The 22nd Annual National Archives Preservation will take place on Monday, March 10, 2008. The location this year will be the William McGowan Theater in the National Archives Building in Washington, DC. The title of the conference is: The ABCs of Modern Fire Suppression in Cultural Institutions

The conference program will provide an in-depth review of fire suppression systems appropriate for the protection of archives and other cultural property. There will be an examination of what had been utilized in the past and what modern systems are being used effectively.

The program will also feature insights as to what fire suppression technologies might be utilized in the future and how cultural institutions might adapt in an environment of shrinking budgets but increasing volumes of holdings needing to be safeguarded. The program will specifically acknowledge recent advances in specific fire suppression systems that are applicable to confined spaces (records vaults, high bay storage), vulnerable materials (artifacts), and possibly electronic equipment (data repositories). It will also address the impact these suppression systems have on the natural environment within the context of the Kyoto Protocol and other policies adopted in response to the threat of global warming. We expect to have an audience of archivists, librarians, conservators, preservation specialists, facility managers, architects and engineers, and curators of museums and historic properties. The program will enable attendees to be exposed to new information about modern, emerging technologies to protect their collections against fire loss or damage.

Our intent is for attendees to leave the conference with an understanding of what the appropriate choices are for their institution and why the layout of building spaces, the configuration of shelving and storage units, and the nature of the materials to be protected all must be taken into account when designing and procuring a fire suppression system.

The Speaker’s Program shall include:

Fire Protection:  An Historical Overview J. Andrew Wilson Associate Director for Fire Protection and Safety Smithsonian Institution Washington, DC

New Fire Suppression Technologies

Nick Artim

Director of Fire Safety Network

Middlebury, Vermont

Risk Assessment for Cultural Institutions:  Fire Testing vs. Computer Modeling Frederick W. Mowrer, Ph.D.

Associate Professor- Department of Fire Protection Engineering University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland


Low Oxygen Fire Suppression at the British Library Julian Taylor British Library London, England

Fire Protection and Cultural Property – Preservation Issues and Concerns Catherine Nicholson Supervisory Conservator, NARA

Approaches to Fire Suppression in NARA Facilities Ron Noll Chief of the Real Property Division, NARA

Why Williamsburg Went Wet Pipe

Patricia Silence

Conservator of Exhibits

Colonial Williamsburg Foundation

Williamsburg, Virginia

Update: R&D Project for Fire Protection in High Density Storage Facilities Roberta Pilette Yale University Libraries New Haven, CT

Fire Suppression in the Capitol Visitors Center Exhibit Gallery Martha C. Sewell Exhibition Project Director The Capitol Visitors Center Washington, DC

Fire Protection for the Rare Collections Library Cornelius Rusnov Project Coordinator The State Library of Pennsylvania

This program is subject to change.

The registration fee is $125.00 for standard and $75.00 for student.

This fee includes a box lunch and all food and beverages served during breaks. The doors to the National Archives Building – Constitution Avenue entrance – will open at 8:00am. The program begins at 8:45am and lasts until 5:15pm. There is no on-site parking.

A flyer that includes a registration form in Acrobat (.pdf) has been attached for your convenience. Please fill out, enclose payment and send by mail to the address listed. Please check our conference website at for updates.

We look forward to seeing you at the conference!


Richard Schneider

Preservation Conference Coordinator