The Foundation of the American Institute for Conservation (FAIC) is pleased to announce that the American Institute for Conservation – Collections Emergency Response Team (AIC-CERT) will now be known as the National Heritage Responders (NHR).
The NHR will operate within the Foundation’s new Heritage Emergency Programs (HEP). These programs include many of the initiatives formerly run by Heritage Preservation, such as Alliance for Response and the Risk Evaluation and Planning Program.
The services previously offered by AIC-CERT, called the “SWAT team for visual art” by the Wall Street Journal, will continue to be offered by the NHR. These include:
- A 24-hour hotline at 202.661.8068 for free advice by phone.
- Volunteer team deployments to come to the site at no cost to complete a damage assessment and help organize salvage operations (call 202.661.8068 to arrange).
- Online and print resources to help institutions and individuals recover.
Volunteers have provided assistance and advice to dozens of museums, libraries, and archives since 2007. Teams were on the ground responding to events large and small, from local flooding and furnace blow-backs to damage from Hurricane Ike in 2008 and Tropical Storm Irene in 2011. In the wake of Hurricane Sandy in 2012, volunteers worked with local conservators and artists to save thousands of works damaged by storm surge and mold. Volunteers have also deployed internationally; team members and other AIC conservators participated in an 18-month-long project in Haiti assisting with recovery of cultural materials damaged in the 2010 earthquake.
The National Heritage Responders are supported and managed by the Foundation of the American Institute for Conservation. In 2007 and again in 2010, FAIC received funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to support an advanced training program for conservators and other preservation professionals that resulted in a force of 107 responders trained to assess damage and initiate salvage of cultural collections after a disaster has occurred. Support for ongoing operations and emergency deployments is provided by individual donations and a leadership gift from Ironshore and its reinsurer, Lloyd’s of London.
The National Heritage Responders are ready to help. Resources and information on disaster recovery and salvage can be found on the AIC website at www.conservation-us.org/disaster.