Teamwork for Integrated Emergency Management Course 2007–08
Following the pilot Teamwork for Integrated Emergency Management (TIEM) course for museum professionals in Asia (2006–07), the partners embarked on a second course, this time in southeast Europe. The GCI, ICCROM, and ICOM were joined by a new partner, UNESCO (BRESCE), in this second course, which was undertaken with the additional collaboration of ICOM Southeast Europe (ICOM-SEE) and the National Archive of the Netherlands.

The region of southeast Europe was selected because of its important cultural heritage, which suffered greatly during the civil wars of the 1990s. Many museums are still recovering from these wars in a process that is slowed by a lack of resources. In addition, the region faces natural disasters, such as earthquakes, wildfires, and floods.

Nine southeastern European countries, each represented by one museum, participated in the TIEM course. In the long term, it is expected that the participating museums will disseminate their knowledge and experience in this field to other museums in their region, refining and expanding the regional network. To help facilitate the dissemination process, two educational institutions from the region also took part in the course.

Each participating museum was represented by one or two staff members who were identified by their director as key members of their institution's emergency management team. The participants represent a wide range of roles within their museums and include managers, curators, and registrars.

The course occured in three phases between November 2007 and October 2008:

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Ohrid Workshop
The first phase of the course was a two-week workshop in the historic city of Ohrid, a World Heritage site in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (November 19 through December 1, 2007). The workshop was organized with the help of ICOM-SEE, the Macedonia National Committee of ICOM (MNC-ICOM), and the National Institution for the Protection of Monuments of Culture and Museum-Ohrid, and was attended by teams from nine museums and two educational programs.


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The workshop covered the topics of disaster risk assessment, disaster mitigation, emergency preparedness and response, recovery and rehabilitation, and the creation of emergency plans. It combined lectures, discussions, and a series of practical exercises that offered participants a foundation in the knowledge and skills needed for integrated emergency management within museums. The participants engaged in several exercises, including carrying out a risk assessment, salvaging objects, and taking part in a simulation of an emergency—a fire at the museum in Ohrid. The museum, the local school, and the local emergency response units (the fire brigade, the police, the medical response team, and the Red Cross) took part in this simulation. The participants had to cope with the situation in a manner that reflected the TIEM approach, working in coordinated teams to address risks posed to the museum building, collection, and operations as a result of an emergency.

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Distance Mentoring Phase
During the distance mentoring phase of the course—running from January 1 through September 2008—participants worked on the implementation of TIEM within their own museums, each following an action plan that reflected their institutions' needs and priorities. This second phase of the course allowed participants to work within a time frame that took into account their other professional obligations and the priorities of their museums. Each month, the participants submitted a progress report to the course instructors, who took on the role of mentors. Their feedback guided the participants through the different steps of their action plans. A special course Web site was used to facilitate the exchange of information and serves as a repository for didactic materials, Web links, and other information relevant to integrated emergency management. This Web site had restricted access to ensure confidentiality and to create a community of trust.

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The work conducted by the participating institutions varied from carrying out risk assessment and replacing fire extinguishers to training staff of other museums in the region and conducting evacuation simulations.


Review Meeting in Croatia
The course Teamwork for Integrated Emergency Preparedness concluded with a final meeting of the participants and instructors in Croatia, October 13–18, 2008. The meeting took place at the Peasants' Revolt Museum in the Manor House in Gornja Stubica, part of the regional museum, Muzeji Hrvatskog zagorja.

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The objectives of this meeting were to review the action plans of the museums and their respective implementation during the distance mentoring phase; to share achievements and challenges encountered in implementing Integrated Emergency Management (IEM); to share further information and knowledge in key areas; to identify tools/procedures/information generated by the participants that can be used for wider dissemination within and beyond SEE region; to discuss networking challenges and to devise future strategies for TIEM-SEE.

Participants and instructors discussed the progress made by each museum team, sharing both information and insights gained over the many months of practical work during the distant mentoring phase.

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The meeting included a visit to the participating Old Village Museum of Hrvatsko Zagorje, Croatia, where the group was surprised by a pre-planned emergency exercise. A simulated fire in one of the historic houses was effectively addressed by the local fire brigade and the staff of the museum, who demonstrated that the implementation of TIEM in their organization during the distant mentoring phase had prepared them to respond successfully to this emergency.

On the final two days of the meeting the group discussed how to ensure that TIEM would remain an active part of their organizations. They also worked together on developing a strategy for sustaining the regional network created during the course.

The meeting in Croatia was organized with the generous support of ICOM and the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe (BRESCE) in Venice.

Course Instructors and Mentors

Azra Becevic-Sarenkapa, conservator, National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina

Adalberto Biasiotti, security consultant, SecurComp LTD

Foekje Boersma, Project Specialist, GCI

Gerrit de Bruin, National Archive of the Netherlands

George Gawlinski, Organizational Development Consultant, United Kingdom

Rohit Jigyasu, Architect, planner and conservation consultant

Cristina Menegazzi, Program Specialist, ICOM

Aparna Tandon, Project Specialist, ICCROM

Bihanne Wassink, National Archive of the Netherlands

Vesna Zivkovic, Curator, Preventive Conservation "Diana", National Museum of Belgrade


National Archaeological Museum of Tirana, Albania

Museum of Republika Srpska, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Old Village Museum of Hrvatsko Zagorje, Croatia

Institute for Protection of Cultural Monuments and the National Museum, Ohrid, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

National Museum of Ethnography and Natural History, Republic of Moldova

Maritime Museum of Montenegro, Montenegro

Brukenthal National Museum, Romania

Museum of Pozarevac, Serbia

Technical Museum of Slovenia, Slovenia

The Museum Studies Program of the University of Zagreb, Croatia

The Department for Preventive Conservation DIANA of the National Museum in Belgrade, Serbia

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Page updated: December 2008