For Module1, Surveys, a questionnaire was prepared in a simple form to fit the different cultural situations across the world. It was sent to some 2000 museum professionals with a view to identifying people who had had direct involvement in a disaster affecting a museum, and to collecting information on museums which have already experienced disasters (either human or natural), about existing institutions/associations operating in the field of emergency preparedness and response, and about the programmes and activities already organised or planned in this field.
The 175 answers produced some interesting case studies, for example, the National Museum in Kabul, Afghanistan (war), the Zemaljski Muzej Bih in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina (war), the Museo Arqueológico in Sogamoso Boyaca, Colombia (earthquake and forest fires), the Musée National du Togo in Lome, Togo (flooding), the Musée de la Gendarmerie Nationale in Moramança, and Madagascar (tropical low pressure), as well as individuals with direct experience of a disaster affecting a museum.
Bibliographies and literature have been collected, with books, essays, articles and teaching material, as well as information on existing web sites on disaster preparedness and response.
The collection of documents will provide support material for use in training workshops and to equip local networks.
Two four-day missions to conduct case studies were organised in 2003: in Venezuela (August) and in Madagascar (October) with in-depth investigation of the countries on risk preparedness and the response of museums by:
- meeting local authorities in charge of risk management and planning
- meeting local museum professionals in charge of safeguarding and protecting the collections
- collecting existing records documenting disasters (local case studies, reaction, publication, training activities, etc.)
- identifying resource people for MEP modules 3, 4, 5 & 6
- assessing possibilities for organising a training workshop for the region in the country.
Luis Repetto, Chairman of ICOM LAC (Latin America and Caribbean), Professor Patrick Boylan, Chair of ICTOP (ICOM International Committee for the Training of Personnel) and Cristina Menegazzi, ICOM Programme Specialist conducted the Venezuelan Mission, while Fréderique Vincent, the representative of ICOM-CC (ICOM International Committee for Conservation), accompanied the ICOM Programme Specialist for the Madagascar mission.