On June 19 & 20, 2013, four representatives from Hawai‘i: Lorinda Wong-Lau, State Civil Defense; Susan Shaner, Hawai‘i State Archives; Jane Hoffman, Hawai‘i Museums Association; and Malia Van Heukelem, University of Hawai‘i Library participated in one of three national Heritage Emergency Partnership forums in Portland Oregon held by the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies (COSLA).

COSLA is addressing the roles and responsibilities of state, territorial, and tribal libraries, archives, museums, and emergency management agencies to protect our cultural heritage in the face of major disasters. This project aims to promote the development of statewide cultural heritage emergency networks with the long-term goal of incorporating cultural heritage into state emergency management plans and programs.”

The Hawai‘i State Civil Defense Disaster Assistance Branch Chief, Lorinda Wong-Lau, has offered to connect us with Pacific Disaster Center training on web-based mapping overlay to add locations for historic sites, archives, libraries, and museums. There are also outreach opportunities where a Civil Defense representative can inform agencies what is eligible for FEMA funding and offer a courtesy walk-through of cultural heritage institutions.

Many of us working in Hawaii’s libraries, archives, and museums are familiar with and have participated in meetings related to the Connecting to Collections statewide planning grant that was funded by the Institute of Museums and Library Services in 2010-2011. The resulting document titled Preserving Cultural Heritage Collections of Hawai‘i: A Statewide Preservation Plan identified three common needs:

preservation information; education & training; and building a statewide preservation network. One of the goals for the statewide collection preservation network is to develop disaster response plans for collections.

Want to get involved? Email Malia Van Heukelem (maliavh@hawaii.edu) to be added to Hawaii’s Connecting to Collections listserv. In the event of a local collections emergency or disaster, the listserv will be utilized as a community resource for response and information.