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MayDay May 1 heritage preparednessWith spring and break-up just around the corner (please, please, please!) one thing we often forget until too late are family heirlooms, photos, records, manuscripts and so on. Heritage Emergency National Task Force special day is aimed at more formal institutions, but every home or tribal office would benefit from considering emergency preparedness for tangible cultural resources.

If you are in Alaska, contact the state museum in Juneau which has a grant to help local museums with preservation and documentation efforts. Bruce Kato, Chief Curator (bruce DOTkato AT alaska DOTgov),
Telephone: (907) 465-4866, http://www.museums.state.ak.us

April is also Alaska Archaeology Month. This year’s theme is archaeology associated with travel along the National Historic Iditarod Trail.

Archives, libraries, museums, and historic preservation organizations across America are setting aside May 1 to participate in MayDay, a national effort to protect collections from disasters…. Here are some ideas from the Heritage Emergency National Task Force:

  • * If you have a disaster plan, dust it off and bring it up to date.
  • * If you don’t have a plan, make a timeline for developing one.
  • * Get to know your local firefighters and police. Invite them to tour your institution and give pointers on safety and preparedness. A poster outlining tips for working with emergency responders ( www.heritagepreservation.org/catalog/) is available from the Task Force.
  • * Identify the three biggest risks to your collection or building (such as leaking water pipe, heavy snow, or power failure) and outline steps to mitigate them.
  • * Conduct a building evacuation drill and evaluate the results.
  • * Update your staff contact information and create a wallet-size version of your emergency contact roster. See the Pocket Response PlanTM (PRePTM) at www.statearchivists.org/prepare/framework/prep.htm.
  • * Eliminate hazards such as storage in hallways, blocked fire exits, or improper storage of paints or solvents.
  • * Provide staff with easily accessible disaster response information, such as www.heritageemergency.org.
  • * Join forces with nearby institutions and agree to assist each other in case of a disaster.
  • * Establish a method of identifying objects that are most important to your mission, irreplaceable, or most fragile, making evacuation simpler when disaster hits.
  • * Register for a free course to learn how your institution fits into existing emergency response protocols. A list is available at www.heritagepreservation.org/lessons/courses.html

Heritage Preservation is offering its popular Field Guide to Emergency Response and Emergency Response and Salvage Wheel at special MayDay sale prices from April 15 to May 31.

Related posts–
Cangerlaagpiit (Epidemics) — historical lessons
Alaska History reading list
Alaska history books
Alaska Territorial Guard celebrates 60th anniversary
Lydia T. Black 1925 to 2007
Letters from 1918 SW Alaska British Columbia
Dog-Team Doctor 2
another sneeze video
Jesse Lee Home, Alaska and the pandemic of 1919
More historical resources (Brevig Mission)
More historical pandemic resources (Michigan archives)
Online curriculum for Alaska high school students about their state


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