What Is Museum SOS

Fiona Graham
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Lessons from a Fire in a Natural History Museum

Fiona Graham
Canadian Museum of Nature


Fourteen years after a fire in the Royal Saskatchewan Museum left a layer of soot over exhibitions and collections, the lessons learned from the event continue to inform a conservator's work.  Examples include:

  • The development of guidelines for contractors working in museums;
  • Advice regarding the design and maintenance of fire detection and suppression systems;
  • The design of exhibition and storage spaces; and,
  • The cleaning of specimens and artifacts.

Above all, the need for emergency planning in order to prevent or mitigate disasters in museums is reinforced with every loss.   Hard-earned advice from the Saskatchewan experience is still valid today, whether it is inviting the local fire department to tour the museum or proofing cases and cabinets against dust and soot.


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