Emergencies    News

Our Hearts Go Out to Those Impacted By Wildfires

 July 2, 2021
 Ryan Hunt


-Updated July 8, 2021

The Village of Lytton and the Lytton First Nation have suffered unimaginable losses – the Council and staff of the BC Museums Association (BCMA) extend our heartfelt sympathies to everyone who has lost homes, businesses, memories, and tragically, loved ones.

Following three days of record-breaking heat, thousands in the Lytton area were evacuated from their homes, some with as little as 15 minutes’ notice. At the time of writing, the true scope of the damage and loss of life is unknown, but it seems that most of the core of the Village of Lytton has been devastated, and that lives have been lost (content warning)

We have been in contact with the Executive Director of the Lytton Chinese History Museum and can sadly confirm that the museum and its collections have been destroyed – only their online database remains (more information is available in this news article). The BCMA has yet to make contact with anyone from the Lytton Museum and Archives, but given the extent of the damage to the community, there is a strong possibility that this building was also destroyed, however, we have heard from partners that their online archives were saved. An online fundraiser has been created by the Gold Trails and Ghost Towns Facebook Group in support of both museums.

The BCMA will keep this list of support links up-to-date and will share any updates from the Lytton Chinese History Museum and the Lytton Museum and Archives as news develops that they wish for us to share.

How You Can Help:

How Your Museums Can Prepare for Emergencies:

Canadian Conservation Institute (CCI)

The Canadian Conservation Institute (CCI) offers a hotline for Canada’s heritage community in the aftermath of a fire, flood, earthquake or other catastrophes. 

Museums and heritage organizations can call 1-866-998-3721 day or night and press 0 for Security.

During non-working hours, the operator will request the following details from you:

  • your name, institution, location, and your telephone number;
  • the nature of the collection affected;
  • the type, extent, and severity of damage; and
  • what action, if any, has been taken so far.

MAP Emergency Assistance

Emergency assistance is available through the Museums Assistance Program to help heritage institutions undertake urgent remedial action to mitigate damage to collections caused by a natural disaster, e.g. forest fire, flood, earthquake, etc. This assistance is available year-round to all incorporated non-profit Canadian museums. Funding for an eligible project can be up to 100% of eligible expenses up to a maximum of $50,000. Institutions facing such a crisis should contact the Museums Assistance Program Team for further information.

BC Heritage Emergency Response Network

The British Columbia Heritage Emergency Response Network (BC HERN) is a growing association of institutions in B.C.’s arts and culture sector, who believe that our best line of defence is emergency preparedness, salvage training, and joining forces to support each other.

Illustration of a zoom meeting with four people and an owl.

Webinar: BC HERN - An Introduction to Emergency Response

Learn about the work that the BC Heritage Emergency Response Network is doing around the province.

Illustration of a zoom meeting with four people and an owl.

Webinar: BC HERN and Emergency Salvage of Museum Collections

Hear about documenting a collection in crisis and some of the solutions that can be employed.

Illustration of a zoom meeting with four people and an owl.

Webinar: BC HERN and Emergency Salvage of Art and Archival Collections

Learn how to triage a collection, move, pack, and buy yourself some time in an emergency.