Date of Award

May 2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Historic Preservation (MHP)


Planning, Development, and Preservation

Committee Member

Amalia Leifeste

Committee Member

Craig Bennett, Jr.

Committee Member

Laurel Bartlett, PhD.

Committee Member

William Hamilton


Natural disasters are unavoidable and oftentimes unpredictable. They have the power to physically and financially cripple house museums and historic sites. While they cannot be stopped, they can be planned for and prepared for. Natural disaster preparedness plans are a vital part of site management for all institutions. While the literature about disaster planning specifically for house museums and historic sites is scarce, the planning process has largely remained the same for the past three decades. The last survey on this topic was Covering Your Assets’ 2004 survey edited by Elizabeth Merritt. This thesis survey will serve as the next snapshot of this museum practice.

This thesis uncovers the general state of natural disaster preparedness among house museums and historic sites with the intent of understanding the prevalence of natural disaster planning and the forms it takes. It is not designed to critique the execution or development of said plans. Since the last survey on this subject, Covering Your Assets, the rate of disaster planning among surveyed institutions has risen minimally, 55% (n=148) to 57% (n=58). The survey results will stand as a benchmark against which other institutions may measure themselves.



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