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Museum Property Overview for Interagency Committee of Property Managers Ann Hitchcock, Chief Curator National Park Service January 26, 2006.

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Presentation on theme: "Museum Property Overview for Interagency Committee of Property Managers Ann Hitchcock, Chief Curator National Park Service January 26, 2006."— Presentation transcript:

1 Museum Property Overview for Interagency Committee of Property Managers Ann Hitchcock, Chief Curator National Park Service January 26, 2006

2 What is museum property? Personal property Acquired according to rational scheme Preserved, studied, interpreted for public benefit.

3 How is museum property classified? Archeology Art Ethnography History Archives (documents, excluding official records) Botany Zoology Paleontology Geology Environmental samples

4 Personal or Museum Property? Personal and museum property can look the same (e.g., a chair) Determination depends on –Agency mission and authority –Function of the property –Long-term preservation goals

5 Agency Mission and Authority Is a museum function identified in authorizing legislation? Does a museum function support the agency mission? How might an agency establish a museum function where none exists? –Seek authorizing legislation –Add to mission statements and plans

6 Example of Evolving Authority National Park Service 1904 Yosemite establishes first park museum collection 1906 Antiquities Act authorizes President to establish national monuments and protect objects of historic or scientific interest 1916 NPS Organic Act establishes NPS to conserve scenery and natural and historic objects..therein…and provide for enjoyment of future generations.

7 Example of Evolving Authority (NPS continued) 1935 Historic Sites Act authorizes NPS to establish and maintain museums 1955 Museum Act authorizes donations, bequests, exchanges, loans 1996 Museum Act amendment authorizes transfer, conveyance, and destruction (but not sale)

8 Example of Evolving Authority Department of the Interior Bureaus with varying authority –NPS –DOI Museum –Indian Arts and Crafts Board –USGS 1990 IG audit of accountability and control over artwork and artifacts

9 Example of Evolving Authority (DOI continued) 1990 DOI asks NPS to lead response to audit Interior museum property committee established 1993 Departmental Manual established standards for managing museum property –Planning and reporting –Documenting acquisitions and disposals, preserving, and protecting

10 Museum Plans and Reports Scope of Collection Statement Collection Management Plan Housekeeping Plan Integrated Pest Management Plan Emergency Operations Plan Collection Condition Survey Required Reports –Collection Management Report –Checklist for Preservation and Protection –Annual Inventory

11 Acquisition Acquisition authority Scope of Collection Statement Types of acquisitions –Gift –Purchase –Field Collection –Exchange –Incoming Loan (custody not title)

12 Acquisition Documentation Accession book/log and accession numbers Ownership transfer document (signed by parties) –Deed of Gift –Purchase document –Exchange agreement Custody document –Receipt for property (field collection) –Loan agreement

13 Acquisition Documentation (continued) Accession Receiving Report Accession folder Accession database Accession documentation provides data on source, items acquired, type and terms of acquisition

14 Cataloging Catalog numbers for all items Cataloging in lots acceptable for certain similar items Catalog record provides –Identification –Physical data –Historical data Catalog database facilitates management and research

15 Disposal (Deaccessioning) Deaccessioning authority Scope of Collection Statement Types of deaccessions –Return to rightful owner (legal opinion required) –Loss, theft, damage, involuntary destruction –Outside scope (transfer, exchange, conveyance, voluntary destruction/abandonment) –Destructive analysis –NAGPRA compliance (repatriation)

16 Deaccession Documentation Deaccession book/log and numbers Deaccession form for review and approval Catalog records Appraisals Public notice Deaccession database facilitates management

17 Deaccession Documentation (continued) Disposition documents –Receipt for property –Report of survey –Exchange agreement –Transfer of property –Conveyance agreement –Repatriation agreement

18 Remember! Acquire carefully, according to plan. Deaccessioning is more difficult and often controversial.

19 Preservation Monitor and control the environment –Temperature –Relative humidity –Light –Pests –Air quality Ensure good housekeeping Assess and document condition of items Provide conservation treatment for items

20 Protection Secure storage and exhibit spaces Control access to museum spaces and museum property Establish emergency management plan Install and maintain fire detection and suppression systems

21 Access and Use Ensure public benefit Provide exhibits and publications Offer education programs Provide outgoing loans Provide access for researchers Consider legal issues (copyright, FOIA, reproductions)

22 Remember! Display ideas not things. Capitalize on the power of context.

23 Resources: Guidance and Forms NPS Directors Order #24, Collections Management 24.html NPS Museum Handbook, Parts I-III /handbook.html DOI Museum Property Management Standards and Handbook (Departmental Manual Part 411)

24 More Guidance on the Web NPS Conserve O Gram /conserveogram/conserv.html NPS Automated collections management system user manual /ancs.html

25 NPS and DOI Museum and Collections Web Sites Overview Web Catalog Harpers Ferry Ctr searchIndex Scientific Permitting and Collecting Interior Museum Program

26 NPS Policies and Laws Management Policies Laws

27 Contact Information Ann Hitchcock Chief Curator National Park Service 1849 C Street, NW (2202) Washington, DC 20240-0001 202-354-2271 Fax: 202-371-2422

28 Museum Property is Our Heritage

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