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Would you be ready?

August 1, 2013

Would your heritage organization be able to respond if a rain storm flooded your building? What about if a water pipe burst in your storage area? Would you know what to do?

Flooding at the Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art (Courtesy Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art)

Flooding at the Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art (Courtesy Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art)

In the spring of 2012, the Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art (MAC) flooded – for the fourth time – when 2 to 3 inches of heavy rain fell within a half-hour. Paulette Gagnon, the museum’s director, described how the museum’s basement had one to three feet of standing water, sewage, and other contaminates. Cleaning and decontaminating the area took several days and the museum was closed to visitors and an exhibit cut short due to the flood. The flood damaged hundreds of works of rare art. Both the museum and the City of Montreal recognized the city’s aging infrastructure as one of the reasons the deluge led to the museum flooding. Gagnon explained, “It’s part of our heritage . . . we have to protect it and put it in a secure place. That’s why museums exist and if our basements aren’t adequate then there’s a big problem.” Until a solution is found to handle the city’s drainage issues, the museum will continue to be in danger of flooding during heavy rain storms. Read more about the flood of the MAC.

To help prepare Oregon’s heritage organizations to deal with emergencies, disasters, and collections care, Oregon Heritage is offering several workshops this September and October. The workshops will be focused on basic and advanced collections care and on disaster response and recovery for museums, archives, and libraries. All of the workshops are FREE and open to everyone!

  • Baker City — Sept 19 & Oct 15
  • Florence — Sept 10 & Sept 23
  • McMinnville — Sept 13 & Oct 7
  • Medford — Sept 9 & Sept 21
  • Pendleton — Sept 18 & Oct 14
  • Philomath — Sept 11 & Oct 5
  • Portland — Sept 16 & Oct 12

Registration for the workshops will open on August 7 – register at

The Connecting to Collections project is administered by the Oregon Heritage and funded in part by a grant from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services.

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