The Getty Museum in Los Angeles has survived a wildfire that raged through the city thanks to a comprehensive disaster plan and its built-in fire prevention systems.
Fires that forced 200,000 to flee their homes, have left one of the world’s wealthiest art institutions unscathed.
As clouds of smoke engulfed the centre, its high-tech air filtration system pushed air out of buildings thus preventing fumes from getting in. The museum also has its own water tanks to wet the hillside. Even the landscaping has been designed expressly to keep flames at bay.
According to Linda Somerville, Assistant Director of Insurance and Risk Management for the J. Paul Getty Trust, it was the combination of ‘all these bells and whistles’ that protected the buildings and their priceless contents.
The Getty Centre reportedly has almost $12 billion in assets. This includes works by artists such as Rubens, Van Gogh, Renoir and Monet.
The Getty Museum campus has also been designed to withstand earthquakes. Somerville says it works ‘year-round’ to minimise risk.
The buildings are equipped with special energy absorbers called base isolators that sit beneath artworks and display cases. In addition, art and artefacts undergoing conservation in the Getty’s labs are ‘latched down’ at all times.