An Australian Government Initiative
A Disaster Recovery Resource for Public Collections in the ACT Region
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6 May 2010
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Your collections at risk in the event of a disaster?
You need to know about DISACT

What is DISACT?

DISACT ('Disaster ACT') was established by cultural and scientific collecting institutions in Canberra to improve disaster preparedness and provide local mutual assistance in the event of emergencies affecting public collections. DISACT sponsors disaster recovery training, conducts quarterly DISACT Network meetings and has a website resource.

Participants include the Australian War Memorial, National Archives of Australia, National Gallery of Australia, National Library of Australia, National Museum of Australia, Screen Sound Australia and a range of other agencies. These agencies have signed an MOU, a mutual aid agreement to formalise this arrangement.

Why is it needed?

Protection of collections through Disaster Preparedness is a goal of all cultural and scientific institutions that hold collections in trust for future generations. The 2003 firestorm in Canberra reminds everyone of disasters that can arise with little or no warning. Preparation is vital; every collecting institution needs a disaster plan.
This must cover three aspects: prevention/preparedness, incident management and recovery.

What can DISACT do for my organisation?

Through mutual assistance, DISACT aims to
Enhance awareness and standards for disaster management for collections.
Facilitate contacts between specialists and those with disaster management responsibilities for collections.
Provide key emergency contact information.
Develop a centralised list of equipment and materials available for loan.
Arrange joint training in disaster management relevant to collections.

What DISACT can not do

DISACT cannot write your disaster plans, but can provide information to help you.
DISACT cannot purchase supplies and equipment for you, but can give short term loans and assist you to find what you need.
DISACT cannot provide long term disaster recovery services but can provide initial short term assistance until you can engage a commercial provider.

Where can I find more information?

DISACT has a website at,
For a history of DISACT see Janet Hughes' paper here.
Contact the public officer of DISACT.


Disaster Proofing Heritage Collections – the Blue Shield Australia & DISACT Symposium May 6 2010 - More information

DISACT-L is a mailing list for members of DISACT (Disasters ACT) to use to keep in touch with each other. It is used to disseminate information about meetings and to discuss relevant issues affecting collection material.

Members of this list include representatives from numerous institutions, including: AWM, NLA, NAA, NMA, NGA, ACT Govt, NFSA and the ANU.

The owners of this list are Bernard Kertesz (Australian War Memorial, and Jennifer Lloyd (National Library of Australia, To subscribe to this list, please send a mail message to one of the list owners giving some information about your interest in DISACT and requesting to be subscribed to DISACT-L.


Please distribute this information on DISACT in your organisation.
Relevant people may include:
· members of your Disaster Team or Emergency Planning committee,
· conservators or collection managers,
· librarians or archivists,
· historians or heritage officers,
· building services managers.

Participating Institutions

ACT Government
ANU Archives
Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies
Australian National Herbarium
Australian War Memorial
National Archives of Australia
National Film and Sound Archive
National Gallery of Australia
National Library of Australia
National Museum of Australia
National Portrait Gallery of Australia
Old Parliament House

Updated 19 April, 2010 , webmaster, CPBR (