A survey that assesses the needs of your collection will provide a basis from which to develop a conservation plan.
- Develop short and long terms plans to upgrade storage and exhibition of your collection.
- Plan and budget for regular maintenance of objects in good condition.
- Plan treatment for fragile, dirty, or damaged works.
A comprehensive collections care plan is an outreach tool.
- Introduce your audience to the complexities and pleasures of collections care, conservation, and preservation.
- Increase audience awareness of your museum's role as a caretaker of the community's shared heritage.
- Teach your audience about your institutional goals of preserving and maintaining your museum collection.
- Help them empathize with fundraising appeals for the proper care for the material heritage of your community.
- Use the survey report and recommendations to apply for corporate and government grants.
STEP 1: ORGANIZE A COLLECTION SURVEY
Establish priorities for your collection.
Consider the uses of your collection: display, study, travel.
Formulate questions about your facility and the collection as a whole or as individual objects.
Determine what you need from the conservator: a comprehensive survey of the entire facility or a focused study of a special collection.
Fill out examination forms with basic information about each object to be included in the survey, and include any records of previous conservation treatments.
Determine with the conservator how much time will be spent on site and in report preparation.
Organize staff to assist the conservator with art handling and other supportive tasks.
Make local arrangements if the conservator must travel and stay overnight during the survey.
STEP 2: SURVEY PROCESS AND REPORT
ON SITE EXAMINATION
Discussion with staff of institutional priorities, facilities, and collections.
Examination of facilities, storage and display areas, and individual works of art.
Photographic documentation of facilities and the collection.
A detailed report of conditions at the institution, describing strengths and recommending changes where needed.
A database of the collection, accessible by artist, location, and condition priority.
Referral to specialists in climate control, accessibility, storage systems, and treatment of objects of different types.
STEP 3: FOLLOW UP
Training sessions for staff and volunteers in proper art handling techniques and examination of works to identify problems.
Public presentation about conservation.
Continuing consultation as the survey is put into action.
STEP 4: IMPLEMENT THE SURVEY RECOMMENDATIONS
Design a comprehensive plan to stabilize and improve the physical care of your collection
Develop preventive conservation strategies
Train staff in basic collection maintenance and art handling procedures
Organize a secure and stable storage facility
Upgrade framing, housing, and display techniques
Analyze and prioritize the treatment needs of fragile or damaged works.
Include conservation and treatment in fundraising for exhibitions and programs.