APOYOnline: Managing Emergencies in Cultural Heritage

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Group photo of conference participants at the APOYOnline 2018 Conference in Antigua, Guatemala. Image courtesy of APOYOnline

Review by Rosanna Kuon

APOYOnline - Association for Heritage Preservation of the Americas, is a non-profit organization that promotes professional development in the field of heritage preservation in Portuguese and Spanish speaking countries and cultures in the Americas. APOYOnline organized the 2nd Regional Conference and Workshops on Heritage Preservation, held in Antigua, Guatemala, from October 2nd to 5th in 2018 (the 1st Regional Conference was held in Medellin, Colombia).

The program content was focused on the theme, "Managing Emergencies in Cultural Heritage: Sharing Experiences and Strengthening Networks in the Americas." The participants represented nineteen Latin American and Portuguese-speaking countries. Participants shared their past experiences and previously established networks to help create new professional links.

El Centro de Formación de la Cooperación Española en La Antigua Guatemala (CFCE Antigua) was the main venue for the event. The conference program focused on risk management and brought attention to preparation for emergencies in relation to cultural heritage including response and recovery plans. Renowned professionals and conference instructors David Cohen and Mario Omar Fernández (from la Universidad de los Andes de Colombia) motivated all participants to attend their workshop on Risk Assessment.

In connection with this conference, APOYOnline also organized a Special Project, "Manos a la Obra," at the Municipal Historical Archive of the City of Antigua. The conference participants put words into action and aided in collection cleaning, registration, and the training of on-site guards for part of the document collections of the city’s municipal administration. Special visits to the Fototeca Guatemala - Cirma and to the Santo Domingo Church and Monastery ruins were also arranged as part of the conference.

Alan Haley and Beatriz Haspo, specialists in the preservation of collections at the Library of Congress in the United States, in collaboration with Amparo Torres, then presented a simulated preparation plan for cultural heritage emergencies, bringing this interesting week of content, participation, and communication among attendees, to a close.


Rosanna Kuon is a conservation professional in private practice with experience developing interdisciplinary projects on preventive conservation and restoration. She is the former head conservator at Museo de Arte de Lima- MALI and has been a UNESCO consultant in various conservation heritage projects. Trained through ICCROM and CCI, Rosanna has also participated in various international seminars thanks in part to the Getty Foundation.

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