Fifty years after the Arno River breached its banks, the theme for the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (AIC) and the Canadian Association for Conservation (Association Canadienne pour la Conservation et la Restauration) (CAC-ACCR)'s Joint 44th Annual Meeting and 42nd Annual Conference was Emergency! Preparing for Disasters and Confronting the Unexpected in Conservation
Colleagues addressed in a broad-based way the impact of past, present, and future disasters on the protection of cultural property. In addition, confronting the unexpected in conservation--whether it occurs during the treatment of an artifact or during a natural disaster--was covered. The scope of the theme included immediate reactions, such as the application of crowd-mapping technology to aid response efforts, as well as longer term developments stemming from disasters, such as the adoption of simple strategies: Fail to Plan – Plan to Fail, effective risk assessment methodologies, the rapid transformation of damaged artifacts into objects of veneration, the repercussions of instantaneous visibility of destruction.
Preparing for Disasters includes, in addition to situations caused by natural disasters, accidents, terrorist activities, and climate change, even well-intended, but misguided interventions that elicit global amusement and/or outrage. Confronting the Unexpected involves surprises encountered along the way in any treatment and can be expanded to include all stakeholders, even future ones, who are affected by a disaster. Communities affected can cross geographic boundaries, social and economic populations, cultural and historical perspectives, and inter-disciplinary expertise.