The Ministry of Culture held the "2018 Museum Disaster Preparedness Meeting" on Dec. 5, inviting experts and staff members of the National Palace Museum, National Museum of History, and National Museum of Taiwan History to give speeches and share experiences on emergency management.
The attendants exchanged views on museum preparedness for natural and manmade disasters and existing problems. Personnel from the three museums also gave reports on security management and emergency response plans.
The briefing by the National Palace Museum representative included the museum's security management mechanism and disaster preparedness system, and emergency response experiences such as torrential rains or when porcelains on display were being damaged. He also spoke of sufficient manpower allocation and the need to confirm the structural safety of exhibition venues and storage areas.
The National Museum of History staff reported on the museum's cooperation with the Taipei City Fire Department in holding drills for rescuing cultural artifacts. They also discussed the priorities in rescue actions and distribution of assignments in case of an emergency, as standardized procedures help reinforce the emergency response capabilities of museum staff.
The National Museum of Taiwan History, which is known for its comprehensive emergency management policy, has established firm disaster response guidelines for both museum collections and storage areas. These standard operating procedures can serve as reference for other museums that are drafting their respective plans.
There are many current regulations regarding disaster preparedness for museums in Taiwan. Regarding the sustainable management of museum collections for example, The Museum Act stipulates that all museums should have collection management plans in line with disaster readiness and risk reduction.
Apart from working with the Ministry of the Interior to jointly map out the "Regulations on Fire Safety Management for Historic and Cultural Landscapes and Buildings," the Ministry of Culture is also cooperating with the National Fire Agency, National Police Agency, and local governments to establish a safety net for cultural assets and raise public awareness of related issues.
In addition, the Ministry of Culture will formulate a system for safeguarding national archives of cultural artifacts. A common set of guidelines — regarding the management, preservation, disaster preparedness, repairment, display, or other applications of artifacts, specimens, and artworks from public museum collections — will soon be announced.
Museums will also be required to take careful inventory of storage conditions, promote cultivation of specialists, and employ the latest technology for repairing artifacts. By strengthening both personnel and facilities, cultural archives will become better equipped to face disaster.
A total of 70 individuals from 39 organizations attended the Dec. 5 meeting. It is hoped that by reviewing the disaster preparedness levels and emergency response mechanisms of these three established museums, the meeting will help improve the vigilance and professional knowledge of museum staff.