A Public Trust at Risk

The Heritage Health Index Report on the State of America's Collections

Published in: GIA Reader, Vol 17, No 2 (Summer 2006)

Heritage Preservation and the Institute of Museum and Library Services

2005, 17 pages. Heritage Preservation, 1012 14th Street, NW, Suite 1200, Washington, DC 20005, 202-233-0800

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Billed as "the first comprehensive survey ever conducted of the condition and preservation needs of our nation's collections," this publication includes case histories of museum collections that have been adversely affected by natural and manmade disasters, highlighting the fact that a significant number of the 4.8 billion artifacts held in the public trust are at risk. The case is supported by statistics (such as those for staffing for conservation and preservation and the number of institutions without emergency plans) and images (depicting post-Hurricane Katrina damage and artifacts destroyed by fire) that show why steps must be taken sooner rather than later to protect collections.