FIGURES (Left) At the African American Museum of Iowa in Cedar Rapids, the memory of the June 2008 floods that flooded the museum and damaged some of its collections is kept alive through (Center) a permanent plaque marking the high-water level inside the museum building. ☺ Right) At the Czech Museum in the Czech Village of Cedar Rapids, a timeline display documents the course of the floods over a 9-day period in June 2008. The floodwaters also reached this museum building and its collections; the high-water mark is the horizontal orange line in the top left corner of the image. Pictured are committee members and museum guide on the committee’s visit to Cedar Rapids in March 2011. Source: John H. Brown, Jr., The National Academies.






responsibilities in assisting students. In this way, narratives can reinforce social bonds and also establish norms of helping, cooperation, and reciprocity. Alkon (2004) found that residents of one community internalized a narrative of themselves as people who are good at working together and were thus able to make complex policy choices despite competing interests

Communities are only resilient insofar as they have the ability to learn from previous events and draw upon those lessons to mitigate against future events. Colten and Sumpter (2008) argue that preserving the social memory of disasters is important for resilience to take hold; they point to vital lessons about evacuation that were lost after Hurricane Betsy in 1965 that could have prevented some of the losses during Hurricane Katrina (see also NRC, 2011a; Colten and Giancarlo, 2011). When social memory is lost, communities can forget how they survived previous disasters, individuals and institutions may not retain skills needed for response and recovery, and policy makers may make decisions without regard for the hazards that exist. Maintaining social memory as a strategy for promoting resilience requires creativity by public educators and

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