This purpose of this document is to bring attention to the large number of museums in the United States that do not have emergency plans. Emergency preparedness in museums is very important, but not well financed or given appropriate priority in the museum profession. My goal is to assure that all museums with live animals are aware of the requirements and obligations that they have, provide information regarding typical reactions in emergency disaster situations and thus help institutions prepare and protect the staff, visitors, general public and the animals. This master’s project addresses emergency planning and the many challenges it poses for museums. Questions addressed include: 1) how does a museum plan to save its collection with the least amount of risk; 2) what resources can an institution can turn to for assistance, advice and aid; 3) what are the benefits to the museum for having an emergency preparedness plan in place ; 4) what legal requirements are imposed by the federal and state governments? Ultimately, this project posits that emergency plans and preparedness can be improved for the benefit of staff, visitors and animals in the collection.