Cultural organizations around the state have the opportunity to have trained facilitators help manage the process of creating a disaster plan for their institutions, thanks to a grant awarded to the Maine State Museum from Jane's Trust. In early spring interested organizations may participate in a facilitated planning project, anticipated from February - May.
The Maine State Museum has long recognized that disaster planning is a bit of administrative housekeeping that cultural organizations all too frequently put off until disaster strikes, and in 2013 it took the lead in helping to address this situation by forming the Cultural Emergency Resource Coalition (CERC: Maine). CERC is a collaborative effort with the Maine Emergency Management Agency and several cultural agencies and conservators, including the Maine State Library, the Maine State Archives, the Maine Historic Preservation Commission, and the professional association Maine Archives and Museums. In its first year CERC focused on surveying Maine’s cultural community to evaluate the state of disaster planning, developing three levels of disaster planning benchmarks and resources to help streamline disaster planning for institutions of various sizes and complexity, and sponsoring disaster planning workshops.
Through its work with a beta site, the Pejepscot Historical Society, CERC developed a guided process to work organizations through disaster planning. This fall, ten participating libraries, museums and historical societies are being guided through the process by a FEMA Corps team trained in using the guide and in issues facing cultural organizations. CERC is working with FEMA to arrange for a second team to come to Maine in early spring to conduct another round of facilitations.
Organizations interested in participating in the program may apply online through the CERC web site,www.cercmaine.org (under the Write Your Own Disaster Plan tab). Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Participants will be selected to represent a broad range of institutional sizes, geographical locations, collections types, and building construction, although we are particularly interested in hearing from town offices, all-volunteer organizations or institutions located inland. For more information about this project see the CERC web site or contact the CERC office at CERC.Maine@gmail.com or (207) 287-6696.