Spring RRN Newsletter - AGM and training
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Rapid Response Network Newsletter

Please share this email with colleagues in your organisation, it contains useful links for the RRN and will help to make more people aware of the important resources provided by the network.
Hello and welcome to the spring Rapid Response Network newsletter,

Hopefully you all got through the winter safely with no problems for you or your collections!
Although we are hopefully leaving the worst of the weather behind, potential threats to collections and buildings can happen at anytime. In March 2013 a damaging fire occurred in the Cuming Museum in London, and the Museums Association has just reported that a year on, 920 objects have been conserved but 30 objects were sadly lost and they are still operating out of another building. See for this article..

The RRN kit and training is there for members to prepare for such obstacles and hopefully minimise damage to collectioms.
We hope that you won't need to use the kits, but if you do you can find all of the member information on our website

Thank you for supporting the RRN; we couldn't function without your important memberships.
RRN Committee
AGM and free emergency salvage workshop on May 22nd
The RRN annual general meeting will be held at the Edward Boyle Library, the University of Leeds on the morning of May 22nd.  The AGM is your chance to have a say about how your organisation is run. Elections will also be held for the management committee.  The committee meets three to four times a year and is currently working hard on shaping the RRN’s strategic direction. We particularly need committee members with skills in marketing, fundraising and website development and who are interested in building regional partnerships to further our strategic goals. This is not only a chance to play a part in directing RRN’s future activities but a great CPD and networking opportunity too!
Following the meeting, we are pleased to welcome conservators Sandra Howe (National Trust) and Caroline Rawson (English Heritage) who will be speaking on emergency prevention and preparedness and sharing with us case studies and expert tips on moving, protecting and treating objects, so please do come along. Formal notice of the AGM and the agenda will be circulated soon.
In the afternoon our venue will be given over to a practical emergency salvage workshop, delivered by Caroline and Sandra.  The training is free for RRN members. This will be a chance to learn how to triage, handle, treat and pack a selection of materials typically found in collections, including ceramics, books, archives and works of art. Numbers will be limited to twenty on this workshop with one place being allocated per member organisation in the first instance.  Registration will be open to members shortly.

Membership subscription framework
A new framework for deciding RRN subscription levels is being considered, for ratification at the AGM.  The current categories of small, medium and large member organisation are based on collection size and numbers of visitors, users, staff and volunteers.  A new, simpler, more transparent, and possibly farer, framework based solely on operating costs is being looked at. If you want to feed in to the discussion, please contact us on
Fed Conservation conference on 29th April
Another date for the diary is the upcoming Yorkshire Federation of Museums and Galleries conference 'Conservation in Changing World, Make Do and Mend?' on Tuesday 29th April 2014 at Wakefield One. It costs £40 for Fed members and £50 for Non Fed members. The conference will be a chance to hear from a range of experienced conservation professionals.  As well as our current RRN Chair, Sharon Connell (Leeds University Library), speakers will include RRN committee member, Mary MacQueen (Conservation and Collections Officer, Wakefield Museums), Shirley Jones (Head of Conservation, West Yorkshire Archive Service), Chris Woods (Director of the National Conservation Service), John Whitaker (Social History Curator) & Eilidh McIntosh (Estate Steward, Nostell Priory, National Trust). The course is open to all Museum, Art Gallery and Library staff & volunteers. For detailed enquiries about this course please contact David Miller, at or Keith Crawshaw, FED Administrator,

Meet the membership

Hull Heritage Services
Working together for the benefit of both the museum and archive services has become second nature for Christine Brown, Hull History Centre conservator, and Caroline Rhodes, Hull Museums Collections Curator, now that both services sit under the banner of Hull Heritage within the city council. There is no museum conservator, so Christine has always been able to help Caroline out with advice about general collections care and conservation standards, whenever it has been needed.

Caroline (on the left in the photograph) has been the Collections Curator at Hull for nearly six years, overseeing documentation and collections care across nine sites, including management of the large object store which houses a large collection of vehicles, archaeology, and social/maritime objects.
 She has also succeeded in taking the service through accreditation, with every site recently being awarded the full national standard. This of course involved completely re-writing all the emergency plans which was a huge task, but the help received from the Rapid Response Network was invaluable. The training and emergency plan template issued by Harwell really saved a lot of time and effort, particularly the workshops on how to deal with objects in the hours and days after a fire or flood. Setting up a plastic wind tunnel under an upturned table proved particularly memorable! All of this information went into the new plans, including the materials and equipment list for the RRN kit stored at Beverley Treasure House. It really made us think about the detailed process we would go through to protect our precious Roman mosaics, or which route we could take to get the vintage cars out of the Streetlife Museum if we were ever faced with this decision.

 Christine has been the sole conservator for Hull City Archives, which now forms part of Hull History Centre, for over thirty-five years.  Hull History Centre is the new purpose built home for Hull’s written heritage and houses the collections of Hull City Archives and Hull University Archives, as well the Local Studies Library, and it opened in January 2010 thanks to the generous support of the Heritage Lottery Fund. As a new building it is designed to protect the collections to required national standards, and having a disaster plan in place is an essential additional part of this protection. Accreditation for archives has been recently introduced and the History Centre will shortly be starting the process of moving towards achieving this standard.
Museums and the City Archives were very lucky during the severe floods that hit the city in 2007, with no damage to any of the collections or buildings. Unfortunately though the University did have a flood in one of their basement storage areas that required the assistance of Harwell as a number of boxes of archives were affected by water. There have been some issues in the past year caused by high tides, which resulted in slight water ingress into one of the museum stores, but with the new red wheelie-bin emergency kits based at the Streetlife Museum and Ferens Art Gallery (which are within easy reach of the other museums) the equipment has been available to quickly and easily deal with the problem.
Now that the emergency plans are complete, Christine and Caroline are now looking to push forward the process by setting up joint meetings with Humberside Fire and Rescue, where the information from their plans can be integrated into the Operation Pre-Plans collated by the fire service. Archives and museums will also be working together on staff training, which is a requirement for museum accreditation so that everyone is aware of what to do in an emergency. Caroline and Christine are already starting to collect sheets of plastic, old paper, etc. to use in the hands on workshops. They may even set up their own plastic wind tunnel!
RRN has been there as a support every step of the way and Hull Heritage will continue its membership of the organisation, attending meetings and training events, which will hopefully now move on to how to maintain emergency planning awareness, which will assist the work being done in Hull by preparing the service for all eventualities - whatever they may be.

Follow us on Twitter!

The RRN is now tweeting!  Our Twitter account is @YorksRRN.  We’ll use this to keep in touch e.g. announcing forthcoming training and meetings, sharing relevant news stories and advice.  Please follow us or mention us to colleagues who tweet.  NB This account isn’t for use in emergency – we’ll only be looking at it during working hours!
Alison Cullingford, University of Bradford (@speccollbrad).

The RRN is about working co-operatively and sharing experience for the benefit of all members. ‘Meet the Membership’ is a chance for you to share news of emergency planning developments or innovations or anything else you think members would be interested to hear. Don’t wait to be invited! Please send your submissions for future newsletters to:

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