Disaster Resources

Earthquakes, fires, flooding, hurricanes. Fall 2017 appears to be non-stop disasters, particularly here in the U.S., Mexico, and the Caribbean. While families and communities may now be focused on survival and obtaining power, water, and shelter, the time will come when people are ready to turn their attention to the care of their cultural resources. What kinds of resources are available to aid in recovery? Many sources and links have been shared over the past few months, and I thought it would be helpful to combine them all into one blog post.


First, please consider giving to the SAA Foundation’s National Disaster Recovery Fund for Archives, which provides grants of up to $2,000 to archives in need. The NDRFA information page and application form have just been translated to Spanish (special thanks to Ana Rodriguez and María Isabel Molestina-Kurlat, co-chairs of LACCHA) to better reach all those who have been affected by recent natural disasters. As SAA President, I am a member of the Foundation Board, and we truly wish to encourage applications for these funds.

The Fund provides grants that support the recovery of archival collections from major disasters, regardless of region or repository type. Any repository that holds archival records or special collections is eligible to apply for a grant. The repository need not be a member of SAA. Grant monies may be used for the direct recovery of damaged or at-risk archival materials; such services as freeze drying, storage, transportation of materials, and rental facilities; supplies, including acid-free boxes and folders, storage cartons, cleaning materials, plastic milk crates, and protective gear; and to defray the costs for volunteers or other laborers who assist with the recovery. Access to these disaster funds as well as direct donations for Mexican and non-US Caribbean Islands archives are on the November agendas for both the Council and the SAA Foundation.

There are additional funding opportunities from federal and foundation sources for those in need. The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Chairman’s Emergency Grants can provide up to $30,000 in affected disaster areas.

The National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC), the granting arm of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has funding available.

Mellon Foundation: In the Eye of the Storm: How Federal Funding Rescues Arts and Culture in Times of Disaster.

The American Library Association has disaster funds available for those affected by hurricanes in the continental U.S. and Caribbean, as well as for those in Mexico affected by the earthquake.

Northeast Document Conservation Center: After the Hurricane, Resources for Saving Collections

Finally, the Asociación civil Apoyo al Desarrollo de Archivos y Bibliotecas de México (ADABI de México, A.C.) provides support for Archives and Libraries in Mexico.

Resources for Preserving Our Cultural Heritage:

For immediate advice or assistance: See the Northeast Document Conservation Center’s Emergency Resources or contact NEDCC’s 24/7 Emergency Hotline at 855-245-8303, or Contact the National Heritage Responders at 202-661-8068.

FEMA and the Smithsonian Institution co-sponsor the Heritage Emergency National Task Force (HENTF), a partnership of more than 50 national service organizations and federal agencies created to protect cultural heritage from the damaging effects of natural disasters and other emergencies. To reach the administrator of the HENTF team, please email hentf@si.edu.

SAA provides a listing of Disaster Response and Relief Resources and also see May Day: Saving Our Archives Annotated Resources (SAA) as well as Hurricane Relief Resources (SAA).

Association for Library Collections & Technical Services, American Library Association, Disaster Preparedness Clearinghouse

American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works: Courses in Emergency Management
for Cultural Heritage Responders

International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property

Finally, it is critically important that we all plan for future disasters that are sure to come. dPlan is an Online Disaster-Planning Tool for Cultural and Civic Institutions developed by the Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC) and the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC). The development of the template was funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training (NCPTT).  As we look to the possibility of more disasters in the future, please keep in mind SAA’s Issue Brief on Archives and the Environment.

As always, if you have questions or suggestions, or ideas about how we can improve  disaster responsiveness for archives across the country, please let me know at president@archivists.org



7 responses to “Disaster Resources

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