The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating effect on arts, cultural, and history organizations. Even as you struggle to survive amid shutdowns and the loss of revenue-generating activities, you must now address reopening and prepare for the inevitable next disaster. Join Lori Foley of the Heritage Emergency National Task Force (HENTF) in an overview of how HENTF supports states when disasters rise to the level requiring federal engagement. Also during the program, Leslie B. Jones of the Preservation Society of Newport County will discuss what it takes to assess and prepare 3,554,901 square feet of historic, indoor space and 88 acres of outdoor landscape to reopen to the public after a worldwide pandemic. It comes as no surprise that the answer is not simple, nor is it immediately apparent. Leslie will outline and guide us through the various steps the institution has taken during lockdown and how they are strategizing to safely reopen to the public. With consideration and planning in place for a diverse range of historic surfaces, unique interior layouts, and the safety and security of both visitors and staff, we must all forget what was once normal and instead normalize what is now possible. Ample time will be available for Q&A.
Lori Foley is the administrator of the Heritage Emergency National Task Force, a public-private partnership between FEMA and the Smithsonian Institution. She coordinates collaboration and information sharing between the cultural heritage and emergency management communities to protect the nation’s cultural heritage. Prior to joining FEMA in 2015, she was the VP of Emergency Programs at Heritage Preservation in DC. From 2001 to 2011, she worked at the Northeast Document Conservation Center, where she was the Director of Preservation Services and, before that, a Field Service Representative.
Leslie B. Jones is the Director of Museum Affairs and Chief Curator for The Preservation Society of Newport County. She is responsible for the collections, conservation, research, and programming of the eleven historic properties under the care of the Preservation Society. She is a member of the three-person task force charged with designing and implementing the re-opening logistics and optics for the institution. Prior to joining the PS, she ran a private consulting practice for historic sites and museums across the country and served as the Vice President, Museum Affairs and Curator of Decorative Arts at Cheekwood Estate & Gardens in Nashville, Tennessee, and the Curator & Director of Historical Resources and Programming at the White House Historical Association in Washington, DC.