As Hurricane Irma plows through the Caribbean and barrels toward Florida, thousands are jamming the highways to evacuate flood zones. Little feels certain. But an unlikely group of experts—art conservators—have banded together to do what they can, manning a 24-hour hotline that offers practical methods to treat water-damaged art. A small army of volunteers is also on standby to survey the damage in person after the skies clear.

On September 5—soon after Hurricane Harvey swept through Texas and before Irma approached the US—the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (AIC) and its affiliate foundation FAIC released a statement to cultural organizations around the world, offering free emergency response assistance and advice for those affected by the storm. The organization has also been lighting up social media to spread information about how to keep collections sheltered in the path of severe weather and how to salvage items that have been damaged. Read more