In serving the New York City community, Alliance for Response NYC depends on a broad-reaching network of both local and national partners operating within the cultural heritage and related sectors. These relationships fortify AFR’s ability to support disaster preparedness and response before, during, and after an event. Most of these partnerships are represented within AFR’s steering committee and general membership.
AFR NYC is made up of over 400 members including volunteers serving on the steering committee and its advisors. Committee members and advisors are leaders in their fields coming to AFR from diverse backgrounds at cultural organizations around the city and the nation including: the American Museum of Natural History, the Museum of Modern Art, FEMA, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the National Archives and Records Administration, the Noguchi Museum, the Brooklyn Museum, the National Museum of the American Indian-NY, A.M. Art Conservation, Albertson & Nunan Art Conservation, the New York Regional Association for Conservation, Chubb Insurance, the National Park Service, Martha Graham Dance Company, Acoustiguide, and the Museum of Fine Arts Houston.
AFR NYC maintains important relationships with public agencies such as the NYC Office of Emergency Management. Through these relationships, AFR facilitates an exchange of valuable information between its membership and local emergency management personnel. In recent years, joint programming developed between AFR and the New York City Office of Emergency Management has been used to familiarize participating institutions and first responders with the specific needs of cultural institutions in emergencies. Special training in these areas has also been offered to NYC OEM staff, and private individuals through Ready.gov’s Citizen Corps program.
As recently as Hurricane Sandy, ad hoc partnerships have been critical to AFR’s role in supporting local disaster recovery efforts. Our collaboration in outreach projects, needs assessment, deployment of volunteers, and the establishment of the AIC-CERT Cultural Recovery Center led to creative and effective support for affected institutions and artists. Through these efforts we attained a better understanding of how we can strengthen our assistance to the NYC cultural community as we prepare for subsequent disasters.
Among AFR’s most recent partners is the New York Community Trust, whose generous funding supports a two-year initiative that is underway developing key tools for improved emergency communication within the New York cultural community, and training a local Heritage Response Team to respond to disasters at New York City institutions. Numerous New York area museums, libraries, archives, performing arts organizations and nonprofit galleries will benefit in future emergencies by our better understanding their needs in advance, and training responders to assist them following a disaster. But the impact of this project will be wider still: Heritage Preservation's Alliance for Response program grows stronger through the efforts of each of its chapters. As a model for other regions and states, the outcomes of this project will benefit cultural communities not only in New York City, but across the nation.