How to Take Care of Your Museum Collection
Updated: Mar 24
Collections are the most important resource of any museum. In other words, they are the lifeline of your museum. After all, these objects are what people visit your museum for. Therefore, taking care of your museum collection is downright essential.
Whether you are exhibiting fossils of the Neolithic age or the objects associated with human development, every item in your museum collections should be treated with respect and utmost care.
Here I have rounded up some best practices that will help you preserve your museum collections.
Creating a Culture of Responsibility:
Keep in mind that museum employees at every level are responsible for the care of the collection. Managers, curators, cleaners, and other staff should be equally concerned about collection care. The point is here that the responsibility shouldn’t be confined to certain staff roles. From creating budgets to keeping eye on pest activity, the whole museum team should be actively involved in preserving and maintaining museum collections.
Allotting Important Essential Care Tasks:
The next step is to plan ahead and create a strategy for assigning important care tasks.
In this context, the following points can be considered:
Organizing schedule for essential tasks such as rubbish collection and basic cleaning.
Setting up a procedural manual so every employee is aware of their responsibility of care.
Allotting a separate space for preparing, inspecting, and storing collections.
Creating a budget for purchasing collection care supplies.
Striving for Ongoing Care:
Taking care of your museum collection is not a one-time procedure. It is a continual process, requiring you to create a plan for proper ongoing care. Developing routines helps ward off issues before they even occur.
Keeping your museum clean and organized is important to maintaining the quality of your collection. Make sure to maintain a clean environment; take serious measures against pests and stress object-appropriate cleaning.
Handling Your Items Appropriately:
Make sure to handle your times appropriately to minimize the risk of damage.
Keep your hands clean and dry before handling items.
Use lifting equipment for heavy items.
Wear face masks or gloves for handling hazardous material.
Train your staff in handling procedures.
Packing and Unpacking:
Sensible, appropriate packing is important to protect your collections from damage. Poor packing of museum items can lead to long-term damage such as distortion and breakage and even cause insect activity and pollutant damage.
However, storage might be tricky for museum objects. For example, bubble wrap can protect and cushion items against shock. But it might not be ideal for damp conditions as it can trap moisture against the surface of the objects. Therefore, there is a need to choose optimal storage and packing solutions for your museum items.
If you are transporting your museum items, make sure to include written instructions on how to unpack them.
Learn from Books and Online Resources:
Some several websites and blogs can help you take care of your museum collection. However, I would like to recommend expertly written books dedicated to museum collection care.
My book titled “Preserve, Protect, and Defend: A Practical Guide to the Care of Collections” will guide you through the caring, preserving, and maintenance of your collection.
Similarly, I have covered a systematic approach to decision making for conservation treatments in my other book “Conservation Treatment Methodology.”
My third book “Guide to Environmental Protection of Collections” is a useful handbook that will help you make decisions concerning the physical care of those collections.
YOU CAN ORDER ALL THE BOOKS FROM THE LINKS GIVEN HERE!
So you must have understood how to take care of your museum collection.
What do you think? Let me know by commenting below!