The Smithsonian Cultural Rescue Initiative (SCRI) often hears from its stakeholder communities that there is a lack of training opportunities in cultural heritage disaster risk management and that there are few chances to work with heritage professionals with disaster response skills and experience. The capacity of museum organizations to send staff to professional training on this topic is also limited, which in turn, limits their capacity to adequately prepare for a disaster. Due to this nationwide need, SCRI and HENTF have begun developing pilot “HEART on the Road” training programs that bring select segments of the HEART program to communities that express this need. In past trainings, we have relied on HEART graduates to help facilitate these “On the Road” programs, and they have been vital in helping us take the content from the D.C. curriculum and contextualize it to their respective regions. Through this local effort, cultural stewards and emergency managers can continue to build relationships with one another and develop appropriate plans for the region they serve.

How to bring HEART on the Road to you

We welcome proposals from interested cultural or emergency management professionals and organizations that wish to use the program as an opportunity to improve their skills and understanding of each other’s role in a statewide disaster. Employing the HEART program to instill consistent and routine readiness in local heritage stewards is the most effective means of preventing the loss of priceless heritage. Though HEART on the Road is traditionally hosted by an individual cultural institution, the training is meant to benefit a wider range of cultural institutions and emergency management professionals. All potential HEART on the Road participant groups need to be a mixture of state, territorial, tribal, and/or local level professionals.

We work closely with a hosting organization on the particulars, from planning to delivery. In general, however, the host is responsible for all venue costs and arrangements, including meeting space, security, audio-visual needs, and anything else necessary to conduct the training at their site. The HEART team will work with each host organization in developing and designing the practical exercises to fit their available space and arrange for travel for the necessary subject matter experts.

Would bringing a HEART on the Road to your location be beneficial to your area? Please email us at hentf@si.edu to begin the discussion!

Looking for other ways to find training?

Our colleagues at the Foundation for Advancement in Conservation oversee the Alliance for Response (AFR) networks, which foster cooperative disaster assistance among museums, libraries, archives, and historical properties and sites through planning meetings, informational forums, and routine interdisciplinary trainings. We encourage you to connect with an existing AFR network in your region and learn how to integrate within their established network.

Many of the regional conservation centers within the U.S. offer advice and training courses to interested cultural professionals, not just in disaster preparedness, but in all aspects of collections management! For more information, check out the Regional Alliance for Preservation here.