Cultural Institutions Will Observe MayDay

Program Promotes “One Thing You Can Do” for Emergency Preparedness

Archives, libraries, museums, and historic preservation organizations across America are setting aside May 1, 2007, to participate in MayDay, a national effort to protect collections from disasters.

In 2005, Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma provided a wake-up call, reminding us of the importance of disaster preparedness. The Heritage Health Index, released soon after the hurricanes, reported that few institutions have emergency plans, and some of those plans are out of date. Given human nature, it's easy to put off disaster planning.

The Heritage Emergency National Task Force urges cultural institutions across the country to observe MayDay by taking at least one step to prepare to respond to a disaster.

Here are some simple ideas:

Any organization can participate in MayDay. Last year, the Louisiana State University Libraries Special Collections staff were trained to put out small fires with an extinguisher. This year, Heritage Preservation is offering its popular Field Guide to Emergency Response at special MayDay sale prices from April 15 to May 31. You can make a difference—help save our heritage!

The Society of American Archivists (SAA) created the MayDay initiative in 2006 and promoted the idea to its members and allied organizations. It was received very positively, and the Heritage Emergency National Task Force thanks SAA for helping expand the concept to include all kinds of collecting institutions and historic preservation interests.

Five variations of the MayDay logo are available electronically in both PDF and JPEG formats here.