Disaster response

Fire, water, dust and mould can all badly damage collection materials. While a damaged item may never look new again, it is possible to preserve what remains.

Here are a few things to consider:

    • Attend to damaged material as quickly as possible, but never try to save possessions at the expense of your own or others' safety - evacuate as necessary and wait until danger zones have been cleared by emergency personnel
    • Health and safety hazards remain present after a disaster has ended - flood waters can contain waste matter and disease, burned structures may contain asbestos and chemical residues, and mould may be growing in areas that were recently wet
    • Wear protective clothing, gloves, eye protection and masks to minimise risks to your health and safety when salvaging damaged material
    • Minimise handling of damaged materials to prevent rubbing dirt further into fragile surfaces
    • Support weakened items in plastic containers or cardboard boxes
    • Keep dirty items separate from other materials, as soot, dirt and mould can easily be transferred to uncontaminated material.

Conservation of Museum, Gallery and Historical Society Collections

As a result of the 2012 bushfires, Arts Victoria has an established protocol for immediate responses to disasters impacting collections of cultural heritage. Three peak bodies are signatories to this protocol:

Under the terms of this protocol, these bodies can spend up to $5,000 per affected organisation, on emergency conservation work to conserve damaged historical/cultural collections.

Museums, Galleries and Historical Societies wanting to access this funding are asked to contact their relevant peak body. Need more information? See Creative Victoria

Additional Resources