Disaster planning and salvaging

Focuses on strategies to manage effects a disaster might have on a collection, and the technical skills required for salvage.

Planning for a disaster scenario that could significantly damage a collection is difficult but essential. Fires, floods and accidental damage do occur, and knowing how to act could save precious items and collections from destruction.

About this course

This one-day course has two parts. Part one focuses on strategic steps to manage the risks and effects a disaster might have on a collection.

Part two demonstrates the key practical conservation skills and techniques required to salvage a collection should disaster occur.

The course will be led by our conservation team and will be structured, participative and stimulating. Delegates will get printed course materials which will be used on the day and can be taken away for future reference.

  • Course contents

    This one day course will cover:

    • what to include in a disaster plan
    • types of damage and the effect they can have on collections: water damage, fire damage, smoke damage
    • a triage assessment approach to understand what is recoverable
    • the logistics of recovery
    • stabilisation methods
    • air-drying
    • alternatives to air-drying
    • handling damaged material.
  • Outcomes

    By the end of this course delegates will be equipped with the skills and ability to:

    • identify the risks to their collection
    • construct a basic disaster and salvage plan
    • explain how to respond in a disaster or emergency
    • recognise the stages of response and recovery
    • know how to recover material.


Contact the Training and Development team on +44 (0)207 942 6182 or email us.

New dates coming soon

New dates to be announced soon, please check back for updates on the Museum's training and development courses.

Course details

  • at the Natural History Museum
  • one-day course 
  • £395
  • concession and early-bird prices available

Who is it for?

  • individuals responsible for the care and management of collections
  • those responsible for business continuity planning and management