The Goose Fire is seen burning on Aug. 4, 2022 in the Yukon Flats area of northeast Alaska, about 41 miles east of Fort Yukon.
The Goose Fire is seen burning on Aug. 4, 2022 in the Yukon Flats area of northeast Alaska, about 41 miles east of Fort Yukon. Photo by John Lyons/BLM Alaska Fire Service

A new Alaska Heritage Emergency Network (AHEN) has been established by the Alaska State Museum and the Alaska Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, to address cultural heritage needs before, during and after disasters. 

“The AHEN group hopes to connect cultural heritage organizations, especially those with collections, with each other and with emergency management professionals,” said Mary Irvine, curator of statewide services for the Alaska State Museum. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the state museum offered an emergency preparedness course followed by hands-on workshops to learn about state and federal disaster response. That course helped participants learn how cultural institutions and organizations can integrate into existing government-led emergency efforts. 

The Alaska Heritage Emergency Network has since written a charter document and is offering free participation to arts and culture organizations and emergency management responders at all levels across Alaska.  
As natural disasters such as wildland fires, typhoon-level storms, exacerbated seasonal flooding, and communication infrastructure failures increase in frequency and severity, a statewide group of museum, archives, and library workers – together with emergency management personnel – have come together to create a forum for sharing emergency resources information. 

For more information on how to participate, or to subscribe to the Network listserv, email [email protected]

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