New Guide: Museums and Disaster Risk Reduction

I’m very happy to launch a new guide, ‘Museums and Disaster Risk Reduction: building resilience in museums, society and nature’.

Disaster Risk Reduction is aimed at managing and reducing disaster risk, all of which contribute to strengthening resilience and therefore to the achievement of sustainable development. Disaster Risk Reduction is the source of the phrase ‘build back better’; this Guide helps explore what it really means and how museums can play a part in it.

This Guide aims to help empower museums (small, large and of any kind, anywhere), museum workers, museum networks and their partners to draw on Disaster Risk Reduction approaches. This should help them reduce the impact of disasters, whether COVID-19, climate change, or any other kind of disaster, for the benefit of themselves, their communities, and the natural environment.

So, the Guide has two main goals:
To help museums build their resilience, and reduce the impact of disasters on museums themselves.

To help museums contribute to resilience-building in the wider world, for the benefit of society and the natural environment.


Many museums already consider disaster risk in terms of protecting their own buildings and collections. This Guide takes a broader perspective, that museums can play a key role in supporting people, communities, the whole of society and nature, to prevent or mitigate disasters in the wider world. Making a difference in the world is, arguably, the best way for museums to be resilient as organizations.

The Guide is intended to be used by those with named responsibility for museums, museum associations and training bodies, museum funders, museum staff of all kinds, partner organizations and networks, anyone involved in Disaster Risk Reduction or disaster planning for communities, towns and/or the natural environment.

In 2020, I was due to travel as a Winston Churchill Travelling Fellow, to explore how museums and the cultural sector can accelerate their contributions to the Sustainable Development Goals, Paris Agreement and Disaster Risk Reduction. While I have not yet been able to travel, this guide is offered as a contribution to this project. An element of the writing of the guide was supported by COVID Response funding from Arts Council England.

You can download the Guide here:

Curating Tomorrow Guides are provided free, to help support take-up, but that does not mean they are free to produce. If you have found Curating Tomorrow resources useful, you can make a donation to show your appreciation, and support the development of existing and new resources. It doesn’t matter if you want to donate £5, £10 or more, but please donate something. Currently, less than 1% of people who download the guides make a donation. Thank you.

Published by Henry McGhie

I have set up Curating Tomorrow as a new business. I know that lots of people, organisations and networks care about the communities they are based in, broader social issues and the natural environment. Curating Tomorrow takes museum-based skills of curating, and applies them to the wider world. It is about helping people and organisations move farther, faster, together to build a better world.

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2 Comments

  1. I work at a university museum in Bogota, Colomnbia and I am here for the ICCROM OCM Project. Is there a Spanish translation for this document or working document that you could kindly share?

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