BC HERN Workshops

Preservation and Disaster Planning for Archives with AABC

Register ONLINE here

Preservation and disaster planning are an important part of archival stewardship and managing collections, no matter the size of your organization. On a daily basis, archival records are at risk due to unsuitable storage environments and disasters like fire or flood. Responding to an emergency heightens the unique preservation requirements of records and the need for clearly defined roles and responsibilities so staff can quickly and effectively take action.

Through a combination of 4 online webinar sessions and practical exercises, workshop participants will come away from the training with awareness of the requirements for accepted storage and preservation standards, effective emergency response planning, and the confidence to respond in an emergency.

The AABC pleased to work with our BC Heritage Emergency Response Network (BC HERN) colleagues to incorporate a virtual demonstration session where participants will learn how to salvage different formats of archival records that have been damaged by water and fire. Participants then practice what they learned through an at home / office disaster and recovery exercise with a selection of AABC provided archival materials.  After reporting back to the workshop, the final webinar provides participants with the opportunity to discuss their results, what worked and what didn’t, ask questions and learn about the efforts of fellow workshop attendees.

Deliverables of the workshop include:

a) review of best practices of archival storage conditions;

b) a risk assessment of your archival collection and building envelope;

c) creation of a disaster plan template applicable to your institution with discussion on the various components including how to put together a disaster response team and essential emergency supplies;

d) skills to develop a triage system for salvage and how to prioritize collections for treatment;

e) practice the salvage of various archival records damaged by water.

Workshop delivery format: The workshop will be delivered online via 4 training sessions on Zoom, participants will be required to complete practical exercises at home or work during the workshop series.


Workshop Schedule & Outline:

Monday, November 9, 2020 (10:00am – 12:30pm), theme: storage conditions and risk assessment

Tuesday, November 10, 2020 (10:00am – 12:30pm), theme: your disaster plan, triage and priorities

Friday, November 13, 2020 (10:00am – 12:30pm), theme: salvage and recovery, demonstration of techniques

Friday, November 20, 2020 (10:00am – 12:30pm), theme: salvage and recovery Q&A


Workshop Registration Details:

Registration dates: September 21 – October 23, 2020

Cost: $180.00 for AABC & BC GLAM Members*,  $230.00 for non-members

*We are pleased to offer a reduced registration rate for this workshop which is supported by the BC Arts Council. GLAM colleagues are also eligible for the member rate and must have a current membership in BCMA or BCLA. Confirmation of membership status will be required.

Note: Due to the distribution of supplies for this workshop, priority registration will be given to members of the BC heritage community.

Registration Limit: 20 participants

Learn more on AABC’s website 



2020: Emergency Response & Salvage for Cultural Institutions – POSTPONED 

Due to COVID-19, the upcoming BC HERN June workshop has been postponed. Check back soon for updated dates. Registrants will be contacted regarding a refund. 

Date and time: tba

Location:  Laurel Packing House, 1304 Ellis Street, Kelowna, BC

Target Audience: Cultural sector workers

Enrollment Limit: 24

Cost: $35.00

This 2-day, hands-on workshop, delivered by the BC Heritage Emergency Response Network (BC HERN) will provide training and guidance on emergency response and collections salvage (mixed and archival materials). This workshop is for small museum professionals and volunteers with little to no training in responding to emergencies related to collections.

View Workshop Goals
  • Building confidence to engage emergency situations
  • Gaining skills in the salvage of museum and archival collections
  • Developing a supportive professional network
View Workshop Content
  • Introduction to the BC HERN
  • Case Studies – the anatomy of an emergency
  • Health & Safety including the psychology of responders
  • Documentation of site and collections
  • Salvage primer – care and response techniques for collections salvage
  • Problem solve an emergency scenario through a tabletop emergency response exercise
  • Mockup hands-on exercise involving a variety of techniques that can be used to improve outcomes for water damaged collections
Workshop Facilitators

Elisabeth Czerwinski, Conservator, Burnaby Village Museum

Anne Despatches, Conservator in private practice, specializing in emergency planning and response

Tara Fraser, Senior Conservator, Vancouver Art Gallery

Heidi Swierega, Senior Conservator, Museum of Anthropology at UBC


BC HERN is a growing provincial network of museum workers who are trained to respond to localized collections-related emergencies. This workshop is one of the institutional requirements for joining the BC HERN and the training received will ensure there is a strong network of salvage responders available within the province. Those who do not wish to join the BC HERN are also welcomed.