The training in First Aid to Cultural Heritage in Times of Crisis took place on April 24th and May 1st 2019, at National Archives of Georgia. It was conducted by alumnae of international training course “First aid to cultural heritage in Times of Crisis” organized by ICCROM, Manana Tevzadze (Blue Shield National Committee, Chairman) and Maryam kalkhitashvili (Blue Shield National Committee, Programs Manager) and by irakli kobulia who has undergone an international training course on disaster risk management of cultural heritage.
The training was divided into two, theoretical and practical components. Its content was based on ICCROM’s training program, on articles and books published on the protection of cultural heritage in emergencies in recent years, as well as on the experience of the International Network of cultural heritage first aiders. Both days of the training were attended by up to 30 employees of National Archives of Georgia, representing various departments of the institution.
During theoretical component participants were familiarized with the activities of GNCBS and Blue Shield International, to various aspects interlocking catastrophes and cultural heritage, such as risk assessment, risk reduction and risk preparedness measures and typical risks to archival materials. Particular attention was paid to the experience of the National Archives of the United States in disaster risk preparedness and post-catastrophe operations.
For the practical exercise GNCBS team came up with an earthquake scenario and set up a catastrophe scene in the building of National Archives.
On May 1st, workshop participants were instructed on the workflow of evacuation of collections and were given table top presentation on collection stabilization measures, which included washing and drying techniques of damaged collection items. After the introduction they were informed about the catastrophe, divided into groups and undertook salvage and evacuation of “damaged” collections.
At the end of the training, the employees of the National Archives expressed their willingness to participate in a training program elaborated specifically on salvaging archival collections on a regular basis.