In September 2012, Hurricane Sandy hit the northeastern United States, resulting in at least 233 deaths and damage estimated at over $70 billion. The Smithsonian provided conservation expertise and equipment to help New York City museums and performing arts institutions affected by the storm.

Smithsonian conservation experts assessed damage at the Martha Graham Dance Company in New York, whose important collections of theatrical sets, many designed by Isamu Noguchi, costumes, and ephemera were flooded for several days. Working closely with staff and volunteers from the American Institute for Conservation, the materials were either removed and freeze dried or removed to a warehouse for air drying. The Smithsonian supported transportation of the paper collections and arranged for freeze drying (for mold mitigation) with BELFOR USA on a pro bono basis. The collections have since been stabilized and returned to the Martha Graham Dance Company.

For resources related to preparing for and responding to a disaster involving domestic cultural heritage, please visit the Resources section of the Heritage Emergency National Task Force pages.