Saturday, May 21, 2011

Collections Management Policy

Definition: A detailed written statement that explains why a repository/museum is in operation and how it goes about its business. It articulates the repository/museum's professional standards regarding objects left in its care.

A couple weeks ago the museum's Board approved the Collections Management Policy. This is one of the key documents needed to run any museum. Writing and approving the Policy was a process that took about about three months. We reviewed several policies from similar sized museums. We reviewed suggestions set forth by the American Association of Museums. We eventually decided that we wanted a policy that was clear and easy to understand, but still provided the basic legal structure required to care for a collection of artifacts. Then we spent four weeks writing it. 

Once written, the policy was reviewed by a museum colleague not associated with the Desert Museum, and then it was reviewed by members of the Board. At last month's meeting it was approved. 

This was a lot of work. Work that no one will ever see. And work that few people will appreciate. 

But this was one of the key objectives of moving the Desert Museum toward opening, and now it has been completed. 

Now we are moving on to the Curatorial Procedures, Collections Management Plan, and Collections Conservation Report. All documents that are really, really important to opening the museum, but which few people who visit the museum will ever see or care about.   

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