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Museum Risk Management - Collection Hazard Identification and Exposure Assessment, Part 2 (AIHce EXP 2020 OnDemand)

Course Description:
Recorded at Virtual AIHce EXP 2020

Museums and art galleries present unique challenges protecting collections and assessing hazards in historic building materials. Innovative fire protection strategies may be required to protect the structure, as well as occupants and collections within, while providing enough flexibility to accommodate the unique museum environment. Inspections of historic structures typically require non-destructive methods, posing challenges when surveying for hazardous components such as asbestos or lead-containing materials. In this interactive session, we will discuss the strategies used by the Smithsonian to safeguard storage of specimens preserved in flammable liquids, as well as tips on fire marshal interaction and achieving a user-friendly collections space. Fire suppression/detection, fire codes, and spill control will be reviewed. Next, we will discuss the collaborative process used by the Art Institute of Chicago to investigate the use of inert gas fire protection systems (INERGEN) within the renovation of the Prints and Drawings Department, housing primarily art works on paper. This particular collection resides in a historic landmark part of AIC recognized as grandfathered as it relates to Chicago City Fire Codes and wet suppression. Finally, we will provide examples of asbestos and lead within historical structures, describing the strategies for surveying hazardous building materials while limiting destructive testing which negatively impacts the preservation of the building.

Learning Objectives:
Upon completion, the participant will be able to:

  • Recognize the fire hazards presented by museum, scientific, and cultural heritage environments.
  • Apply collaborative strategies for implementing fire protection/suppression systems.
  • Discuss sampling techniques that minimize impact on museum and historic house structural integrity.
  • Leverage resources and AIHA volunteer opportunities to assist museums and cultural heritage managers.

Contact Hours:

Presentation Date:

Kathryn Makos, MPH CIH
Smithsonian Institution (ret)
Rockville, MD United States of America

Mr. Michael Kilby, PE
Smithsonian Institution
Washington, DC United States of America

Brandy Howard, CIH, CSP
Landmark Environmental, Inc.
Littleton, CO, United States of America

Ms. Margaret Skimina, CIT, CSP
Art Institute of Chicago
CHICAGO, IL United States of America