The Texas Historical Commission is ready to help property owners, local officials and state and federal agencies in communities that may be impacted by weather events.
In Texas, both disaster preparedness and disaster relief are coordinated by the Division of Emergency Management (DEM). When the President declares a federal disaster, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) becomes involved. The use of federal funds to assist communities after a disaster is subject to review under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act when the clean-up and repair work impacts historic properties. In these situations DEM and FEMA consult with the Texas Historical Commission to ensure that the historic resources are protected.
The THC can advise owners of historic properties on the proper clean-up and rehabilitation techniques after disaster strikes. In Texas the most prevalent disaster threats are floods, hurricanes and tornados. Fire also poses a threat to individual historic buildings and can constitute a small-scale disaster for property owners.
The following websites provide useful information on appropriate treatment of historic properties and museum collections after a disaster:
- Museums and cultural institutions: The American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works – Collections Emergency Response Team (AIC-CERT) responds to the needs of cultural institutions during emergencies and disasters. Additionally, many of Heritage Preservation's critical programs transitioned to this organization following its dissolution in 2015.
- Historic buildings: Repairing Your Flooded Home by the Red Cross and FEMA is a step-by-step guide from the immediate aftermath to repair and rebuilding after a flood. The Historic Preservation Division of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources also has information on recovering from flood damage in the publication After the Flood: Rehabilitating Historic Resources.
- Truss bridges: The Texas Department of Transportation has developed guidance for addressing flood damage to truss bridges.
- Cemeteries: Cemetery Disaster Planning by the Chicora Foundation, Inc., is a comprehensive look at how to prepare for emergencies in advance and also includes valuable tips for how to respond in the aftermath of a disaster. The National Center for Preservation Technology and Training also offers guidance for recovery efforts in historic cemeteries in this blog post and related links.
Did your public or private nonprofit facility sustain damage during a disaster?
If so, you may be eligible for public assistance. State government agencies, local governments and special districts, private nonprofit organizations that are open to the general public (including museums) and federally recognized Indian tribes should register with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for possible reimbursement. Please go to the Texas Division of Emergency Management website for information.
The Texas Division of Emergency Management featured the THC as a partner agency in their August 2016 issue of Texas Emergency Management Online. The article discusses the THC's response following hurricanes, oil spills, and other disasters, and discusses best practices for historic buildings, museums, and archeological sites.
THC Disaster Relief Contacts
To reach the THC in the event of an emergency, call 512.463.6094 or send an email to Elizabeth Brummett.