THRAB Emergency Planning and Response Workshops Prepare Archivists for Disasters

American Institute for Conservation’s “Emergency Response and Salvage Wheel” and other sample resources from THRAB’s Emergency Planning and Response workshops.

The Texas Historical Records Advisory Board (THRAB) serves the archival community with a range of ongoing efforts supporting the preservation of the historical record. With funding from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC), THRAB provides free training opportunities to those working in repositories around the state. As part of the offerings for 2019, THRAB coordinated a series of educational webinars and workshops designed to help archivists combat threats from natural and other disasters by preparing collections and staff for such emergencies. Rebecca Elder, a preservation consultant who runs Elder Preservation, created and taught the Emergency Planning and Response series, which included hands-on workshops complete with wet-salvage exercises and a two-part online component.

On-site workshops were held over two days and addressed each phase of dealing with major emergency situations in an archive. Elder guided participants through processes like developing an emergency plan, assembling a team, establishing salvage priorities and purchasing appropriate supplies and disaster gear. Workshop participants performed a risk assessment exercise in the facilities in which the workshops took place and learned to identify possible threats.

Day two involved a wet-salvage project where participants learned methods of handling and recovering soaked papers, books, posters, cassette tapes, computer disks, negatives and photographs. The images above capture participants in action as they work on recovery techniques.THRAB offered the workshop at Rice University’s Fondren Library in Houston and the TSLAC’s State Records Center in North Austin.

THRAB also supports the various Archives Bazaars happening across Texas in 2019 and 2020, produces an Archives Month poster each October, honors institutions and individuals with the Archival Award of Excellence and funds a Special Award for National History Day with the Texas State Historical Association’s Texas History Day program. Keep up with THRAB happenings at

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