COSTEP MA aims to bring together representatives of cultural and historical institutions and agencies and first responder and emergency management professionals through programming that includes training sessions, symposia, workshops, and community meetings.

Upcoming events

There are no upcoming COSTEP MA events scheduled at this time. Please check back soon for updates.

Past events

Pandemic Safety at Cultural Heritage Institutions, April 29, 3p-4p

Standards and practices for workplace safety—and for the safety of those communities we serve—have dramatically changed due to COVID-19. To keep rates of infection low, minimize risks to ourselves and our visitors, and as scientific studies continually emerge to further elucidate the nature of the virus and how it is transmitted, these standards and practices have evolved over the course of the pandemic. 

This virtual event hosts two panelists: 

  • Michael Flanagan, Director, Massachusetts Department of Labor Standards, to present the current standards applicable to cultural institutions including libraries and museums; and 
  • Dr. Martin Z. Bazant, E. G. Roos (1944) Professor of Chemical Engineering / Digital Learning Officer / Professor of Mathematics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, to present an interactive and publicly-available online tool that helps users self-assess air quality in their building spaces, and estimate the risks of airborne virus transmission.

Learn with COSTEP: A study group to apply the Incident Command System (ICS) to your cultural institution

COSTEP MA will be hosting an informal study group between December 2020 and February 2021 to go over the Incident Command System (ICS). All are encouraged to join to learn more about, or get a refresher on, this standardized approach to emergency response that has been in place at the local, state, and national levels since the 1970s. Knowing the ins and outs of ICS can better prepare you to coordinate with local first responders and state emergency managers when a disaster strikes, and can be very helpful when thinking about how your cultural institution might respond internally. How do we coordinate activities across teams or departments? Who is in charge? How is that decision made? For larger disasters, knowing ICS is a reliable means of understanding how federal, state, and local response will be organized for that disaster.

The self-paced study group is a great opportunity for beginners to receive their first ICS training and for anyone familiar with ICS to receive a training and implementation refresher. At your own pace, take the basic ICS training and then watch a video from David W. Carmicheal on applying this to cultural institutions. We will join together in February as a group to have a study session and discuss what we learned, ask questions, and further discuss applying this model to your own institution.  All activities are free.

  • December 2020: ICS 100 Training.
  • January 2021: Learn about implementation.
    • Schedule a time to watch David W. Carmicheal’s webinar, The Supercharged Management System, published through the Foundation for Advancement in Conservation (FAIC)’s Connecting to Collections Care program, to learn how to put ICS to use:
  • February 2021: ICS training round-up and FAQ.
    • Join COSTEP MA for an informal, virtual meet-up on Monday, February 22nd from 2:00-3:00pm to discuss all things ICS. Bring your questions, comments, and insights from what you’ve learned! To receive the Zoom information, email

For more information, visit the event details blog post at:

Tabletop Exercise Materials

COSTEP MA Virtual Tabletop Exercise
Tuesday, September 22, 2020
10:00am – 12:00pm ET

COSTEP MA is excited to announce a new, free program that will provide Massachusetts cultural heritage institutions a chance to test and improve their disaster plans: the COSTEP MA Virtual Tabletop Exercise (TTX). A tabletop exercise presents one (or many) hypothetical scenarios through moderated prompts that simulate the experience of responding to a disaster. The COSTEP MA TTX will host multiple institutions in a virtual setting to test their plans, respond to disaster scenarios in real time, and then discuss the decision-making process with each other through virtual conference technology. Most or all of an institution’s staff are encouraged to participate. COSTEP MA plans to offer multiple exercises in 2020, and participation will be limited for each exercise.

In order to participate, your institution must commit to the following requirements:

  • The purpose of a TTX is to test your disaster plan. Your institution must have an up-to-date disaster plan that has been reviewed by participating staff to bring to the exercise on September 22nd. In order to help institutions prepare for the exercise and update their plans, COSTEP MA will be publishing a short blog series over the summer on tips for updating your plan.

A TTX provides your staff with an opportunity to work together as a team to respond to a simulated disaster. Your institution should ensure that multiple staff members are available to participate together on September 22nd. The TTX planners strongly encourage participation by leadership, response team members, and facilities staff. Volunteers and board members, if they have a role in response, are also welcome to participate as institutional members.


Hurricane Season Readiness webinar
Tuesday, June 16, 2020

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has predicted a busy hurricane season for 2020. As institutions begin planning for reopening procedures during the state’s four-phased approach, now is the time to factor in hurricane preparedness.

Join COSTEP MA, a statewide network of cultural heritage and emergency management professionals, for a virtual presentation and Q&A session with Matthew Belk, a Lead Meteorologist for the National Weather Service, Boston, on the 2020 upcoming hurricane season.

This webinar will:

  • cover hazards posed by tropical storms and hurricanes in southern New England;
  • enable your institution to evaluate hurricane-related threats to your facilities; and
  • prepare you to begin the process of constructing a mitigation plan.

Massachusetts Libraries Respond to Emergencies with COSTEP MA
April 24, 2020

Coordinated Statewide Emergency Preparedness in Massachusetts (COSTEP MA) is a network of representatives of cultural and historical institutions as well as first responder and emergency management professionals from federal, state, and municipal governments. COSTEP MA co-chairs Alejandra Dean (Massachusetts Archives) and Evan Knight (Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners) will discuss strategies and resources developed by COSTEP MA to help better prepare for and respond to a disaster or emergency. As our communities are now confronted with challenges and disruptions related to COVID-19, this webinar will focus its discussion of resources on those related to the current public health crisis.

Resilience Symposium for Cultural Institutions
September 10, 2019

COSTEP MA Resilience Symposium for Cultural Institutions logo

Session 1 Climate Change and Resilience for Cultural Institutions resources:

The following presentation files were compressed to support upload to the COSTEP MA website, and the image quality is reduced.

Session 2 What to Expect in Community-Wide/Large Disasters resources:

The following presentation files were compressed to support upload to the COSTEP MA website, and the image quality is reduced.

Additional Resources: