The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 26, Number 6
Oct 2003

Alliance for Response: Building Local Disaster Networks

by Jane S. Long
Director, Heritage Emergency National Task Force, Heritage Preservation

Most institutions responsible for the care of art, artifacts, and records remain vulnerable to natural disasters and other emergencies. While many museums and libraries have stepped up emergency planning efforts in recent years, even the best-prepared institutions cannot protect collections and buildings without the help of their neighbors and professional first responders.

To help foster these critical partnerships, the Heritage Emergency National Task Force, a Heritage Preservation program, is convening invitation-only forums in four U.S. cities. Called Alliance for Response, the goals of the initiative are to strengthen relationships between the stewards of cultural heritage and first responders and to create effective local networks.

Forum participants will include leaders of museums, libraries, archives, and historic preservation organizations, as well as state and local emergency management officials. Program content is being developed by preservation professionals in each host city. In November, Alliance for Response Forums will be held at the Dallas Museum of Art and the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. The Cincinnati Art Museum will host the third forum, in December. The last program in the series will take place in New York City in early 2004.

After all forums have been completed, Heritage Preservation will publish a summary report and recommend guidelines to help others create and maintain community alliances. More information on the project is available at

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