On February 24, 2018 AFR Philly teamed up with Suburban Philadelphia Alliance for Response (SPAR), the Philadelphia Area Conservation Association (PACA) and AFR NYC to tour the Belfor Property Restoration facility in Exton, PA. Belfor is one of several commercial disaster response vendors that can help cultural institutions recover after a disaster. We wanted to give attendees a chance to see this type of facility in person, and have the chance to ask questions about the services that a commercial disaster response vendor can provide. Meeting with vendors to ask questions and vet their services before a disaster is a vital preparedness measure. The building in Exton is two years old and is the largest Belfor facility in the country.
We provided the roughly 30 attendees with sample questions to ask vendors about their products and services. The ninety minute tour included a close look at Belfor’s freezers, thermal freeze dryers, desiccant drying room and other equipment that they can deploy in the wake of a fire, flood or other disaster. Attendees had the opportunity to ask lots of questions and to get a real sense of the services that Belfor can offer. Our tour guides explained that about ninety percent of Belfor’s work comes from office recovery, and that they will work with clients to find the right solutions. They can and do refer to conservators when the job isn’t right for them. Many thanks to Belfor for welcoming our group and answering so many important questions!
Following the tour at Belfor, about 20 people reconvened for a very special, off-season tour of the Wharton Esherick Museum in Malvern, PA. The rainy weather didn’t detract from the beautiful setting. We split into two small groups and got an up-close look at Esherick’s home and workspace. We even had a chance to touch some of the objects! We would like to thank everyone at the Museum for arranging this special, VIP tour!
AFR Philly is looking forward to providing more opportunities to connect cultural heritage institutions with commercial vendors and to provide the resources and chance to ask questions that could be invaluable after a disaster.
More photos from the event can be found on the Pennsylvania Cultural Response Team’s Facebook page.