Collections Emergency Kits

Leaky pipe dripping on your storage shelf? Smoke from a kitchen fire nearby? An earthquake causing objects to topple? Collections emergencies can be large and catastrophic, but also small and less severe. Having a well-stocked and thought-out emergency kit on hand can help mitigate the chronic nuisance of a ceiling drip or buy valuable time when planning a more coordinated response for a larger emergency. In honor of MayDay and the essence of being prepared, we will be discussing all things related to collections emergency kits. This talk will examine types of materials to include in your kit, how to manage inventory, where to store your kits, and how to educate your team on the value of this important resource. This webinar reports on the recent efforts of the Smithsonian Institution’s Preparedness and Response in Collections Emergencies (PRICE) Team to understand emergency kit status and needs at the Institution via a year-long survey of each of its museums, archives, and libraries. We will share useful tips from this survey and provide listeners with a great starting point to prepare their own collections emergency kits.


Melissa King is a preventive conservator who works for Conserv, a company developing collections preservation software that integrates risk management for environment, pests, disasters, and other agents of deterioration into a single tool. She was formerly the Samuel H. Kress Fellow in preventive conservation at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History and the Museum Conservation Institute. She graduated in 2020 from the Winterthur/University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation with a concentration in preventive conservation, where she spent her final year working at the Smithsonian’s Museum Conservation Institute, the National Museum of Asian Art, and the National Collections Program. Melissa is also passionate about the development of data science literacy for preventive conservation and is one of the co-founders of the global community, ConCode.

Rebecca A. Kaczkowski is the Preventive Conservator at the Smithsonian’s Museum Conservation Institute, where her projects relate to exhibits conservation, museum environments, collections care and storage, and training. Becky facilitates collaboration across the Institution via a research program focused on collections stewardship. She is an inaugural member of the Preparedness and Response in Collections Emergencies team, an initiative enhancing collections emergency resilience, and she co-chairs the Preservation Environments Subcommittee of the Smithsonian Collections Space Committee, an interdisciplinary partnership developing and promoting best practices in sustainable collections preservation environments. She earned an M.S. in art conservation from the University of Delaware and an M.A. in museum studies from The George Washington University. Becky is a Professional Associate of the AIC; she currently serves AIC as Chair of the Materials Selection & Specification Working Group and the Membership Committee.

Samantha Snell is the Collections Management Specialist for the Smithsonian Institution’s National Collections Program (NCP). In this position, she works to improve Smithsonian-wide collections emergency management and collections management professional development training as well as to support other priority pan-Institutional collections initiatives. She is the chair of the first central collections emergency response team for the Smithsonian, Preparedness and Response in Collections Emergencies (PRICE). Prior to joining NCP in 2016, Sam had a 15 year career in the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum’s collections department as a collections manager. She earned her BA in History from Moravian College, Bethlehem PA, and is a member of the AIC Emergency Committee (co-chair), C2CCare working group, CCN, and the Heritage Emergency National Task Force.


C2CCare Emergency Kits Presentation
C2CCare Emergency Kits Handout
C2CCare Emergency Kits – Chat Transcript

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Recording May 19, 2021
Duration: 1 Hour 30 Minutes