Preserving historical items for the future is the responsibility of collecting organizations. Here are links to expert resources about collections care and management, and “Stewardship Notes” created by The History Trust.
“Stewardship Notes” are learning resources developed especially for History Trust members.
- Intro to Collections Care Best Practices - Julia reviews draft collections best care practices being developed by the History Trust Collections Committee.
- Care & Handling of Photographs - This post provides a brief overview of the environmental factors that lead to deterioration, as well as some best practices for handling, labeling, and storing photographic collections.
- Arranging and Describing Archival Collections - The focus of this piece is physical archival records of enduring value.
- Accessioning and Cataloging Objects - One important topic is how museum cataloging differs from library cataloging (or indexing).
- Differences Between Archives, Libraries, and Museums - What’s the difference between libraries, museums, and archives anyway?
- We can’t keep everything, but . . . - We can’t keep everything, but we can collaborate. Think for a moment about all the really cool, old stuff there is just on Mount Desert Island and surrounding communities.
Collections Management Standards and Best Practices
The primary focus of collections management is to care for and make available the items held by an organization: it consists primarily of administrative responsibilities. Collections management is closely related to collections care and handling, i.e., best practices for the physical preservation of our cultural heritage.
- Dear Donia presents questions and answers about “keepsakes and treasures,” associated with Preservation Week (http://www.ala.org/alcts/preservationweek/advice).
- Collections Management from the Canadian Heritage Information Network (CHIN) is a great resource for all related topcis. It includes info on things like collections documentation standards, collections management systems, digitization, etc. And, access to pretty much everything on this site is free (https://www.canada.ca/en/services/culture/history-heritage/museology-conservation/collections-management.html ).
- Active Collections is a look at what the future of museum collections might be like, online (http://www.activecollections.org/ ) or the book Active Collections edited by Elizabeth Wood, Rainey Tisdale, and Trevor Jones.
- The Small Museums Cataloguing Manual (PDF) from Museums Australia (Victoria) is consistent with U.S. practices and standards for cataloging and managing museum collections. It also includes some useful information on physical care and marking collections (https://amagavic.org.au/assets/Small_Museums_Cataloguing_Manual_4th.pdf).
- Society of American Archivists is an incredible resource!
- Hunter, Gregory S., 2020. Developing and Maintaining Practical Archives (Third Edition) from the American Library Association is a practical guide for arranging and describing collections that is available on MaineCat (check with your local Maine library) or for purchase through the ALA Store.
Collections Care & Handling Standards and Best Practices
- Winterthur Care in Handling Series
- Preservation Leaflets from Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC) are a popular and authoritative resource on a variety of collections preservation topics (https://www.nedcc.org/free-resources/preservation-leaflets/overview).
- Preservation guides from British Library (https://www.bl.uk/conservation/guides#). This PDF series provides guidance on topics such as basic preservation techniques and environmental management. They also cover caring for books, photographs and bookbindings.
- Library Collections Care (VIDEO) from the Met (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0UnXsWudagQ).
- Image Permanence Institute at Rochester Institute of Technology (https://www.imagepermanenceinstitute.org/). This is a great resource for learning about how climate affects collections.
- Conserve O Grams from National Park Service (https://www.nps.gov/museum/publications/conserveogram/cons_toc.html). Short, focused leaflets about caring for museum objects. New topics are added as needed and out-of-date issues are revised or deleted.
- CCI Notes from Canadian Conservation Institute (https://www.canada.ca/en/conservation-institute/services/conservation-preservation-publications/canadian-conservation-institute-notes.html). CCI Notes deal with topics of interest to those who care for cultural objects. Intended for a broad audience, the Notes offer practical advice about issues and questions related to the care, handling and storage of cultural objects. Many Notes are illustrated and provide bibliographies as well as suggestions for contacting suppliers. There are currently over 100 Notes in this ever-expanding series written by CCI staff.
- Connecting to Collections program (https://www.connectingtocollections.org/). Includes the full Connecting to Collections (C2C/C2CC) webinar series on YouTube, 190 videos! These were part of a program aimed at smaller museums, and there are probably all sorts of helpful webinars in the mix. Explore on your own. https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLH0WXCtI2nog8Fk-00hUfVh_uDeF6qPnO
- Lowell, Waverly B. and Tawny Ryan Nelb. 2006. Architectural records : managing design and construction records. Chicago: Society of American Archivists. SURFACE 2011-10-28T07:00:00Z.
- Price, Lois O. 2011. Line, Shade & Shadow: Fabrication and Preservation of Architectural Drawings.
- Simmons, John E., 2017. Things Great and Small: Collections Management Policies (2nd edition). American Alliance of Museums Press.
- James B. and Elizabeth E. Merritt, ed. 2004. The AAM Guide to Collections Planning. American Alliance of Museums Press.
- Catlin-Legutko, Cinnamon, and Stacy Klingler. 2012. The small museum toolkit. Lanham, MD: AltaMira Press.
- Collections Management Policy chapter in Small Museum Toolkit by Julia Clark (Julia is happy to share a copy with HT members).
- Stewardship: Collections and Historic Preservation in Small Museum Toolkit.
Caring for Photos & Prints
- Photo Conservation by Debra Hess Norris at TEDxUniversityofDelaware (VIDEO) (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QSw0PCwe1oE).
- Graphics Atlas, from Rochester Institute of Technology (http://www.graphicsatlas.org). An incredible resource for the identification and characterization of prints and photographs.
- Ritzenthaler, Mary Lynn, Diane Vogt-O’Connor, ed. 2006. Photographs: archival care and management. Chicago: Society of American Archivists.
Care of Books
- Winterthur Care in Handling Series (see above): Books (VIDEO) (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=54DOw-PkOKI).
- Wren, Diane. Books Gone Bad: Mold in Library Collections. 2011. Portland (Maine) College of Art. Available in Jesup Memorial Library special collections, this book can be used as a quick reference about to a single book or as a resource for monitoring an entire collection.
- companion website: Books Gone Bad (http://dianejwren.com/Mold%20Web%20Site/). Includes links to other mold-related resources.
- MuseumPests.net from MuseumPests Working Group (MP-WG) (https://museumpests.net/). Source of information and support for implementing integrated pest management policies and procedures in collections-holding and cultural heritage institutions.
Packing and Moving Museum Collections
- Moving the Mountain, from Science Museum of Minnesota (https://www.smm.org/sites/default/files/public/attachments/moving-the-museum.pdf).
- Objects on the Move! Packing and Transporting Collections, from the Connecting to Collections program(https://www.connectingtocollections.org/community-webinar-objects-on-the-move-packing-and-transporting-collections/). For this one, if you want to watch the video of the webinar, you will need to click on the link for closed captions; the icon link does not work.
Collections Disaster Assistance
- Disaster & Emergency Assistance lists phone numbers and online resources compiled by Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC) to help care for collections in an emergency (https://www.nedcc.org/free-resources/disaster-assistance/emergency-phone-assistance).
- Disaster Planning resources from Maine Cultural Emergency Coalition (http://cercmaine.org).