Scope of Work

Institutions benefitting from the work of this forum include, but are not limited to, museums, art galleries, archives, historical houses, national parks, local nature centers, botanical gardens, university teaching collections, private industry or governmental agency historical holdings, conservation laboratories and private conservation studios. This Working Group is a formal and productive partnership between AIHA, the American Institute for Conservation (AIC) and the OSHA On-Site Consultation Program (via the AIHA-OSHA Alliance).

Goals and Objectives

  • Raise awareness by participating in mutual conferences and promote allied networking between AIHA Local Sections and regional Conservation Guilds/Associations.
  • Develop OEHS core curriculum for museum studies programs and provide museum occupational learning opportunities for public health undergraduate and graduate students.
  • Contribute OEHS resources to cultural heritage emergency preparedness and response networks.
  • Promote OSHA Small Business and On-Site Consultation Services to employers of non-government-funded small museums and other cultural institutions.
  • Provide cultural heritage professionals with evidenced-based best practice guidelines and occupational risk management tools for work tasks and public exhibit space.

Current Projects and Collaborations

  • Developing interdisciplinary teaching collaborations and training modules for museum studies/conservation programs on pilot project campuses.
  • Introducing AIHA Student Local Sections to new career or research opportunities via practicums and internships with campus museums, galleries and teaching collections.
  • Collaborating with AIHA Incident Preparedness and Response Working Group in writing an AIHA White Paper on OEHS emergency planning interface with cultural heritage response teams.
  • Working with OSHA On-Site Consultation Program to promote its OEHS services to assist museum and cultural heritage facility employers identify and control hazards.
  • Working with the American Institute for Conservation Health & Safety Network to connect regional conservation organizations with AIHA Local Sections.
  • Collaborating with AIHA Respiratory Protection Committee and AIC Health & Safety Network to create vendor resources for respiratory training and fit-testing for private practice and small-employee sized businesses in need of easily available, cost-effective services.
  • Contributing to AIHA Defining the Science Initiative by developing easily accessible worker self-monitoring techniques, and AIHA Standards of Care Initiative by collecting, statistically analyzing, and publishing industrial hygiene program exposure monitoring and control data on collection care work, to validate best-practice guidelines.
  • Assisting AIC to further develop their Historic House Hazard Self-Assessment Survey tools and information resources, especially for sites without easy access to OEHS consultants.

Awards

  • AIHA 2020 Outstanding Volunteer Group.
  • AIHA 2020 Outstanding Project Team Award (with AIHA IPRWG).

Recognition

The Health and Safety Virtual Exhibit of the Year Award

The Health and Safety Virtual Exhibit of the Year Award acknowledges the power of an instructive, visually appealing virtual exhibit to tell a story about occupational and environmental health and safety issues. Through this award, the AIHA Museum and Cultural Heritage Working Group seeks to encourage others to identify or develop other health and safety-related virtual exhibits. This year’s recipient is Cornell University School of Industrial Labor and Relations for their compelling exhibit The 1911 Triangle Factory Fire.

Cultural Heritage Health and Safety Advocate Award

The 2021 inaugural award is presented by the AIHA Museum and Cultural Heritage Working Group to Eryl P. Wentworth, former Executive Director of the American Institute for Conservation (AIC), whose significant work transformed the occupational health and safety landscape for the cultural heritage industry. Her emphasis on allied professional collaborations, including her 2016 proposal to establish a partnership between AIHA and AIC, led to the creation of the Museum and Cultural Heritage Industry Working Group. Her organizational support for the 30+ year old AIC Safety and Health Network resulted in AIC being a major resource for health and safety training, guidelines, and workshops for its members, many of whom are in private practice or small businesses. Ms. Wentworth ensured that AIHA Senior Leadership would be included on the Advisory Council and Steering Committee of the new 2020 Held in Trust Initiative between AIC’s Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities, thus guaranteeing the inclusion of safety and health into all aspects of the conservation and cultural heritage professions.

Interested? Join Us!

Our members range from students to career-long professionals, with a varied mix of OEHS practitioners, conservators, and collection managers. We are a friendly and active group, with engaging monthly Zoom meetings. You can choose the level of involvement that fits your availability by:

  • Joining a project team: learn from each other and produce real-world tools to protect workers.
  • Participating in monthly meetings and suggesting other areas of concern to explore.
  • One and done micro-volunteering tasks as needs arise.
  • Stepping up to a leadership role (Secretary-elect, Secretary, Vice Chair, Chair).

For more information, contact one of our officers:

  • Chair Kathryn Makos, MPH CIH; MPH CIH; Smithsonian Institution (ret); [email protected].
  • Vice-Chair Jeffrey Sotek PE, CSP, CIH; Sr. Associate Industrial Hygienist; Wood Environment & Infrastructure Solutions, Inc.; [email protected].
  • Secretary Ralph Froehlich CIH, CSP, QEP; President, Helix Environmental, Inc.; [email protected].
  • Secretary-Elect Carlis Brown, MSPH, CIH; [email protected].

Working Group/AIHA Products and Presentations

EXTERNAL RESOURCES: Relevant to Cultural Heritage Occupations