WESTPAS (Western States and Territories Preservation Assistance Service) delivered preservation education and training workshops to libraries, archives, museums, historical societies, and other cultural institutions in 14 participating states and territories: Alaska, American Samoa, California, Colorado, Guam, Hawai’i, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Northern Marianas Islands, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.
WESTPAS began in 2007 and was successfully concluded in December 2018. Major funding was for this effort was provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities along with contributions from preservation service companies, and partnerships with the state libraries and archives in the participating states. Workshops were located regionally to maximize participation and were conducted by experienced preservation professionals from California, Hawai’i, Oregon, Utah, and Washington.
Workshops were designed to help institutions protect the asset value of their collections, to promote stewardship of the heritage of the West and the Pacific, and to create a culture of preservation management, one where management staff with preservation knowledge and decision-making tools would guide the use of institutional resources to ensure survival of their heritage collections. In addition to providing formal training, the workshops fostered creation of networks of cultural institution staff to create a community of mutual aid assistance for disaster response and preservation of collections in the region. The successes of WESTPAS workshops have been documented in reports to the National Endowment for the Humanities (See WESTPAS Final Report 2018.01.16).
In addition to training, the California Preservation Program’s 24/7 disaster assistance number, 888-905-7737, provided advice and help in the event of a collection disaster. This assistance number is still active.
Protecting Cultural Collections: Prevention, Preparedness, Response & Recovery
The “Protecting Cultural Collections” training was originally presented in a sequence of two self-paced webinars (90 minutes each) plus a one-day in-person workshop to produce the following outcomes:
- Complete a disaster response collection salvage plan
- Learn how to train staff to implement your plan effectively
- Set pre- and post-disaster action priorities for your collections
- Understand practical decision-making skills needed during an emergency
- Experience salvage procedures for books, documents, photos & objects
Requirements for attendance in the live webinars/workshops: Participation in the in-person workshop required viewing the two self-paced webinars (2 ½ hours) BEFORE attending the in-person workshop AND completing the workshop assignments. The webinar sessions and the in-person workshop were scheduled to enable participants to prepare short assignments between sessions, resulting in a completed disaster plan.
The original webinars are presented here along with the handout materials from the original workshops.
COSA (the Council of State Archivists) designed The Pocket Response Plan™ (PReP™) which is a concise document for recording essential information needed by staff in case of a disaster or other emergency. Every person having a response-related assignment should carry a PReP™ with them at all times. WESTPAS put together a series of PReP™ Samples to show the versatility of this form and they also did a series of partially filled out State PReP™ forms for those in their project region.