Have you ever thought what may happen if a natural disaster such as the Christchurch earthquake struck in Patea, where our museum is located? We have! Caring for our collections is about more than simply displaying them, it’s about planning to keep them in good condition for future generations to enjoy.
Aotea Utanganui has a disaster preparedness plan which considers what the risks are, such as fire, flood and earthquake, looks at what can be done to mitigate the risks, and gives guidelines on what to do in the case of a major disaster. As with most museums, the first step is to look after the safety of people first, then worry about the building and collections.
Once visitors and staff are safe, and emergency services have done whatever they can, staff follow a process that includes reaching out to other institutions for assistance, contacting Museum Trustees, photographing damage and all steps taken, and slowly moving objects to safety whilst evaluating and recording their condition.
Although we hope we never have to use the plan, it’s comforting to know that should a disaster occur, we’re in a good position to act quickly to ensure the Museum and its collections are well cared for, and our people are safe.
The photo is of Christchurch after the 2011 quake.