In 2019, Brazil’s Francisca Keller Library of anthropology was lost in a fire, along with its 37,000 books, manuscripts, films, and other unique field records. While the fire was caused in part by years of public underinvestment in building maintenance, the disaster captured the attention of anthropologists globally: how had we not known about the risks to this collection, and what else could we have done?
In this podcast, we bring together practitioners from anthropology libraries, archives, and museums to discuss how climate change and related socio-environmental disasters are likely to affect our collections, and how we might collaborate in order to better preserve our community and disciplinary heritage
Drawing from our experience on the Council for the Preservation of Anthropological Records (CoPAR) and at institutions that collect, curate, and preserve our cultural and scholarly heritage, we discuss threats ranging from a loss of power in delicate archival collections, to war and wildfires, to increased flooding in urban coastal areas, to the defunding of heritage institutions due to politics or other pressing social needs. We discuss how we can better prepare with and support each other across institutional and national boundaries—before the next disaster happens.