Disaster response


Unexpected Closure guide

Closed by COVID-19?

A Practice Guide for managers of heritage collection that are closed at short notice because of an epidemic or pandemic

As you’ll be aware, many collecting organisations have closed to the public because of COVID-19, and most (if not all) personnel are working from home. The collection stores face extended closure, and there is a new risk to consider when people aren’t around on the same regular basis that applied until a week or so ago.
To guide and support our members and small organisations facing this new future, we have prepared a guide for advising how to ensure that a collection is not neglected despite the less-frequent attention that it receives during this period.

Download the guide here.

As we know the situation is changing very rapidly so if you have any feedback regarding the guide please email the secretariat@aiccm.org.au with your comments and we will collate the responses.


Fire, water, dust and mould can all badly damage collection materials. While a damaged item may never look new again, it is possible to preserve what remains.

Here are a few things to consider:

    • Attend to damaged material as quickly as possible, but never try to save possessions at the expense of your own or others' safety - evacuate as necessary and wait until danger zones have been cleared by emergency personnel
    • Health and safety hazards remain present after a disaster has ended - flood waters can contain waste matter and disease, burned structures may contain asbestos and chemical residues, and mould may be growing in areas that were recently wet
    • Wear protective clothing, gloves, eye protection and masks to minimise risks to your health and safety when salvaging damaged material
    • Minimise handling of damaged materials to prevent rubbing dirt further into fragile surfaces
    • Support weakened items in plastic containers or cardboard boxes
    • Keep dirty items separate from other materials, as soot, dirt and mould can easily be transferred to uncontaminated material.

Additional Resources