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[Records & Information Management | Archives Management | Historical Collections Management]

     Historical Collections Management

Do you know what is in your collection? And where everything is located?

Do you own what you are caring for? Who holds the copyright?

Are objects and documents properly and safely stored, used, or exhibited?

Are they being harmed by heat, light, damp, or pollutants?

  • Help the organization develop its collections policy: what to collect, how and when to preserve the collections, how to shape and improve the collections, and how they may be used and exhibited 
  • Determine what types of materials belong in the collections 
     1.  A group of objects, documents, specimens, paintings, etc. gathered by an individual or entity for one or more purposes. 
     2.  Objects gathered to exemplify the culture and heritage of an individual, entity, or region. 
     3.  Objects collected for their intrinsic, aesthetic, or historical value.
    Develop standards of description appropriate for the organization 
  • Select and implement appropriate manual or database system for managing the collections:
    • For describing and keeping track of the collections, including present location of each object
    • For recording where acquired and for how much, including donor information, insurance appraisals, conservation history, and history of loans 
  • Evaluate the physical location and the special requirements of the collections; define and communicate to architects, designers, and contractors what is needed to create the appropriate environment for storage, use, and exhibits 
  • Help the organization develop conservation priorities; provide guidance for retrofitting storage, research, and exhibition spaces as well as for selecting supplies and equipment; outline conservation alternatives, including reformatting 
  • Help define organizational goals, set priorities, and find practical ways to achieve these objectives; provide disinterested reviews of how well objectives have been met 
  • Help plan for and evaluate the day-to-day operations of the organization's collections programs 
  • Train staff and volunteers and provide manuals for continuing operations 
  • Establish fair market value prior to sale or donation; prepare appropriate IRS documentation 

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