During times of disaster, we may not typically consider the historical and cultural sites important to Colorado. There are state agencies dedicated to protecting such sites though, working in an efficient manner to move recovery forward. Namely, History Colorado is a state agency dedicated to protecting historical sites and helping to ensure resources are preserved during both during disaster and recovery.
In one of the “Recovery Talks” hosted by Colorado Emergency Management, Colorado State Recovery Officer, Jim Raymond, speaks with members of the Colorado Cultural and Historical Resources Task Force. The CHR Task Force was formed in 2012. The speakers in the video highlighted a few examples of cultural and historical sites including museums, libraries, archives, archaeological collections, and even historical buildings. An additional role of the CHR Task Force is to bring awareness to cultural sites along with identifying sites that need protection.
This past year, the CHR Task Force has been involved in a number of tasks relating to COVID-19, protests, and summer wildfires. During the Recovery Talk, a member described an example of their help in Lake City and Hinsdale County, Colorado in May of 2019. Individuals from the Task Force assisted with evacuating a museum due to fears of flooding from a nearby river. From this example, we can see the great and necessary work conducted by CHR Task Force each year!
During the Recovery Talk, the guest speakers highlighted a few ideas institutions should consider in regard to preparing and acting during times of disaster. Individuals and museums should develop a sense of priorities, asking difficult questions such as “what should be done if we had an hour to evacuate?” Notably, always be ready to respond and work to preserve the most important things.
Historical and cultural sites are important to the identity of this state. Learning how to prioritize needs and protect such sites are essential considerations in regard to disaster preparedness. If you are interested in learning about the resources related to the Cultural and Historical Task Force, click here. For additional resources related to COVID-19, the Heritage Emergency National Task Force Resource Hub is a helpful site as well.
For those interested in learning more about History Colorado, follow the link here. History Colorado museums are gradually reopening statewide and have implemented guidelines to help protect both visitors and staff members. A list of statewide museums can be found here. Individuals can become involved with History Colorado in a number of ways through membership, volunteering, and even internships!