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COSTEP Massachusetts: An Example of Statewide Preparedness for Cultural Heritage Resources. Society of American Archivists Austin Texas August 15, 2009. Massachusetts Background.

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costep massachusetts an example of statewide preparedness for cultural heritage resources

COSTEP Massachusetts: An Example of Statewide Preparedness for Cultural Heritage Resources

Society of American Archivists

Austin Texas

August 15, 2009

massachusetts background
Massachusetts Background
  • Statewide Preservation Program at the MBLC since 1988. Worked on a number of disaster- related initiatives since then with FEMA, MEMA, the MA, and the NPS.
    • Cultural Resources Disaster Planning and Mitigation Task Force (1996-1999)
    • Massachusetts Emergency Management Team (MEMT) (1996- )
    • Alliance for Response (2003)
    • Cultural Emergency Management Team (CEMT) (2004-2009)
    • Massachusetts Recovery Alliance (2008- )
  • NEDCC received an IMLS grant to create a statewide emergency preparedness a framework for cultural resources
    • To get cultural resources engaged in emergency preparedness
    • Encourage cultural resources to get into the emergency response framework at the state, regional, local and institutional levels
    • Chose Massachusetts to serve as one of the initial pilot projects partially because of the involvement with the emergency management community over the previous decade
costep massachusetts pilot project
COSTEP Massachusetts (Pilot Project)
  • Spearheaded by MBLC and MA
  • Began by working our way through the COSTEP Framework with comments going back to the project director
  • Working with a large Advisory Group and a smaller Steering Committee
  • Logical step for COSTEP Massachusetts to work closely with MEMA given past history of cooperation between MEMA and MBLC
costep massachusetts pilot project1
COSTEP Massachusetts (Pilot Project)
  • The large Advisory Group is composed of representatives of government agencies, private non-profits, public and academic libraries and archives, museums, emergency management agencies (local, state, and federal), historical societies, etc.
    • Has met on a regular basis to move the process ahead
    • Six committees were created to focus on specific aspects of the process
costep massachusetts pilot project2
COSTEP Massachusetts (Pilot Project)
  • Hazards, Vulnerability and Mitigation
  • GIS and Planning
  • Content
  • Outreach
  • Training
  • Sustainability
  • Much of their work has focused on components necessary to implement activities at the regional and especially the local levels
costep massachusetts pilot project3
COSTEP Massachusetts (Pilot Project)
  • Developed a Cultural Resources Disaster Information Form
    • Two-page form to provide the EMDs critical information about the municipality’s cultural resources’ collections, facilities, resources, and needs
    • Distributed to cultural heritage institutions and to local EMDs for inclusion in local CEMPs
costep massachusetts pilot project4
COSTEP Massachusetts (Pilot Project)
  • Creating a Command and Control structure that can be implemented by municipalities to address cultural resources needs and response to a disaster at a local level
    • Focusing on making the needs of these resources known to the EMDs without overwhelming them
    • Collaborative and cooperative effort at the municipal level
costep massachusetts pilot project6
COSTEP Massachusetts (Pilot Project)
  • Developing pilot projects in a number of communities to develop a more appropriate mechanism for integrating cultural resources into the local emergency management scheme
    • Opportunities for cultural resources, EMDs, and town officials to work together to prepare all organizations for responding to a disaster.
    • Chance to test the Command and Control structure within municipalities
costep massachusetts pilot project7
COSTEP Massachusetts (Pilot Project)
  • Working withMEMA staff to create an Annex to the state’s Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan (CEMP) for cultural resources
    • Would incorporate cultural resources into statewide emergency planning rather than creating a parallel track
    • Would make cultural resources much more visible in the event of a disaster
    • Would facilitate a more coordinated response effort at the municipal and state level to the needs of cultural resources during and following a disaster
costep massachusetts pilot project8
COSTEP Massachusetts (Pilot Project)
  • Coordinating activities with MEMA and FEMA in using public libraries as Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs)
    • Libraries are neutral sites, known to public, ADA compliant, have meeting rooms, Internet connection, parking, public access computers, knowledgeable staff
    • Serving as a way to bring library directors and EMDs together to begin to create a more comprehensive disaster response team within the community
  • Cultural heritage assets have been ignored for too long when developing disaster plans, responding to, and recovering from large-scale disasters
  • It is crucial to align the disaster preparedness and response needs with those of the state’s emergency management community.
  • It is crucial for the cultural heritage community to familiarize itself with standard emergency management protocols and language (e.g. ICS).
  • COSTEP provides a framework to bring people from state and local government and the cultural heritage and emergency management communities together to address the needs of the cultural heritage community in the event of a disaster
  • COSTEP is not a template but a flexible process that can be adapted to different state situations
  • COSTEP Massachusetts is a work in progress and to succeed everyone’s participation is crucial.
Visit the wikis at:


Gregor Trinkaus-Randall, Preservation Specialist, Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners

Michael Comeau, Assistant Archivist, Massachusetts Archives