National Archives to Hold 22nd Annual Preservation Conference March 10
Press Release · Tuesday, February 5, 2008

The ABCs of Modern Fire Suppression in Cultural Institutions

Washington, DC…The National Archives will host a preservation conference entitled The ABCs of Modern Fire Suppression In Cultural Institutions. On Monday, March 10, 2008. Archivist of the United States Allen Weinstein will provide Opening Remarks for the event, which will be held at the William G. McGowan Theater of the National Archives Building, which is located on Constitution Avenue between 7th and 9th Streets NW, and is fully accessible.

The ABCs of Modern Fire Suppression will provide an in-depth review of fire suppression systems appropriate for the protection of archives and other cultural property. There will be an examination of what had been utilized in the past and what modern systems are being used effectively. The program will feature insights as to what fire suppression technologies might be utilized in the future and how cultural institutions might adapt in an environment of shrinking budgets but increasing volumes of holdings needing to be safeguarded.

The ABCs of Modern Fire Suppression will address recent advances in specific fire suppression systems that are applicable to confined spaces (records vaults, high bay storage), vulnerable materials (artifacts), and electronic equipment (data repositories). The Conference will address the impact these suppression systems have on the natural environment within the context of the Kyoto Protocol and other policies adopted in response to the threat of global warming.

The ABCs of Modern Fire Suppression will benefit archivists, librarians, conservators, preservation specialists, facility managers, architects and engineers, and curators of museums and historic properties. Attendees will learn about modern, emerging technologies to protect their collections against fire loss or damage. In addition, attendees will gain an understanding of what the appropriate choices are for their institution and why the layout of building spaces, the configuration of shelving and storage units, and the nature of the materials to be protected all must be taken into account when designing and procuring a fire suppression system. There will also be an exhibit by vendors who provide products and services to the fire suppression field.

Conference speakers will include the following experts in the field of modern fire suppression technologies and practices:  Michael J. Kurtz, Assistant Archivist, Office of Records Services, National Archives; Doris Hamburg, Director for Preservation Programs, National Archives; Catherine Nicholson, Supervisory Conservator, National Archives; J. Andrew Wilson, Associate Director for Fire Protection and Safety, Smithsonian Institution; Nick Artim, Director of the Fire Safety Network; Dr. Frederick W. Mowrer, Associate Professor in the Department of Fire Protection Engineering, University of Maryland; Ron Noll, Chief of the Real Property Management Branch, National Archives; Julian Taylor, Construction Project Sponsor, British Library; Roberta Pilette, Head of the Preservation Department, Yale University; Patricia Silence, Conservator of Exhibits, Colonial Williamsburg; and, Cornelius Rusnov, Project Coordinator, State Library of Pennsylvania. View the conference program.

The fee for the one-day conference is $125 ($75 for full-time students). For details, registration forms, and information on lodging and transport, go to the Preservation Conference web page. For additional conference information, please contact Conference Coordinator, Richard Schneider at 301-837-3617 or

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The conference is open to the media. For press information, contact the National Archives Public Affairs Staff at 202 357-5300.


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