for further information. Good coverage on machine-readable strategies. Available from Special Libraries Association, 1700 18th Street, N.W., Washington, DC. 20009-2508, tel. (202) 234-4700, ext. 643.

Lord, Allyn, Carolyn Reno, and Marie Demeroukas. Steal This Handbook! A Template for Creating a Museum’s Emergency Preparedness Plan. Columbia, SC: Southeastern Registrars Association, 1994.
Covers everything from mechanical failure to volcanic eruption and is an excellent reference resource. Out of print, but well worth trying to obtain a used copy, or through interlibrary loan.

Merrill-Oldham, Jan, and Jutta Reed-Scott, eds. Preservation Planning Program: An Assisted Self-Study Manual for Libraries. Rev. ed. Washington, D.C.: ARL Office of Management Studies, 1993.
"Developed to help libraries plan and implement preservation programs in a process that educates and involves a large number of staff members. Outlines a comprehensive self-study process, and augmented by a guide to disaster planning." Lisa Fox. Available from ARL/OMS Dept. #0692, Washington, D.C. 20073-0692 (202) 296–2296.

O'Connell, Mildred. "Disaster Planning: Writing and Implementing Plans for Collections-Holding Institutions." Technology and Conservation (Summer 1983): 18–24.
A succinct and practical approach to disaster planning. Every planning committee should read it before undertaking the task.

Reilly, Julie A. Are You Prepared? Omaha, Nebraska: The Nebraska State Historical Society, 1997.
Useful to institutions creating their first disaster plan. Designed to be used as a template. Available from the Nebraska State Historical Society, c/o The Gerald R. Ford Conservation Center, 1326 South 32nd Street, Omaha, Nebraska 68105. Cost is $10.00 including shipping.

Roberts, Barbara O. "Emergency Preparedness." In Storage of Natural History Collections: A Preventive Conservation Approach, Vol. I, eds. Carolyn L. Rose, Catharine A. Hawks, and Hugh H. Genoways, 81–99. Iowa City, Iowa: Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections, 1995.
Discusses the issues associated with creating a disaster plan and practical tips for ensuring effective implementation. Useful detailed appendices contain information resources and emergency checklists.

Schur, Susan E. "Disaster Prevention, Response, and Recovery: A Selected Bibliography." Technology & Conservation (Summer 1994): 21–23, and (Fall 1995): 23–34.
A must for anyone doing in-depth research into any disaster topic, retrospective to 1962.

Brawner, L.B. "Insurance and Risk Management for Libraries." Public Library Quarterly 13.1 (1993): 5–16, and 13.2 (1993): 29–34.
Part I covers the function of insurance and defines risk and insurance categories. Part II discusses supplemental coverages. Good starter articles.

Flitner, Arthur. "An Insurance Primer for the Local Historical Organization". American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) Technical Leaflet 147 (1983). Nashville, TN: AASLH.
Brief, helpful description of levels and types of insurance coverage for any collecting institution. This and other excellent publications can be ordered through their Web site, http://www.aaslh.org, by writing to 530 Church Street, Suite 600, Nashville, TN 37219-2325, or (615) 255-2971.




Wilson, J. Andrew. "Fire Protection." In Storage of Natural History Collections: A Preventive Conservation Approach, Vol. I, eds. Carolyn L. Rose, Catharine A. Hawks, and Hugh H. Genoways, 57–79. Iowa City, Iowa: Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections, 1995.
Comprehensive discussion on all aspects of fire protection for cultural institutions, including disaster planning, prevention and reaction to fire, as well as building design considerations.

Frens, Dale H. "Specifying Temporary Protection of Historic Interiors During Construction and Repair." Preservation Tech Note. Washington, D.C.: National Park Service. 1993.

A must for anyone considering renovations, a time when buildings and collections are at high risk of fire damage. Copies can be obtained from Heritage Preservation Services Information Desk (2255), National Center for Cultural Resource Stewardship and Partnerships, PO Box 37127, Washington, D.C., 20013-7127, tel. (202) 343-9538, or e-mail hps_info@nps.gov.

Stoppacher, Linda Swenson. "Culture Shock: Fire Protection for Historic and Cultural Property." Videorecording. Boston University, American Studies Program 1996, 23 minutes.
An excellent introduction to fire safety equipment for those responsible for disaster prevention in historic house museums, or anyone interested in fire protection for cultural collections. Write to the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training, c/o Training and Education, MSU Box 5682, Natchitoches, LA 71497. Free.


Berry, Michael A., Jeff Bishop, Claude Blackburn, Eugene C. Cole, William G. Ewald, Terry Smith, Nathan Suazo, and Steve Swan. "Suggested Guidelines for Remediation of Damage from Sewage Backflow into Buildings." Journal of Environmental Health 57.3 (October 1994): 9–15.
Overview of the risks associated with sewage, including guidelines for safe recovery.

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. Cleaning Up Your House After a Flood. Ottawa, ON: CMHC, 1993. Order number 6789E, $3.95.
Outlines the health risks associated with flood, with clear instructions for drying out and cleaning flood- or water-damaged buildings and contents. A standard reference guide for everyone, especially homeowners. Call CMHC at (800) 668-2642, or order through their Web site at http://www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/Boutique/Info-products/nfrm/index.html.

Department of the Interior. National Park Service. Preservation Assistance Division. After the Flood: Emergency Stabilization and Conservation Measures. Washington, D.C.: NPS, 1995.
Provides first response procedures for historic structures affected by flood. With good bibliography attached. For a free copy, contact Division of Publications, National Park Service, Harpers Ferry, WV 25425-0050, tel. (304) 535-6018.

Federal Emergency Management Agency/Federal Insurance Administration. "Flood-Resistant Materials Requirements for Buildings Located in Special Flood Hazard Areas." Technical Bulletin 2-93. Washington, D.C.: FEMA/FIA, 1993.
A good guide for anyone building or renovating in areas at risk of flooding. Prepared in accordance with the National Flood Insurance Program. Available from FEMA/FIA Office of Reduction, Technical Standards Division, 500 C St., SW, Room 417, Washington, D.C., 20472.

National Trust for Historic Preservation. "Treatment of Flood-Damaged Older and Historic Buildings." Technical Booklet No. 82 (1993), 16 pages. NTHP Order No. 2182.
Illustrated explanations of the risks associated with floodwaters, and practical suggestions for stabilizing buildings after the water recedes. Available from the National Trust for Historic Preservation through their online catalog, http://www.infoseries.com, under "Natural Disasters and Historic Resources." Free. Other publications are also available on earthquake hazard reduction and hurricane readiness.

United States Environmental Protection Agency. "Flood Cleanup: Avoiding Indoor Air Quality Problems." Fact Sheet 402-F-93-005. Washington, D.C.: EPA, 1993. 2 pp.
Discusses the serious problems caused by microbial growth and steps for cleaning. Copies are available from IAQ INFO, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, tel. (800) 438-4318.




Disaster Recovery Journal. A quarterly journal covering all aspects of disaster recovery, but especially strong from a business perspective, including electronic data and impact analysis. Available free in the US and Canada for those involved in contingency planning. Contact the Circulation Department, P.O. Box 510110, St. Louis, MO 63151, or order through their Web site, http://www.drj.com.

Drewes, Jeanne. "Computers: Planning for Disaster." Law Library Journal 81.103 (1989): 103–16.
A guide to main concerns and strategies.

Ianna, Frank. "Disaster Recovery for Businesses." Disaster Recovery Journal (Summer 1997): 39, 40, 42.
Brief but informative discussion on the risk of permanent loss of business due to disaster. A few good statistics with a synopsis of a simulated drama by AT&T.

Jones, Virginia A., and Kris E. Keyes. Emergency Management for Records and Information Programs. Prairie Village, Kansas: ARMA, 1997. An in-depth detailed sourcebook covering risk management, preparedness, recovery, and resumption of business.

Kahn, Miriam. Disaster Response and Prevention for Computers and Data. Columbus, OH: MBK Consulting, 1994.
An excellent desk reference manual for first response. Includes checklists to assist with planning. Available by contacting MBK at 60 N. Harding Rd., Columbus, OH 43209-1524, tel. (614) 239-8977, or e-mail mbkcons@netexp.net.




“Disaster Re-entry – Safety and Regulatory Issues, (updated 03/19 2004), in a paper entitled After Disaster:  A Museum Employee’s Guide to Re-entry”(revised 4/11/05) and in a paper published in New Solutions, Vol. 14(3) 199-217,2004 entitled “Gold Standard: for Remediation of WTC Contamination”.
Monona Rossol, M.S., M.F.A., Industrial Hygienist, Arts, Crafts and Theatre Safety Inc. and Safety Officer, United Scenic Artist’s, Local 829, International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), 181 Thompson Street, # 23, New York, NY 10012-2586  (ACTSNYC@cs.com) 212.777.0062  (artscraftstheatersafety.org)




85. Butcher-Younghans, Sherry and Gretchen E. Anderson. A Holistic Approach to Museum Pest Management. American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) Technical Leaflet 191. Nashville, TN: AASLH, 1990.
Detailed, practical advice for controlling a range of common museum pests. This and other publications can be ordered through their Web site, http://www.aaslh.org, by writing to 530 Church Street, Suite 600, Nashville, TN 37219-2325, or tel. (615) 255-2971.

86. Harmon, James. Integrated Pest Management in Museum, Library, and Archival Facilities: A Step by Step Approach for the Design, Development, Implementation, and Maintenance of an Integrated Pest Management Program. Indianapolis: Harmon Preservation Pest Management (P.O. Box 40262, Indianapolis, IN 46240), 1993. 140 pp.
A thorough, useful guide to IPM for collections-holding institutions in a 3-ring binder. Covers monitoring, identification, and non-chemical and chemical strategies for pest control for insects and other pests like pigeons.

87. Parker, Thomas A. Study on Integrated Pest Management for Libraries and Archives. Paris: UNESCO, General Information Program and UNISIST, 1988. Publication number PGI-88/W3/20. 119 pp.
The basics of pest management for cultural institutions.

88. Story, Keith O. Approaches to Pest Management in Museums. Suitland, MD: Conservation Analytical Laboratory, Smithsonian Institution, 1985. Out-of-print.
Some of the chemical treatment information is outdated, but identification and IPM strategies are good.

89. Wellheiser, Johanna G. Nonchemical Treatment Processes for Disinfection of Insects and Fungi in Library Collections. NY: K. G. Saur, 1992.
Excellent discussions on the various options for controlling pests in libraries.