What Is Museum SOS

Criis Geer Chagnon
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Disaster Recovery and Asbestos Abatement
of Oversize Museum Collections

Criis Geer Chagnon
Smithsonian Institution

Leslie Sabo

Kerry Button

Elizabeth Dietrich


In November 1992 a tornado struck and severely damaged Buildings 25 and 26 at the Smithsonian Institution's Paul E. Garber offsite storage facility. In this disaster hundreds of oversized natural history collections stored in these buildings were contaminated by the asbestos insulation that had lined the buildings. The Museum Support Center (MSC)

Move Office of the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History was involved in the recovery of the collections and the cleaning and re-housing of the objects.

After initial stabilization of the building and its contents, recovery of the collections was done in several stages over the following years. Staff training, personal protective equipment, and attention to safety for personnel and collections were all addressed throughout the process.


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