Icon’s Impact: Collections Salvage Planning

24 Oct 2022


Icon Scotland ran several events last year, from gallery tours through to our annual Plenderleith Memorial Lecture.

However, the biggest undertaking was a partnership event run with Edinburgh Collections Response Network (ECRN) and Scottish Council on Archives (SCA), hosted by Historic Environment Scotland (HES). We hosted over 50 delegates at a highly successful skill-sharing and networking event focusing on Collections Salvage in Scotland on October 27, 2022.

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The aim of the day was to provide some essential disaster management training, and to encourage practical networking to make a start on building collections salvage networks both regionally and nationally.

The event started with a back-to-basics session followed by two panel sessions. The first focused on security and working with emergency services; the second looked at planning and preparedness including advocacy, training, and writing plans.

Speakers included Adrian Lawrie from National Galleries of Scotland, Sean Partington from Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, Emma Buchholz and Judith Rowett from HES, Julie Bon from National Library of Scotland and Gwen Thomas from Museums & Galleries Edinburgh.

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The afternoon saw delegates visiting the First Aid for Collections marketplace - stalls focusing on materials including paper, photographs, books, paintings and organic materials; practical equipment solutions and demonstration of a wind tunnel; keeping your preservation products and emergency response work sustainable; fire safety; and hazards encountered during disaster recovery.

The contributors were: Emma Buchholz – Recovery of photographic collections; Linda Ramsay – Recovery of books, manuscript and paper-based collections; Gwen Thomas – Mixed social history items, organic and inorganic objects; Katharine Richardson – Sustainability; Lesley Scott – Historic interiors; Sophie Lenihan – Hazardous materials in disaster recovery; Kiara King – GADPN (Glasgow Area Disaster Planning Network) and ECRN information stall and Eleanor Ingram & Sean Partington – Fire Safety.

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Regional breakout sessions

Because there were delegates from around Scotland attending, breakout groups were created to discuss more regional disaster response and to foster more local relationship building. Facilitators  worked with each group and took notes for feeding back to the following session. The regional sessions allowed delegates to get to know the people they might have to call on in an emergency.


National network session

The delegates came back together to discuss what a national network may look like when they came back together for the final session of the day. Feedback and questions discussed in the regional sessions were shared, along with comments from the audience.

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The next steps for the networks agreed by delegates included:

  • Event evaluation and a follow-up survey to gauge actions taken as a result of the event
  • Make the event presentations available to delegates to enable local training


Feedback from delegates

"[The event] was really useful to me, both for getting to know local colleagues better, and in helping me create a strategy to revise my own organisation's emergency plans, including creating a plan for the new Perth Museum."

"As someone who hasn't been involved in salvage planning, this was a great introduction to the topic and resources available, and a chance to learn from experienced colleagues."

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