In the current context surrounding COVID-19, several authorities are requesting the closure of many gathering places. The Canadian Conservation Institute (CCI) would like to share some recommendations for heritage institutions.
First and foremost, we encourage everyone to follow the latest advice from their regional public health authorities.
Concerning your heritage collections:
- If you are faced with having to shut down your institution, we refer you to CCI Note 1/3 Closing a Museum for the Winter for tips on how to do this safely and efficiently.
- To protect yourself in your workplace, we refer you to the Government of Canada’s Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Being prepared resource, in particular the “For workplaces” section. Furthermore, we remind you that the virus does spread via contact with contaminated surfaces, which can include objects and collections. This is the warning from the World Health Organization:
When someone who has COVID-19 coughs or exhales they release droplets of infected fluid. Most of these droplets fall on nearby surfaces and objects - such as desks, tables or telephones. People could catch COVID-19 by touching contaminated surfaces or objects – and then touching their eyes, nose or mouth. (Getting your workplace ready for COVID-19
- As the virus is able to live on surfaces for several days, our best advice is to avoid contact with heritage objects for some time to reduce the likelihood of viral exposure. If handling collections cannot be avoided, wearing the appropriate personal protective equipment is required.
- Please note that the information circulating from various sources on how to disinfect surfaces (for example, desks, tables, telephones) can be very dangerous for some objects. To avoid damaging your collection, always consult a professional conservator before doing any kind of treatment. For this, we refer you to the Canadian Association for Conservation of Cultural Property and the Canadian Association of Professional Conservators to find conservators in your area.
As always, please contact CCI's Client Services
if you require assistance. As with many federal institutions, CCI is encouraging its staff to telework until further notice. Therefore, you may experience some delays in receiving responses to inquiries.
In addition, all business travel has been suspended for the time being. For those who were scheduled to receive services in early spring, you will soon be contacted to explore the possibility of postponing these services, if necessary. As you know, the situation is evolving. We will continue to monitor it and provide updates to those who are affected.