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Futurist Friday: The Water Next Time

Category: Center for the Future Of Museums Blog

I’m capping risk management week here on the Blog a visceral reminder of how flooding can catch museums unawares. (If you missed them, make sure to read Tuesday’s post on how the historic preservation community is responding to rising sea level, and Thursday’s post on emergency preparedness.) In the press of keeping a museum running, day-to-day, it’s all too easy to forget things (such as emergency prep plans) that are only important once in a great while. But if we aren’t prepared for those rare events, all our hard day-to-day work is for naught.  

Your Futurist Friday assignment: watch two brief videos (below) documenting the awesome power of water. Then pull out your museum’s emergency preparedness plan (you have one, right?) and assess how well it would help you deal with the prospect of deluge, whether from torrential rains, storm surge or rising tides.

Your news feed, like mine, is probably inundated with news about flooding in Paris which has prompted the closure of the Louvre and the Musee d’Orsay as staff move collections to higher floors. What would your museum do if you needed to move collections in the face of rising water levels (or approaching wildfires, for that matter).  

And as a sobering reminder (if any is needed) of what water can do to museums, watch staff of the Museum of Native American Culture in Cassidy Park, Bogalusa, La., survey the damage from the floods of March 2016. As you empathize with their pain, think how your museum would respond to a forecast of torrential rain. (Some regions of France have received the equivalent of one and a half months of rain in just three days. It can happen.)

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