A recurring concern of those working in conservation in Los Angeles has been the perceived lack of clarity and limitations of the city's building codes. In an effort to increase understanding of the true extent of the problem, the GCI organized a one-day roundtable discussion in July 1999, during which experts from the public sector, private development, and academia discussed building codes as they relate to conservation practice in the City of Los Angeles.

A GCI objective in organizing the meeting was to determine whether the participants could achieve consensus concerning the nature and identity of the issues surrounding the impact of building codes on the preservation and reuse of historic structures. The discussions raised the need for more education, training, conservation awareness, and dissemination of information concerning codes related to historic preservation. There was general concurrence that while many of the tools necessary to meet these needs already exist, more can be done to clarify information already available.

In the wake of the meeting, the GCI will continue to study ways that it can contribute to the efforts to preserve historic structures in Los Angeles.

Compiled by Valerie Dorge and Sharon Jones

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When an emergency strikes, is your cultural institution prepared to protect the people on site, the premises, and its collections from harm? Building an Emergency Plan provides a step-by-step guide that a cultural institution can follow to develop its own emergency preparedness and response strategy.

This workbook is divided into three parts that address the three groups generally responsible for developing and implementing emergency procedures—institution directors, emergency preparedness managers, and departmental team leaders—and discuss the role each should play in devising and maintaining an effective emergency plan. Several chapters detail the practical aspects of communication, training, and forming teams to handle the safety of staff and visitors, collections, buildings, and records.

Emergencies covered include natural events such as earthquakes or floods, as well as human-caused emergencies, such as fires that occur during renovation. Examples from the Barbados Museum and Historical Society, the Museo de Arte Popular Americano in Chile, the Mystic Seaport Museum in Connecticut, and the Seattle Art Museum show how cultural institutions have prepared for emergencies relevant to their sites, collections, and regions.

Conservator Valerie Dorge is project specialist with the Conservation group at the Getty Conservation Institute. Sharon Jones is a technologist and a former journalist based in San Diego.

View this publication online as a PDF.