Green River Star -

By David Martin

Curator's paper accepted at conference


The County Historical Museum will have a chance to shine on the international stage.

Curator Amanda Benson recently had a research paper accepted by the International Conference on Disaster Management and Human Health, which will host its conference in Seville, Spain in June.

Benson’s topic focuses on museum employees returning to workplace normalcy after a disaster. Benson presented the paper in 2016 during a convention in Washington, D.C.

Benson said museums typically don’t prepare for natural disasters as they happen infrequently and are caught unprepared when something does occur. Benson said people working in the museum field are pushing for response plans at their museums, but those plans often neglect the employees experiencing the disasters.

Looking at mid-sized museums in California, Benson focused the human resources portion of the museums, asking if museums had a disaster preparedness plan, if they have an employee assistance program and a business contingency plan.

She discovered while 79 percent of the museums she surveyed did have disaster readiness plans, 71 percent did not have an employee assistance program and 79 percent did not have a business contingency plan.

For the assistance programs, Benson said they’ve been shown to help employees return to work after dealing with the stress of a natural disaster. She said museums lacking those plans and programs could not return to normal operations as soon as they could.

She also said stressed employees were more likely to find other employment as well.

“If you invest in your employees, they’re more likely to stay in the organization,” Benson said.

Benson said she hopes to eventually host workshops regarding her research in an attempt to help museums in the region.


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