Museum Monday – Alliance for Response

When disaster strikes, most people receive assistance from local services, volunteers, and others. If we think about how we are going to work together prior to an emergency, we will be able to move more swiftly and effectively when that inevitable unplanned event occurs.

This is the idea behind Alliance for Response, a program of Heritage Preservation, a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of our nation’s cultural heritage. The Alliance for Response program encourages area museums and their local first responder community (such as the fire department, the police, etc) to meet prior to an emergency. Together, they encourage each other to prepare to respond to emergencies at cultural institutions. There are almost twenty Alliance for Response chapters in the country, from New York City, to Vermont, Texas, and Denver.

Typical Alliance for Response activities might include:

  • Networking between first responders and museum staff.
  • Educational lectures on emergency preparedness and the first responder community for museum staff.
  • Tabletop exercises and drills to test decision making through mock emergencies.
  • Creation of a museum response team within the area that can contribute expertise in an emergency to museums with less resources.

To learn more about establishing a chapter of Alliance for Response in your area, visit the Heritage Preservation website. And while you are there, remember tomorrow is May Day – another program of Heritage Preservation – do one thing for emergency preparedness on May 1, 2012.

About Becky Fifield

Becky Fifield is a cultural heritage professional with 25 years experience in institutions large and small. She is currently Head of Collection Management for the Special Collections of the New York Public Library. An advocate for preventive conservation, Ms. Fifield is a Professional Associate of the American Institute for Conservation, Chair of the AIC Collection Care Network, and former Chair of Alliance for Response NYC. She is also a scholar of 18th century female unfree labor and dress. There's a bit of pun in the title The Still Room, delineating a quiet space brimming with the ingredients of memory, where consideration, analysis, and wordcraft can take place. Ms. Fifield’s interests include museum practice, dress history, historic preservation, transit, social and women’s history, food, current events, geneaology, roadtrips, and considerations on general sense of place. Becky and her husband, Dr. V, live in the Hudson Valley.