An effective collections care program is composed of a series of related activities that build upon one another over the course of a defined period of time. For most institutions, the first step in developing a collections care program is the general preservation assessment. This assessment addresses all factors that affect collections care: staffing and training, policies and procedures concerning the use of collections, storage and exhibition conditions, the museum environment, security, and emergency preparedness. Prioritized recommendations specific to the collection and institution are typically broken down into short-, intermediate-, and long-term recommendations.
Post-survey consultations with BACC conservators are used to identify institutional objectives. For institutions embarking upon a collections care program for the first time, or for those who do not have an up-to-date program in place, the next logical step is the drafting of a Conservation/Preservation Plan. This is a board-approved document that outlines prioritized or ranked conservation activities for a three-to-five-year period. The plan may include, by way of example, strategies for the rehousing of objects, an in-depth survey of particular classes of objects in preparation for treatment, or the acquisition of climate control monitoring equipment to assess the museum environment. For small to midsized institutions, Federal Grants are available to undertake specific projects to improve collections care, including the general preservation assessment and the development of a long-term preservation plan.
In-depth surveys provide a level of information beyond what is identified through a general preservation assessment.
A collection-specific survey centers on a specific subset or class of objects within an institution. As with a general preservation assessment, the conservator evaluates all institutional factors that impact the collection. The creation of a rehousing plan, which can support grant applications for such a project, is one example of an outcome of such an assessment.
An item-by-item survey provides a more detailed level of assessment for a specific group of objects and is generally undertaken in preparation for a treatment program. Treatment proposals, produced in preparation for a treatment program or grant proposals to support such work, are logical outcomes of such as survey.
A hazard survey is the first step in developing an emergency preparedness program that is tailored to an institutionís specific needs and circumstances. Survey reports provide observations, recommendations, and resources to better manage and mitigate risk as well as to develop an Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan.
Our staff has years of experience in helping institutions of all sizes, from small museums and historical societies putting in place their first collections care program to large institutions launching collection-specific initiatives that encompass a broad spectrum of conservation activity, such as surveys, rehousing, environmental improvements, technical analysis, research, and treatment.
We also offer Development Services to assist institutions of all sizes secure funds for conservation projects.