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Additionally, this section lays out the legal restrictions associated with removal of the object, and the types of disposal that are appropriate based on the reason for the deaccession. Collectors and collecting institutions sometimes transfer objects to or from their collections for temporary periods of time as part of loan or temporary custody agreements. These loans help share and disseminate information to different communities and can prove mutually beneficial to both collection-holding individuals or institutions. The policies for loans may also be applied to acquisitions during the processing period, unsolicited objects until a return can be arranged, and collection objects or those objects found, abandoned, or unclaimed, in which ownership is unclear.

Within the collections scope section of a collections management policy, there is typically an area dedicated to discussing the procedures for loan approval and acceptance, associated acquisition fees, required documentation, specific insurance requirements, and monitoring instructions for the temporary holdings.

Introduction to museum collections documentation standards

This section may also include information about old loans and works with restrictions governing if and when they are allowed to leave the holding-institution. Collections care can be defined as the physical preventive care measures taken to prevent damage or delay the natural deterioration of cultural heritage collection objects. These practices strive to provide enhanced safety for collections by minimizing damages from external sources such as improper handling, vandalism, climate changes, overexposure to light, and pests.

Sub-topics within this section may include display and storage housing, packing and transport, and integrated pest management. When objects are held within a collection, either in storage or on display in an exhibit, the primary concern should be on the continued safety of the collection. To accomplish this, the collector or holding-institution must take into consideration proper housing containers, as well as environmental conditions necessary to prevent damages.

The collections management policy for the collection should contain sections in which display and storage housing needs for the objects are addressed in full. Consultation with a conservator-restorer may be necessary to fully address these topics. In terms of housing, solid structural design is vital in ensuring objects remain undamaged while stationary.

This includes accounting for padding and support of the objects to prevent damage from bumps and snags, and stable display cases or mounts, which often requires collaboration with a mount maker to ensure proper creation and installation. Stands, shelves, drawers, and cases, in addition to fasteners, adhesives, papers, and foams, must all be chosen based on their compatibility with the structural design and materials of each individual object. Ethafoam ; containers made of paper, plastic, wood, or metal; enclosures such as folders or mats; and standards for frames, supports, and mounts.

The main environmental conditions that require outlined protocols in the collections management policy include temperature , relative humidity RH , light, and contaminants. Objects within a collection should ideally, be handled as little as possible since every time they are handled, they are at an increased risk of damage. Proper display and storage housing will help to mitigate some of the risks of accidental damage, but it is important to create and implement high standards for the routine care and handling, as well as the packing and transporting, of collection objects.

Sometimes a collector or institution will have a need to move objects outside of exhibit and storage locations. The collection management policy, which discusses the proper procedures for loans and acquisitions, must therefore also address proper packing and transport protocols to ensure that the objects arrive at their destination safely. To ensure safe transport, safe handling techniques must be combined with individual packing requirements for the specific object being shipped.

Ideally, the object will be packaged in a shipping container that provides protection from shock, vibration, sudden climate changes, and mishandling. Collection management policies will advise staff on how best to address issues such as "the object's fragility, the shipping method, the climate through which the objects will travel, and the climate at the object's destination.

Within the collections care section of a collections management policy, there is typically a section dedicated to integrated pest management IPM.

This section covers the policies related to the prevention and suppression methods of various types of pests typically found within collections. IPM focuses on utilizing non-pesticide prevention and treatment techniques in order to minimize health risks for personnel as well as damages to the collection itself.

Examples of types of pests that should be addressed include "insects, mold, mice, rats, birds, and bats. The collection management aspect of IPM involves creating and implementing policies for the routine inspection of objects and housing facilities, authorized trapping procedures, and documentation of all inspections or trapping programs utilized within the facility.

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These policies are called cultural controls, and the physical techniques utilized as part of the collections care are known as mechanical controls. Collections management focuses heavily on planning and response standards, and lays out these practices in documents detailing how staff responsible for the care of a collection should address the various needs of the collection. Created in conjunction with the collection management policy, most collecting institutions will also possess a disaster preparedness and emergency response policy that outlines what procedures should be taken to prevent injury or loss of life for all personnel and building visitors, as well as how to minimize damages or loss to the collection.

The emergency response team will include a managing official responsible for notifying other members of the team of a disaster and overseeing the implementation of the emergency response tasks. These staff members are typically trained in proper collection handling protocols. The disaster preparedness and emergency response plan should also include detailed instructions explaining how each type of disaster should be handled including the initial threat assessment and response, evacuation procedures where appropriate, damage mitigation plans, salvage priorities, and post-damage inventories and recovery procedures.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Main article: Collections Management System. One such example is:. Conservation OnLine provides resources on ethical issues in conservation, [17] including examples of codes of ethics and guidelines for professional conduct in conservation and allied fields; and charters and treaties pertaining to ethical issues involving the preservation of cultural property.

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As well as standards of practice conservators deal with wider ethical concerns, such as the debates as to whether all art is worth preserving. Many cultural works are sensitive to environmental conditions such as temperature , humidity and exposure to visible light and ultraviolet radiation. These works must be protected in controlled environments where such variables are maintained within a range of damage-limiting levels.

For example, watercolour paintings usually require shielding from sunlight to prevent fading of pigments. Collections care is an important element of museum policy. It is an essential responsibility of members of the museum profession to create and maintain a protective environment for the collections in their care, whether in store, on display, or in transit. A museum should carefully monitor the condition of collections to determine when an artifact requires conservation work and the services of a qualified conservator.

A principal aim of a cultural conservator is to reduce the rate of deterioration of an object. Both non-interventive and interventive methodologies may be employed in pursuit of this goal. Interventive conservation refers to any direct interaction between the conservator and the material fabric of the object.

by Glaser, Jane R.; Zenetou, Artemis A. and Perrot, Paul N

Interventive actions are carried out for a variety of reasons, including aesthetic choices, stabilization needs for structural integrity, or cultural requirements for intangible continuity. Examples of interventive treatments include the removal of discolored varnish from a painting, the application of wax to a sculpture, and the washing and rebinding of a book.

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Ethical standards within the field require that the conservator fully justify interventive actions and carry out documentation before, during, and after the treatment. One of the guiding principles of conservation of cultural heritage has traditionally been the idea of reversibility, that all interventions with the object should be fully reversible and that the object should be able to be returned to the state in which it was prior to the conservator's intervention. Although this concept remains a guiding principle of the profession, it has been widely critiqued within the conservation profession [19] and is now considered by many to be "a fuzzy concept.

An example of a highly publicized interventive conservation effort would be the conservation work conducted on the Sistine Chapel. Conservators routinely use chemical and scientific analysis for the examination and treatment of cultural works. The modern conservation laboratory uses equipment such as microscopes , spectrometers , and various x-ray regime instruments to better understand objects and their components. The data thus collected helps in deciding the conservation treatments to be provided to the object.


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The results of this work was the report A Public Trust at Risk: The Heritage Health Index Report on the State of America's Collections , which was published in December and concluded that immediate action is needed to prevent the loss of million artifacts that are in need of conservation treatment.

The report made four recommendations:. The conservation profession response to this report was on the whole less than favourable, the Institute of Conservation ICON published their response under the title "A Failure of Vision". No sector can look with confidence to the future if its key asset is worked harder and harder across an ever broadening range of objectives while the inputs required to sustain it are neglected.


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It is of major concern to us that the only part of this section which makes any acknowledgement of the need for greater resourcing is the part which refers to acquisitions. The original consultation paper made quite extensive reference to the importance of collections, the role of new technologies, and cultural property issues, but this appears to have been whittled away in the present document. When asked by the Commons Culture Media and Sport elect Committee CMS committee what he would like to see as a priority in the DCMS document arising from the 'Understanding the Future' consultation, Mr MacGregor responded 'I would like to see added there the need to conserve and research the collections, so that the collections can really play the role across the whole of the United Kingdom that they should.

Further to this the ICON website summary report [25] lists the following specific recommendations:. In November , the UK-based think tank Demos published an influential pamphlet entitled It's a material world: caring for the public realm , [26] in which they argue for integrating the public directly into efforts to conserve material culture, particularly that which is in the public, their argument, as stated on page 16, demonstrates their belief that society can benefit from conservation as a paradigm as well as a profession:.

Training in conservation of cultural heritage for many years took the form of an apprenticeship , whereby an apprentice slowly developed the necessary skills to undertake their job. For some specializations within conservation this is still the case. However, it is more common in the field of conservation today that the training required to become a practicing conservator comes from a recognized university course in conservation of cultural heritage.

The University can rarely provide all the necessary training in first hand experience that an apprenticeship can, and therefore in addition to graduate level training the profession also tends towards encouraging conservation students to spend time as an intern. Conservation of cultural heritage is an interdisciplinary field as conservators have backgrounds in the fine arts , sciences including chemistry , biology , and materials science , and closely related disciplines, such as art history , archaeology , studio art , and anthropology.

They also have design, fabrication, artistic, and other special skills necessary for the practical application of that knowledge. Within the various schools that teach conservation of cultural heritage, the approach differs according to the educational and vocational system within the country, and the focus of the school itself. This is acknowledged by the American Institute for Conservation who advise "Specific admission requirements differ and potential candidates are encouraged to contact the programs directly for details on prerequisites, application procedures, and program curriculum".

Societies devoted to the care of cultural heritage have been in existence around the world for many years.