The Safety of the Collections

Published on
July 6, 2008

On 13 May 2008, fire destroyed the building of the TU Delft Architecture Faculty. As a result of the fire, concerned individuals have regularly asked Liesbeth Missel, Wageningen UR's conservator, about the state of the Delft faculty's library and that of its collections. Happily, she can report that the entire historical collection was removed undamaged from the faculty building a few weeks after the fire. Even the library's prints, maps and sketches have been removed to safety. Because a small accident (a short circuit in a coffee machine in Delft) can have huge consequences, Liesbeth explains the initiatives for the safety of the collections in Wageningen.

"At the beginning of March, under the supervision of the Foundation for Gelders Heritage, 'Network Approach Safety Assurance for the Collection Managing Institutions in the Network Region of West-Veluwe Valley' started. The Wageningen UR Library is participating in the collaborative with the Forum Management, which has the 'overall' responsibility for the Forum Library's Disaster and Evacuation Plan and the In-house Emergency and First-aid Service (BHV). Within the 'Network Approach' plan, the collection managing institutions in the region are especially focusing on the care of the collections in a disaster. Specifically, using a risk analysis, we want to investigate what can be done to minimize the risks and how damage to the collection can be prevented or limited. The safety of people, including the fire brigade personnel, goes, of course, without saying in our analysis.
The events in Delft make it too painfully clear that safety and, if possible, preservation of the collections need attention. A Collection Help Plan (CHV plan) describes what can be done for the collections before, during and immediately after a disaster and who and what are needed for these actions. The project will be wound up in November with an integrated Disaster Plan, of which the CHV plan will be a part".

    (newsletter 4-2008)