International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property

First Aid to Collections

Tips on providing first aid to movable heritage contaminated by COVID-19

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Ensure that the contaminated objects are numbered and their original as well as new location is recorded.
  5. Staff handling contaminated objects must wear personal protective equipment (see link below).
  6. Do not use bleach or other disinfectants directly on historic interiors and objects, as they could cause permanent damage (see link below).
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.  
  10. Develop a communication plan `for staff, visitors and users in order to communicate safety and security measures during a potential outbreak in your institution.


Read More

Caring for Collections


Personal Protective Equipment


Emergency preparedness and Response


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