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Join the BC Heritage Response Network

MOA is pleased to announce the receipt of a grant from Canadian Heritage’s Museum Assistance Program, in partnership with the Royal BC Museum (RBCM), Burnaby Village Museum and the BC Museum Association (BCMA), to develop and deliver professional development opportunities relating to collections emergency salvage to the museum sector in BC. This is a very exciting initiative that will support the further development of the BC Heritage Emergency Response Network (BC HERN).

The BC Heritage Emergency Response Network is a growing network of art, culture and heritage professionals and volunteers in BC who feel morally and professionally obliged to plan for emergency situations and to support other cultural institutions in the event of localized emergencies that impact collections. The initiative was borne from the identified lack of a unified support plan for disaster response and collections salvage in the province in light of the growing risk to collections due to climate change.

Flood in MOA’s lobby, January 2014. Photo by Heidi Swierenga.

The formation of the network is based on two principles: establishing connections between institutions, and training individuals in these institutions on collections salvage procedures. The BC HERN working group is committed to finding a way to offer one-day training workshops around the province on an annual basis. Content development for these workshops is currently underway with the Canadian Conservation Institute. Once staff are trained in salvage and recovery, their institutions will be incorporated into the growing number of response zones throughout the province.

The success of this network model depends upon input and coordination from a variety of collections care professionals from all reaches of the Province. Support from the network may look different depending on the nature of the emergency, where the emergency is located in the province, and how close the impacted institution is to trained network members. If hands-on support is not possible, then phone or online support would be offered. Through the BC HERN, you will have access to information and training, resources and support at times that are impossible to predict.  You will be proactive and connected so that risks and damage are minimized.

How to join BC-HERN

There are four requirements for membership:

  1. Your institution must have a disaster plan in place or you must commit to developing a plan.
  2. You must have emergency salvage supplies for collections on site.
  3. 1 – 3 people within your institution must commit to undertake salvage training.
  4. You must commit to support others in need.

There is no cost to join. It is assumed that any incurred cost would be covered through existing institutional budgets or insurance claims that are initiated post emergency.

Upcoming Training Opportunities

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has required us to postpone our in-person workshop series but the new 2022 schedule is in the works. Stay tuned and safe!

To join BC HERN or for more information, please contact Heidi Swierenga, MOA’s Senior Conservator: