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Collections Management

The Alliance has compiled this set of collections management resources from amongst its own offerings as well as those throughout the nonprofit and museum sector.

Alliance Resources

Collections Management Policy Reference Guide

The Alliance shares a reference guide that aims to help museums develop a collections management policy, a core document supporting a museum’s mission and purpose. The guide explains what a collections management policy is, why it is important and considerations for developing one. It reflects national standards and is in line with the requirements of the Alliance’s Core Documents Verification and Accreditation programs.

Deaccessioning Activity Guide

The Alliance shares an activity guide that facilitates discussion to determine how well a collections plan and collections management policy help make decisions about deaccessioning. The activity also assesses the appropriateness of deaccessioning and the decision-making process. The activity is one of many designed by the Museum Assessment Program (MAP) as part of the self-study process. It ranks highly with program participants and has been used in over 2,000 assessments.

Developing an Effective Collections Management Policy

In this recorded webinar, collections management leaders engage in a moderated interview style session discussing standards, essential elements and challenges/successes of developing an effective collections management policy that meets the needs of your institution and intersects with all parts of an institution’s operations. This program is a useful tool as you prepare for Core Documents Verification.

Sample Documents

The Alliance provides Tier 3 museum members with samples of the following collections management documents: collections management agreements, borrowing policies, forms (i.e., deeds of gift, loan agreements, condition reports etc.), loans to non-museum policies, NAGPRA policies, collections management policies.

Other Resources

2014 Food in Museums Survey Results

In 2014 the Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections (SPNHC) surveyed 351 people from 21 countries regarding the policies of food and collections in museums. The results of the survey are summarized followed by a discussion of common themes.

Collections Development & Management Policies

The Florida Association of Museums developed this program as part of Connecting to Collections. Collecting organizations can use this set of webinars to develop collections management or development policies.

Collections Policies and Preservation

The Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC) has a technical leaflet on library collections policies. It discusses the preservation issues that should inform the collection policy.

Museum Handbook, Part II

The National Park Service’s (NPS) Museum Handbook (PDF) has a chapter with several sample collections management policies. It is specifically designed for museums, archives, libraries, historic sites, and for zoos, aquariums, and botanical gardens with living collections. Use these guidelines to create a new collections policy or revise your institution’s existing collections policy. collections management forms, including gift acknowledgment certificate, ownership statement, transfer of copyright statement, exchange agreements, transfer of property statement, incoming loan forms and flowcharts, and accession forms and flowcharts.

Practical Conservation Guidelines for Successful Hospitality Events in Historic Houses

This publication, from English Heritage, gives practical guidance on the management of events held in historic houses and sites.

Protecting Collections During Special Events

Connecting to Collections shares the steps Barbara Heller, director and conservator of special projects at the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA), took to better protect collections during the planning and hosting of special events.

Registrar Trek Blog

Angela Kipp shares articles about registrars, collections, cataloguing, documenting and a host of other collections related topics in several different languages including Spanish, German, Portuguese, Greek, French, and English.

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