Art Collector Disaster Mitigation & Planning Checklist

Art Collector Disaster Mitigation & Planning Checklist


The hurricane season runs from June through end of November. Hazards from these storms come in many forms including high winds and storm surges.  Tornados, flooding and other disasters can happen at any time. A simple disaster plan along with employing some common sense measures can serve to help mitigate damage or total destruction.

Not unlike the protection of general property, the mitigation of damage to art and collectibles during a storm includes doing everything possible to alleviate total destruction and being prepared to take immediate action should damage occur.


PRIORITY ONE: at the onset of a storm, the most important concern is ensuring one’s personal safety and that of loved ones.

  1. Fine art inventory: maintain a list of valuable artworks with descriptions, photos, values and gallery receipts, prepared well in advance. Include emergency telephone numbers of your insurance agents, brokers, insurance company (note your policy number), conservators, art storage facility and local freeze dry facilities. Keep an extra copy with your insurance agent.
  2. Protection of documents: secure important documents in water and fire proof safes or storage boxes. Keep additional copies at a separate secure location.
  3. Develop a priority list for objects to be saved.  Value is not the only consideration. Objects on loan should be given priority. Other considerations might be size, sentimental value, rare works, and items particularly vulnerable to the anticipated event.
  4. Art storage: plan in advance to make arrangements for art transportation to an arts storage facility; in an emergency facilities will more likely respond to customers they know so establish a relationship before a crisis strikes.
  5. Home improvement: protective shutters and roof hurricane clips in place, outside furniture securely bolted, tied down, or stored indoors.
  6. Emergency supplies: stock up on flashlights, fans, dehumidifiers, sump pumps, water, medication, hurricane lamps and oil, matches and coolers. If you have an emergency generator, please make sure it is above possible high water levels and is tested regularly (minimally each month)
  7. Damage Documentation: Video or digital imagery will help you document damage. Use waterproof camera bags to protect your equipment so you are ready to take pictures.
  8. Damage control is a matter of quick action. Putting wet art works on paper into a freezer until professional help arrives. Prepare a list of conservators with contact information who specializes in a collector’s focus (for example works on paper, Asian sculpture or textiles). Renwick can help you identify suitable candidates.

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