COSTEP MA (Coordinated Statewide Emergency Preparedness), in coordination with the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) and the Boston Office of Emergency Management (Boston OEM), is pleased to announce a new long-term “Participatory Mapping” project that will help improve response and recovery efforts for institutions with cultural resources in the event of serious or large-scale disasters.

All cultural heritage institutions (broadly defined) in the Commonwealth are invited to create a listing on the following “Cultural Heritage Facilities Survey”:

The information you provide is 100% maintained and managed by MEMA. You will provide data about your institution and collections, your building, location, known flood risk, and contact information. As a “participatory” database, rather than a static list, the information you provide—particularly the contact information—will be used by MEMA and its partners to facilitate local, state, or federal assistance in the event of tornadoes, hurricanes, coastal flooding, inland flooding, or other unexpected hazards and disasters.

COSTEP MA is leading the promotion and outreach for the survey. Because the project will be ongoing at MEMA, we will suggest and remind our constituents to periodically review and update their information—we will send out reminders at least annually.

Our goals for this project:

  • To provide MEMA with data about cultural resources in the Commonwealth that include:
    • specific locations, mapped to known and projected risks, and
    • up-to-date contact information.
  • To provide cultural institutions in Massachusetts an opportunity to make their cultural resources known among emergency management professionals in a simple, easy-to-use, and easy-to-update format.
  • When a disaster strikes, to facilitate response and recovery of the State’s cultural and historic resources by enabling MEMA and other (local/federal) response and recovery professionals direct contact with institutions of cultural heritage.

COSTEP MA strongly encourages cultural institutions to create a listing and check it yearly. At no cost and with little effort, you will be taking a meaningful step in emergency preparedness for your institution. As we experience the impacts of climate change and their cascading effects, this tool provides you with an opportunity to proactively protect the collections and records held in the public trust.