Maritime Museum Emergency and Disaster Preparedness and Recovery Manual

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Maritime Museum Emergency

and Disaster Preparedness and Recovery Manual

Prepared by

The Council of American Maritime Museums

with matching support from

The Institute of Museum Services

May 1, 1995

In museum loss control, an emergency doesn't have to become a disaster, but without a disaster plan in place it's likely that it will.
Evelyn Gilbert, National Underwriter, 1992

Deadliest United States Natural Disasters


Galveston, Texas

Hurricane and flood

Over 6,000 dead; 3,600 homes destroyed


Johnstown, Pennsylvania

Dam collapse and flood

Over 2,200 dead


Peshtigo, Wisconsin


Over 1,200 dead; 2 billion trees burned


San Francisco, California

Earthquake and fire

Over 700 dead or missing; more than 10 square kilometers of city razed




695 dead

Insured Losses in Recent Major Disasters


Hurricane Andrew

$16.5 billion


Hurricane Hugo

$4.2 billion


East Coast winter storm

$1.5 billion


Oakland fires

$1.2 billion


San Francisco earthquake

$960 million


Southern California wildfires

$950 million


Los Angeles riots

$775 million

Recent Maritime Museum Disasters

George M. Verity, a 1927 sternwheel towboat owned by the Keokuk River Museum, suffered flooding in her bow compartments during the 1993 Mississippi River flooding.
USS Inaugural, a WWII minesweeper, was swept away from her berth and sank during the 1993 Mississippi River flooding.
USS Pampanito, a WWII submarine in San Francisco, suffered $180,000 in damage plus another $250,000 in damage to its pier when it was hit by a hundred year event in 1988. The Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989 damaged the museum's gift shop, library, and artifact storage facility, which was declared unsafe and had to be moved.
William Mitchell, a 1934 sidewheel steam dredge, broke free of her mooring, hit three bridges, sheared off a smokestack, and suffered extensive damage to her second deck during the 1992 flooding of the Mississippi River.

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