Prepare. Plan. Preserve.

Many partners are needed to protect and preserve the cultural collections and historic structures and sites that represent the heritage of Massachusetts. Collaborative planning and coordinated response can lessen the damaging effects of disasters and help speed recovery for the institutions that house these collections and the communities themselves. However, the partnerships essential to protecting our cultural heritage need to be in place before disaster strikes, and that is why COSTEP MA exists.

COSTEP MA (Coordinated Statewide Emergency Preparedness in Massachusetts) is a collaborative of representatives of cultural and historical institutions and agencies as well as first responder and emergency management professionals from federal, state, and municipal governments. The purpose of COSTEP MA is to build and foster a statewide emergency planning process that serves the cultural and emergency management communities and addresses disaster prevention, preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation. The process will ensure an ongoing dialogue that promotes mutual understanding and coordination between these communities, both of which are committed to protecting our Commonwealth’s cultural heritage.

Before, during, or after a disaster, COSTEP MA can help.


The Starter Kit is a handbook that introduces the COSTEP concept to emergency managers and stewards of cultural heritage. The Framework is a planning tool designed to bring together cultural resource institutions with emergency management agencies and first responders. It provides a blueprint for preparing for area-wide disasters and building alliances with federal, state, and local emergency management agencies. COSTEP MA was developed using the COSTEP Framework.


Emergency Management for Natural, Cultural, and Historic Resources: A Massachusetts Resource

This document provides useful information about how emergency management and cultural heritage personnel can collaborate and learn about how to protect these important resources. Included are links to training sessions, documents, and other organizations which share the goals of preserving our cultural resources and communities.

This formal addition to the state Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan (CEMP) includes cultural resources in existing response systems, providing coordination of federal, state, local, voluntary, and private resources to assist, preserve, and protect cultural and historical institutions and resources before, during, and after natural or man-made disasters.

These documents are used by COSTEP MA partners to detail the extent of assistance they might be able to provide in the event of a disaster. This might include facility space, staff, equipment, expertise, or other forms of support.

COSTEP MA Trainings

COSTEP MA will periodically offer trainings on a variety of topics relevant to disaster planning, emergency preparedness, and caring for affected collections. When trainings are available, information will be shared on this page.

Arthur Dutil speaks at the Salem Risk Assessment Training session on April 16, 2014.
Arthur Dutil speaks at the Salem Risk Assessment Training session on April 16, 2014. Courtesy Andy Grilz

Current Training Sessions

  • None at this time

Past Training Sessions

  • Risk Assessment and Mitigation Training: Held on April 16 (Salem, MA), May 15 (Harwich, MA), June 12 (Northampton, MA), and June 25 (Worcester, MA) in 2014. Information about the sessions can be accessed here. A summary of these sessions is available here.