A needs assessment will be conducted on the Archives and Records Management Unit of the Office of the Deputy Governor following the devastation caused by the 2017 hurricanes.
Head of Conservation at the Curacao National Archives, Mrs. Valérie Martens-Monier will visit the Territory from April 14 until 20 to conduct a survey of damage to buildings and records collections, meet with collection caretakers and make recommendations about the on-going stabilisation of damaged collections.
Chief Records Management Officer, for the Archives and Records Management Unit, Mr. Christopher Varlack shared that after hurricanes Irma and Maria, CARBICA reached out to the Archives and Records Management Unit to see what assistance they could render given the significant damage experienced.
He said, “After ongoing discussions, CARBICA saw fit to award us a small grant to help with our recovery efforts and to have Mrs. Martens-Monier visit to afford us the benefit of her years of experience as a professional conservator.”
Mrs. Martens-Monier will hold a roundtable for staff in Government registries to field questions about salvage and recovery of Government records. She will pay a courtesy call on the Deputy Governor, Mr. David D. Archer, Jr. and Permanent Secretary (Ag) in the Office of the Deputy Governor, Mrs. Carolyn Stoutt-Igwe. She will also interact with other public officers, senior managers and heads of department on Tortola and the Sister Islands.
A key aspect of the conservator’s visit will be meeting with members of the Department of Disaster Management to discuss ways that cultural assets may be included in national and regional disaster plans going forward.
The visit is being sponsored by the Caribbean Branch of the International Council on Archives (CARBICA) and supports its region-wide objectives to enhance member abilities to recover the loss of cultural heritage and to encourage consideration for cultural assets by disaster management authorities.
The visit is also part of CARBICA's larger "Archives at Risk" project, a three-year initiative funded by the International Council on Archives (ICA).
Mrs. Martens-Monier recently completed a similar visit to Dominica and will compile a final report outlining a way forward for archives and records in the Territory. Her report will act as an advocacy document for improved recordkeeping and preservation systems.
She is a trained paper conservator with qualifications from the Institut National du Patrimoine in France, and an art historian.
Mrs. Valérie Martens-Monier’s visit is part of activities to observe Records and Information Management (RIM) Month, annually observed in the Territory each April. Throughout the month the unit will highlight measures that can prevent and mitigate the effect of disasters on records and archives.
Photo credit: CARBICA