National Task Force on Emergency Response
See also: ARMA
Members Participate in WTC Tragedy Task Force
two high-level representatives to a meeting of the National Task Force
on Emergency Response held September 18, 2001, in Washington, D.C. Maygene
Daniels, past president of SAA and Tom Connors, SAA Council member, reported
on the meeting, the purpose of which was to share information concerning
the status of cultural institutions in the area of 9/11's attack. This
Task Force is an excellent means of helping archives and cultural institutions
rescue community heritage materials after devastation. Maygene is SAA's
designated representative to the Task Force. It is through the active
involvement of dedicated volunteers such as Maygene and Tom that SAA can
contribute to healing the wounds of this tragedy.
executive director of Heritage Preservation, opened the discussion by
reminding the group that Jamie Lee Whitten, former FEMA director, observed
that in a disaster, after people have health, safety, shelter, and food,
they turn to the things that they care about - their personal and community
cultural heritage. Reger also emphasized that recovery of cultural materials
should not be an issue until human safety is assured and the area secured.
Nonetheless, he pointed out that we are in the position to help when the
correct time comes. The following goals were identified:
information on collections affected by the disaster to help FEMA in
its relief and recovery. The American Association of Museums already
is gathering information about affected museums (somehow sharing information
on its web site?) Jane Long of the Task Force will be a coordinating
point for this information among all cultural institutions, and will
work through John Ketchum of FEMA. Information on lost and endangered
historical records will be an important component of this.
- Be prepared
to provide information to institutions on how to recover from the disaster:
Government aid. A representative of the Small Business Administration
explained that SBA is the government's emergency loan banker. Loans
are available to private nonprofit organizations as well as to businesses.
FEMA also provides relief, especially for individuals. The Task Force
has prepared a booklet: Resources for Recovery: Post-Disaster Aid for
Cultural Institutions, available on the Heritage Preservation web site.
It is being updated now with new information.
expertise, supplies, vacant space may be needed. Again the Task Force
can coordinate information, but input from our community will be important.
information out to the general public concerning how to retrieve and
clean personal photographs, papers, works of art. Information already
is available (including the Task Force's "Recovery Wheel")
It would be particularly helpful to have media coverage. The Task
has prepared a press release.
the meeting was a useful early step in recovery and in identifying actions
of our various organizations.
further reported that:
represented included the two Endowments (George Farr for NEH), NCC (Bruce
Craig), AHA (Arnita Jones), ARL, CLIR (Abby Smith), Small Business Administration,
GSA, NARA (Norvell Jones), American Institute for Conservation, Society
for Historical Archaeology, President's Commission on Arts and Humanities,
AAM, IMLS and a few others that I didn't catch. There were 23 people present.
Task Force on Emergency Response has produced a press release entitled "When the Dust Settles: Tips for Safely Cleaning Family Treasures." (In
disasters, the problem is usually water or fire damage. In this case
it's dust and soot damage.)
breakdown of cultural institutions in the "no go" area (below
14th Street) was given. In the affected area there are 42 museums, 57
archives and libraries and 245 outdoor sculptures.
Business Administration will make loans and in some case grants available
to private nonprofit groups for repair and rebuilding and also for restoration
providing space for resource groups to work out of.
suggested that 3 working groups be formed:
an assessment of damage group,
(2) an information to cultural institutions group,
(3) an information to individuals group
communications will take place via an e-mail reflector of attendees.
information about the Task Force may be found at http://www.heritagepreservation.org/PROGRAMS/taskfer.htm
or by calling 202-634-1422 / 888-388-6789.