“Engineering Collection Care: Training for Small Museums”

Yesterday, I listened to a webinar called “Engineering Collection Care: Training for Small Museums.” Brent Powell was the presenter and the webinar was put on by Connecting to Collection Care.

Powell talked about two things that one needs to keep in mind when thinking about collection care training. First, management must play an active role in training staff on the correct ways to care for collections. Staff not only needs to know how to care for collections, but they need to understand why they need to handle collections a certain way. I like knowing the “why” behind a decision. By knowing the “why” I have a better understanding of the importance of the policy or procedure. Plus by explaining the “why” management can facilitate staff buy in. Secondly, we cannot forgot to offer refresher training to our veteran staff members. Techniques change as well as best practices change. In other words, what we do today, may not be what we do tomorrow. Also, one may not have handled this particular type of collection in awhile.

One idea that Powell suggested was that a repository have a collection handling manual that staff can refer to when handling collections. He suggested that the manual include:

  • The Museum’s collection care policy.
  • Procedures on how to handle items.
  • How staff installed and took down an exhibit?
  • How staff moved a collection?
  • Any issues or challenges that came up during moving collections?
  • Procedures for special exhibits.
  • Object movement forms.
    • These forms would allow staff to  document the movement of collections so the collections could be found.
  • Environmental requirements for collections.
  • Measurements of doors and hallways.

Some resources that were given



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