The Getty Conservation Institute has partnered with the International Council of Museums (ICOM) and ICCROM (International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property) to offer a pilot training course on risk assessment and emergency preparedness for museum personnel in Asia. This training initiative is part of the Museums Emergency Program Education Initiative, carried out within the broader framework of ICOM's Museums Emergency Program (MEP) project.

The eight-month course, Teamwork for Integrated Emergency Management, was launched in August 2005 with a workshop in Bangkok, Thailand. Participating in the training are teams from eight national museums and two graduate museum studies programs, including the National Museum of Cambodia, Phnom Penh; the National Museum of Mankind, Bhopal, India; the National Museum of Ethnology, Osaka, Japan; the National Museum of Korea, Seoul; the Colombo National Museum, Colombo, Sri Lanka; the National Museum of the Philippines, Manila; University of the Philippines Diliman, Quezon City; the National Museum, Bangkok; the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology, Hanoi; and the Ha Noi University of Culture, Hanoi. In addition, representatives from the Canadian Conservation Institute and the Art Gallery of Hamilton in Ontario, Canada, are participating in the course to study the feasibility of adapting this training for Canadian museums. The course benefited from the considerable support of the Fine Arts Department, which is within Thailand's Ministry of Culture.

The two-week August workshop prepared participants to understand and assess risks, to plan for emergency situations, and to implement mitigation measures for both museum buildings and collections.

The second phase of the training, currently in progress, involves distance mentoring. During this phase, course participants will follow a program of practical work at their respective institutions that will take them through the process of conducting a museum risk assessment and through the basic steps of creating an emergency plan. The final phase will be a meeting in the second quarter of 2006 to review the progress made by participating institutions.

The aim of the Museums Emergency Program Education Initiative is the protection of cultural heritage through the enhanced capacity of museum and other heritage professionals in the area of integrated emergency management. The initiative has created a searchable bibliography on emergency preparedness accessible through the Getty's Web site.

For information about other activities associated with the Museums Emergency Program, visit ICOM's Web site.