Tips on providing first aid to movable heritage contaminated by COVID-19
- If you have reason to believe that some of the objects in your heritage site or institution are contaminated by the virus, isolate the objects in-situ and quarantine the affected area. However, if this is not possible, move the objects that you suspect are contaminated to another secure quarantine area in the building.
- Studies show that COVID-19 virus can live on some surfaces such as metal, glass, and plastic for as long as nine days. Such studies could aid in deciding when to isolate objects and for how long.
- In order to store objects in a quarantine space within your institution, identify a space that is secure against secondary hazards like theft, fire, pests or water leaks.
- Ensure that the contaminated objects are numbered and their original as well as new location is recorded.
- Staff handling contaminated objects must wear personal protective equipment (see link below).
- Do not use bleach or other disinfectants directly on historic interiors and objects, as they could cause permanent damage (see link below).
- To ensure the safety of visitors, users and staff, monitor the situation and seek the advice of public health officials as well as local emergency management authorities. They will help you to decide whether to stay open or to close your institution.
- In case your institution is closed, ensure that the collections are safe from the impacts of secondary hazards mentioned above. For details, see the tips on Closure. At the same time, activate your emergency response plan. Coordinate your response plan with local emergency management authority for ensuring periodic security checks of your building and collections.
- In the event of closure, ensure that the collections care and security staff have access to critical documents such as inventories, finding aids, and floor plans indicating the location of objects of particular significance.
- Develop a communication plan `for staff, visitors and users in order to communicate safety and security measures during a potential outbreak in your institution.
Caring for Collections
- Recommendations on disinfection procedures for cultural property due to the COVID-19 crisis (English) (Spanish)
- Cleaning and disinfection of environmental surfaces in the context of COVID-19 - WHO Interim guidance
- Recommendations for the conservation of museum collections - International Council of Museums (ICOM)
- NEMO report on the impact of COVID-19 on museums in Europe - Network of European Museum Organisations (NEMO)
- National Center for Preservation Technology and Training (NCPTT), “Covid-19 Basics: Disinfecting Cultural Resources”, Facebook Live video on March 25, 2020
- Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), “Mitigating COVID-19 When Managing Paper-Based, Circulating, and Other Types of Collections”, Online webinar on March 20, 2020
- Northeast Document Conservation Center - COVID-19 Leaflet
- American Library Association
- Preparing for Long Term Closure, Conservation Institute, Canada
- Cleaning Collections
- Caring for Heritage Collections during the COVID-19 Pandemic
- Prendre soin des collections patrimoniales durant la pandémie de COVID-19 (French)
Personal Protective Equipment
Emergency preparedness and Response
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