As I worked on a new exhibit for the historical society where I serve as director, my mind wandered to the special responsibility I have to protect our valuable holdings. As I placed a wedding dress from 1886 on a mannequin for public display, I felt a visceral need to protect the fabric, to ensure this beautiful garment and the many others I work with survive for future generations. It made me slightly nervous; I sensed the risk around me. But, as I worked with that dress, I recognized that I needed to find time to plan for the risks inherent in our work.
Genealogy organizations are vital to preserving historical records and genealogical information and making them available to researchers and the public. Our physical places, though, are susceptible to disasters that can compromise the integrity and availability of these records. For example, natural calamities such as floods, hurricanes, fires, and earthquakes, and human-caused events like theft and vandalism, can wipe out records. In addition, organizational challenges such as loss of volunteers, funding, and technological failures can result in lost access or even total loss of records.
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