Disaster Planning for Small Cultural & Historical Organizations

June 23, 2006, Historical Society of Michigan’s Annual Upper Penninsula Conference at Bay de Noc Community College in Escanaba

Jeanne Drewes, outgoing president of MACCH, guided members of Upper Peninsula historical societies, museums and libraries through steps to develop disaster plans and mitigation/salvage procedures June 23 at a half-day workshop in Escanaba. The workshop, sponsored by MACCH and the Historical Society of Michigan as part of the society’s annual U.P. History Conference, provided participants with print materials, templates, electronic resources and hands-on examples to use in creating a Disaster Plan for their own institution and recommendations for handling water-damaged objects, books, electronic files and papers.

Drewes, formerly on the staff of the Michigan State University Library and now chief of Binding and Collections Care at the Library of Congress, demonstrates damage that water disasters such as burst pipes, roof leaks and flood waters can have on books, paper records, tapes, electronic disks and CD ROMs, microfiche and microfilm, film, photos and art as member of the Chippewa County, Delta County and Menominee Range historical societies look on.

Mitigation methods and supplies for protecting and preserving water-damaged records and objects were displayed and explained, like this Gator Tails material for water absorption which captured attendees’ interest. Other workshop participants came from institutions in Cedarville, Sault Ste. Marie, Iron Mountain, Houghton and Sawyer and downstate St. Joseph, Plainwell and Holland.