August 13, 2020

Board Approves New Working Group for Museum and Cultural Heritage Industry

Photo Credit: Smithsonian Institution

By Kathryn Makos

The Museum and Cultural Heritage Industry Working Group, an active community on Catalyst since 2017, was officially approved by the AIHA Board on May 30, 2020. Our working group partners with the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (AIC) to create a forum that brings OHS professionals together with conservation, cultural heritage, and collection management professionals and their organizations to effectively address the risk management needs of this “industry.” Join us as we facilitate interdisciplinary teaching collaborations between schools of public health and museum studies or conservation/conservation science programs; promote networking between AIHA Local Sections and AIC-affiliated local guilds and art associations; and work with AIHA’s Incident Preparedness and Response Working Group to assess health and safety resource needs for cultural heritage emergency response training programs.

The group is working to develop evidenced-based documents for exposure management and occupational hazard mitigation in cultural institutions. One example is the recently published “Reopening: Guidance for Museums and Collecting Institutions,” available via (PDF). The Museum and Cultural Heritage Industry Working Group also enjoys a productive partnership with OSHA’s Office of Small Business Assistance and On-Site Consultation Program to promote these valuable services to museum and cultural heritage site employers and small businesses such as conservation studios.

The institutions and occupations benefitting from the working group’s activities include art galleries, archives, historical houses, national parks, local nature centers, botanical gardens, university teaching collections, private industry or governmental agency historical holdings, and private conservation studios. To learn more, contact Chair Kathryn Makos, Vice Chair Jeffrey Sotek, or Secretary Ralph Froehlich.

Kathryn Makos, MPH, CIH, is chair of the AIHA Museum and Cultural Heritage Industry Working Group.