Regional Emergency Networks: VACDaRN’s Response to Vermont’s Severe Weather and Flooding

On July 10th, 2023, after weeks of inclement weather, it began to rain across Vermont.  The saturated ground could not absorb the water from the sky or the rivers, and there was widespread flooding. The Vermont Arts & Culture Disaster and Resilience Network (VACDaRN), organized in 2018, activated and provided assistance to several cultural heritage and historical records repositories. Coordination through this network enables artists, as well as arts and heritage organizations, to work together to share expertise and resources, mobilize response for mutual assistance during emergencies, and engage collectively with first responders and government emergency management agencies. 

Several months later, recovery work is ongoing and is expected to continue through 2024.  As part of FAIC’s annual May Day programming, two members of the VACDaRN Steering Team will speak about their work in the immediate aftermath of the flooding, the long tail of recovery, and what they learned we need to improve before the next disaster.



Carolyn Frisa is the founder and head conservator at Works on Paper, LLC, a private practice conservation studio established in Vermont in 2008. Carolyn has been a peer-reviewed Professional Associate of the American Institute for Conservation (AIC) since 2007 and currently serves as an officer of AIC’s Conservators in Private Practice Specialty Group. Carolyn is on the Advisory Committee of the Vermont Arts & Culture Disaster Resilience Network (VACDaRN) and has been a member of AIC’s National Heritage Responders since 2011. She is a founding member of the Collections Care and Conservation Alliance. She is also a member of the Institute of Conservation, the New England Conservation Association, and the New England Museum Association. Carolyn is part of the team of multi-discipline conservators dedicated to documenting and preserving historic stage scenery, Curtains without Borders.  She received an undergraduate degree in art history from Bryn Mawr College and completed her master’s degree in paper conservation at Camberwell College of Arts. After receiving her degree, she worked the following year as an assistant paper conservator at the Tate Britain Museum. Before establishing Works on Paper, Carolyn was an associate paper conservator at the Northeast Document Conservation Center in Andover, Massachusetts.

Rachel Onuf is the Director of the Vermont Historical Records Program, based at the Vermont State Archives & Records Administration, where she has worked since 2017.   She is an active member of the Collections Care and Conservation Alliance (CCCA) and the Vermont Arts & Culture Disaster and Resilience Network (VACDaRN) and serves on the NEDCC Advisory Committee. Rachel received her BA from Swarthmore College, an MA in Library and Information Science from the University of Michigan and an MA in American History from the University of Virginia.  Past jobs include serving as Roving Archivist for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and Director of Archives at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.  She taught as an adjunct for Simmons College School of Library and Information Science and worked as an independent consultant for many years.