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Collections Management

Collections management is whatever is done to develop, care for, and document museum objects and make them available for use. 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

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.

Mastering Your Museum’s Core Documents Toolkit

This toolkit offers guidance on the needed resources to successfully revise or draft your museum’s core documents. With it comes a combination of tools, guidelines, and action plans to help you understand the importance of—and required elements for—each of the five documents required 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.

Read more articles about collections stewardship on the Alliance blog, the Center for the Future of Museums blog, and other publications.


Other Resources

The following resources were compiled from organizations throughout the nonprofit and museum sector. AAM reviewed and approved each one based on the organization’s authority and expertise and the resource’s usefulness related to the topic. Clicking the links below will take you off the AAM website.

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 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.

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