The BC Heritage Emergency Response Network (BC HERN) is a growing network of arts, 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 born 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. For more information on the project’s background, check out this MUSE article: Building an Emergency Response Network for BC Collections.

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, as long as there is demand. 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.

For more information please contact Heidi Swierenga at and check out their website!

Click here to learn how to join!


Check out the coverage from the BC HERN Workshop in Prince George, Fall 2019


If your institution has experienced a disaster, limited emergency funding may be available to you from the Canadian Heritage Museum Assistance Program.

Click here for more information

Click here for more disaster resources