AFR Philly began shortly after Heritage Preservation first launched the national Alliance for Response initiative. The national initiative, still active but now managed through the Foundation of the Advancement of Conservation, started in 2003 with a series of one-day forums designed to link key cultural heritage and emergency response representatives, leading to new partnerships and local projects. The goal of these meetings were to foster cooperation among cultural organizations, influence local planning efforts, and enhance the protection of cultural and historic resources. Many cooperative disaster networks began across the country as a result of this project.
AFR Philly’s initial kick off meeting was held on June 13, 2007 at the College of Physicians. With a lot of momentum, a number of meetings and workshops were held in the area from 2007 – 2010, under the leadership of the organization, PALINET. PALINET merged with another organization to become LYRASIS in 2009, and offices relocated to Atlanta. LYRASIS continues to provide support for and lead many disaster networks throughout the country, most recently launching the Performing Arts Readiness project. However, without an organizational leader in the city, AFR Philly floundered.
In 2012, the Conservation Center for Art & Historic Artifacts (CCAHA) proposed a National Leadership grant project to the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) aimed at improving emergency response and preparedness across the state of Pennsylvania. In 2013, the Pennsylvania Cultural Resilience Network (PaCRN), was funded. One of the goals of PaCRN was to strengthen the existing Alliance for Response networks throughout the state, including AFR Philly, and to create new networks in areas of need.
A second AFR Philly kick off meeting was held at the Free Library of Philadelphia on March 2, 2015. Since then, the group has found new energy with the establishment of a new Steering Committee and a strong organizational leader in CCAHA. AFR Philly has held a number of meetings and workshops, which can be read about on the Blog.
Interested in learning more? Join the AFR Philly mailing list to stay up-to-date with local events, resources, and information about emergency response and preparedness issues as they relate to cultural institutions in the Philadelphia Metro area.