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ICCROM-UNESCO PARTNERSHIP FOR THE

PREVENTIVE CONSERVATION OF ENDANGERED


MUSEUM COLLECTIONS IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES

III. PREVENTIVE CONSERVATION OF


COLLECTIONS IN STORAGE

METHODOLOGY AND DIDACTIC TOOLS FOR


RE-ORGANIZING MUSEUM STORAGE

For the Museum Section,


Cultural Heritage Division of UNESCO
Contract n. 4500045507
MARCH 2009
A METHODOLOGY FOR REORGANIZING STORAGE OF COLLECTIONS
IN SMALL TO MEDIUM MUSEUMS

Who is it for?
You are a museum professional. You work in a museum or you advise a museum that
has a collection containing 1000 to 10,000 objects. A large part of this collection is housed in storage,
probably in one or two rooms.
Over time, the storage has been abandoned and you would like to change the situation and not be
afraid to show it to your colleagues.
If this is the case, your storage probably does not follow the 7 essential criteria for a good storage:
1. One trained member of staff that is in charge
2. A basic documentation system that is updated and complete
3. The storage only houses collections
4. Each object has been assigned a location
5. It is possible to retrieve any object within 3 minutes
6. It is possible to move one object without damaging another
7. The building is designed or adapted for conservation

You feel that it is time to reorganize it and that your colleagues are interested in the idea and in
working as a team… but you don’t know how to start.
This methodology is for you.

You are a conservation instructor. You know that at least 60% of museum storage
worldwide is neglected. You want your students to be able to change this situation. You know that the
literature currently available on the subject is insufficient and not comprehensive enough to support
your teaching.
This methodology is for you.

How does it work?


The methodology is divided into 3 phases: First, the condition survey, followed by the reorganization
project, and its implementation. Each of these 3 phases is then sub-divided into 4 sectors:
Management (M), Building and Environment (B), Collections (C), Furniture & Small Equipment (F).
Each sector includes a series of steps to carry out.

Phase 3

Phase 2

Phase 1
Steps

Steps

Steps

Steps

M B C F
The 3 phases
1. The Condition Survey is intended to be a picture of the storage’s present situation. It involves
gathering information, which is then analyzed and summarized in a condition report. This report is
the main tool to gain the approval of the management to move to the second phase.
2. The Reorganization Project includes 24(?) steps. Even though the final product of this phase
is an action plan that will be used to implement the actual reorganization, some of the steps are
actions to carry out straight away on the collections or the building. This is because in some cases,
these actions will be necessary to produce the action plan. It is encouraging to know that by doing
so, you will already be able to see visible improvements to the situation of the storage.
3. The Storage Reorganization is the implementation of the reorganization project plan that
was produced at the very end of phase 2. Whereas phase 2 was about doing the right thing, phase
3 is about doing things right. *******more info*********

The steps
To help the user or the instructor, the 3 phases are composed of easily manageable steps that lead
progressively to the final aim of each phase: a condition report (phase 1), a reorganization project
(phase 2), and the completed storage reorganization (phase 3). Throughout the methodology, the
steps have been represented visually as individual boxes. For each box, or step, there is an easy-to-
follow card that explains clearly what the step is about, how to carry it out and what the outcomes
(“final products”) will be.

Exercises
Worksheets
and forms

Sample
Powerpoint
CARDS
Why Presentations
Objective
How
Final products
Examples

Bibliography
Online
CLT/CIH/MCO/PART/7 photo
database
Sometimes, the steps follow no specific sequence and can be executed in any order you choose. At
other times, the steps are interdependent and a logical sequence has been provided to facilitate your
work. Before each phase, an introduction is provided that is meant to offer practical guidance on how
to navigate between the various steps of that phase.

What outcomes can be expected?


After the implementation is finished, the collections will be fully accessible and in conditions that will
ensure their long term conservation. Systems will be in place for the museum staff to continue to
maintain and develop the storage area.

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Getting Started

• Who will help me?


• How do I get the most out of my team?
• Explain the methodology
Do I have a team? Is it ready? • Agree on task assignment and
iv timeframes
• Make a budget
• Determine training needs

• Local government
Do I have the support of key • Governing body
decision makers? • Museum decision makers
C O M M U N I C A T I O N

iii

Fill in the self-assessment questionnaire

Consult the museum documentation

Initial visit:
What are the major needs? building exterior, interior, storage areas
ii

What skills will I need?

Am I fully prepared? What tools and equipment will I need?


i

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AM I FULLY PREPARED? i

Responsible(s): Timeframe:

ACTIONS PREVIOUSLY EXECUTED: none

WHY
From the initial stages of the storage reorganization methodology onwards, you will require basic
tools, equipment and skills. Making sure that you have everything you need and that you are fully
prepared as early on as possible will guarantee the best possible outcomes.

OBJECTIVE
Assess whether you have all the tools and equipment and skills you need to begin working.

FINAL PRODUCT
1. List of the material and equipment you have, and, that you don’t have and need.
2. A checklist that you or your team can use every time you go to the museum to make sure you
do not forget any essential tools or equipment.
3. A dossier containing all the documentation you must to take with you on the initial visit (maps,
floor plans, permissions, etc.).
4. For yourself, as an exercise: a short list of skills that you think will be required (by you, by your
team) throughout the methodology.

HOW

EXAMPLES OF TOOLS/EQUIPMENT THAT YOU COULD NEED:


- Floor plans of the building: hand-drawn or professional. You may have to ask the museum
director if architect’s plans exist. The local fire station or local records office may also have
copies of these. If you cannot find any plans or building schematics, you will have to draw
them yourself. A plan of the whole building is preferable, but you should focus on mapping
the storage areas as accurately as possible (walls, doors, windows, dimensions). If you have
plans already, quickly verify if they are accurate or if they need to be updated during your
initial visit. Make several copies of the master plans, as you will have to plot various things
on them later on.
- Map of the area: large scale, to get a sense of the immediate surroundings of the building
- Camera: a digital camera provides more flexibility, if you can obtain one (bring spare
batteries!)
- Portable environmental monitoring equipment: for example, thermohygrometer or
hygrometer and thermometer, psychrometer, light meter (bring spare batteries!)
- Compass: to verify the building’s orientation
- Personal safety equipment: It may be necessary in certain cases where safety is
questionable (particulate masks, construction hat, boots, gloves, etc.)
- Measuring tape, ruler, stationery, pads, pens, pencils, erasers,
- Level, plumb-line or glass marble: to do quick checks for uneven floors or shelves

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- Matches: to check for drafts (candles are also useful)
- Flashlight: to investigate areas that are hard to access (brigh spare batteries!)
- Polyethylene bags: to bag actively pest-infested objects

EXAMPLES OF SKILLS THAT YOU COULD NEED:


- Read and draw floor plans. This is essential because you will be using floor plans
throughout the entire methodology. You must agree with your team on a common scale
and graphic symbols. Clarity, Consistency and Accuracy are key.
- Take useful photographs. It is not enough to simply take photographs of everything you
see. When you take a photo, make sure you know why you are taking it and what you are
trying to illustrate. Take a small notepad and make notes on your photos to help you
remember this later on (close-ups of mould outbreaks look the same on any picture, but
knowing where it was is useful). Always take general views and close-ups.
- Interviewing skills and note taking. You will be speaking to many people and seeing many
things! This can quickly become overwhelming and make you loose track of your objective.
Try not to get caught up in recording everything: only what is relevant to storage
reorganization. When you are speaking with, or interviewing, people they might be put off
if your nose is buried in your notebook. Instead, engage with them when they are in front
of you and summarize the conversation afterwards when you are alone. You will probably
get more out of them this way, and they will have a pleasant memory of you as an active
listener.
- A nice smile! Be patient with the rest of the museum staff and refrain being overcritical of
their situation. They must want to work with you and not see you as a threat. When
offering critiques on weaknesses, always make sure to balance them out with strengths as
well. Always remain positive and optimistic, but never ignore problems when you see
them: your goal is to identify causes and propose solutions, not to try to please the
museum blindly.
- COMMUNICATION! Besides knowing how to speak to people, communication is about
listening. Often, people need to be given the opportunity to express themselves about the
issues they feel is important to them. Even if you feel that what they are saying is not
particularly relevant, it might lead you to discover useful unexpected information. When
people feel free to speak, they will be more generous with the information they provide.
You must also brush up on you speaking skills, diplomacy and tact if you will lead a team.
Make sure what you say is clear and unambiguous. Make sure everyone understands
exactly what you are telling them by asking questions. Be open to answering as many
questions as necessary. Effective communication begins by setting clear goals: What am I
trying to say? Why is it important for me to say it? Who is concerned?

SUPPORT MATERIALS
- Required equipment & materials:

- Photos:

- Examples:

- Worksheets & forms:

- Didactic material:
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WHAT ARE THE MAJOR NEEDS? ii

Responsible(s): Timeframe:

ACTIONS PREVIOUSLY EXECUTED: i

WHY
Before embarking on something as resource- and time-intensive as a reorganization project, it is
essential for you to determine your major needs. This will will help you understand if a
reorganization is necessary at all, and if so, how extensive it is likely to be. After you determine
your needs, you will have more direction and confidence to move forward—to gain the support of
stakeholders and begin planning for data collection (phase 1).

OBJECTIVE
Identify the storage area’s major needs by conducting an initial visit, filling in the self-assessment
questionnaire and looking through the museum documentation system.

FINAL PRODUCT
1. Completed self-assessment questionnaire(s)
2. A summary of your finds, general impressions and comments (1 page max)
3. Photos (if it was possible)

HOW
INITIAL VISIT
The initial visit is your occasion to get as much useful information as possible in this first stage.
Depending on your relation to the museum, it is possible that this will be the only chance you get
to assess the situation before you have to communicate to decision makers the need (or not) to
embark on a reorganization project. So, make it count. You should come prepared to ask questions
to all staff, from maintenance people, to security guards, managers, directors and curators.
Remember that you are not looking to collect all the information to plan a reorganization: this is
the objective of phase 1. At this stage, you are only trying to identify the major issues on which to
base initial recommendations to the museum management. In some particularly disastrous
situations, it will be impossible for you to access certain areas of the storage areas because it is too
cluttered or dangerous: make immediate note of this. In extreme cases, you may not be able to
access parts of the storage until phase 2. Be prepared for this. Listed below are some general
points to help direct your observations when visiting the museum:

Exterior
Before you enter the museum, take a quick walk around the building to spot some potential
problems, which you will then be able to associate to the inside when you are in the storage areas.
- Be on the lookout for major problems: broken drains, clogged gutters, untamed
vegetation around the building, insect nests, rising damp, flat roofs, etc.
- Take mental notes: building orientation, location of windows and other openings, etc.
- Identify major health and safety issues: unstable building structure, unstable roof, etc.

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- Take pictures and keep track of where you took them: provide general views and
close-ups.

Interior (especially the storage area)


- Be on the lookout for major problems: mould outbreaks, dry rot, active insect pest
infestations, leaky roofs, pipes and ducts, rising damp, poor draft proofing, major
security problems, etc. Be prepared to bag actively infested objects if you find them.
- Identify major health and safety issues: unstable building structure, asbestos-lined
walls, faulty electricity wiring, etc. Also, remember to think of your own safety during
the visit!
- Get a sense of the composition of the collection: Is it mostly organic? Inorganic?
- Give your initial impression of the organization: Are the aisles accessible? Are there
many objects on the floor? Are the objects piled up? Are there many objects or
materials that should not be there? How do the storage units look to you?
- Do not forget to fill out the self-assessment questionnaire.
- If you can, take pictures and keep track of where you took them: provide general
views and close-ups.

SELF-ASSESSMENT QUESTIONNAIRE
The questionnaire is meant to provide you with a snapshot of the situation by highlighting the
potential problem areas and give you an idea of their magnitude relative to other areas. It will not
give you the quantitative information you need to design your reorganization project. It is,
however, a powerful communication tool that you can use to gain the initial support of your
colleagues, upper management or local government. The information it generates is user-friendly,
even to those who do not work with the collections on a daily basis. Scores, scales and ratings are
always appreciated in summaries presented to decision makers because they offer a rapid
overview and offer the possibility of focussing on details if one chooses to.

The questionnaire can be filled out as a group, but a useful exercise is to have several people fill it
out individually and discuss their answers afterwards. How are their results similar? How are they
different? Why is this? Another useful exercise can be to get managers to fill one out. By
comparing the management’s perspective on the situation to that of the rest of the staff, you can
gain an understanding of everyone’s perception of the most important issues. On your version of
the questionnaire, you will probably fill out some sections during your initial visit, but for others,
you will have to interview the museum staff.

MUSEUM DOCUMENTATION
At this stage, looking through the museum documentation can be limited to filing out the related
section of the self-assessment questionnaire. The idea is to get a very general sense of the state of
the documentation system: approximately how much of the collection is inventoried (10%, 50%,
90%)? Are there location codes? Is there an accessions register? In what state is it? Is there a
general index? This is important information because complete collections inventories and object
marking are very time-consuming and resource-intensive. If you are able to assess the general
situation right away, it will help you avoid unpleasant surprises further along in the process.

SUPPORT MATERIALS
- Required equipment & materials:
- Checklist or notes to conduct guided interviews with the staff
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- Several copies of the self-assessment questionnaire
- Your dossier containing floor plans, maps, permissions and other documentation

- All your required equipment and tools (see step i)

- Photos:

- Examples:

- Worksheets & forms:

- Didactic material:

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DO I HAVE THE SUPPORT OF KEY DECISION MAKERS? iii

Responsible(s): Timeframe:

ACTIONS PREVIOUSLY EXECUTED: ii

WHY
This step is one of the most important ones of the methodology. Everything hinges on you
obtaining the support of the key decision makers that will be able to allocate resources for you.
Without their support, it will be difficult for you to go forward. To embark on any museum storage
reorganization project, you will need the approval of upper management (director, curator,
keeper, etc.) which will most likely have been grated him/her by the museum’s governing body or
local government representatives. In many cases, you will need the authorization of the director,
keeper or curator to visit the storage area, to fill out the self-assessment questionnaire and to take
photographs. Assuming you obtained this permission, that you completed the questionnaire,
prepared a brief report on your findings, and that your conclusion is that a storage reorganization
project is required. At this point, you need to convince the key resource providers to support your
project. You are not looking for funding yet, simply the absolutely essential go-ahead.

OBJECTIVE
Obtain the support of key decision makers by convincing them of the necessity to embark on a
full-scale storage reorganization project.

FINAL PRODUCT
1. Written agreement and statement of support from all key decision makers and resource
providers. Formal commitment to sustain your efforts to carry out a storage reorganization.

HOW
Before speaking to anyone, make sure you understand the power structure in your museum: who
reports to whom about what? Also, try to identify spheres of influence. Some people may not
have any formal power, but they may have influence over decision makers. Focusing on these
people may be a useful way to get to upper management. However, always make sure everything
you do is transparent and ethical: using coercion, deceit or blackmail to get what want is obviously
not the way to go!

Understanding your audience is the first step to effective persuasion: What matters to them? How
can you make them understand that the storage has a direct impact on them? Why should they
care? You will have to address all of these issues when communicating with them. Try to
anticipate any hostility you may encounter and find ways to disarm your opposition. Usually, if
people feel that they stand to lose something significant, they are likely to comply with your
requests. So, you must frame the problem in such a way that it makes their collaboration
absolutely necessary. However, do not only focus on threats; it is equally important to highlight
the benefits of reorganization for the museum as an organization that seeks to serve the public of

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today and of tomorrow. Focus on the quality (not quantity) of the evidence you provide and make
sure it is easily understandable by non-specialists. Be creative and resourceful! Do not despait
under any circumstance; try to think about what it would take to convince you. Make sure you
obtain a written statement of support and do not settle for verbal agreements. Make sure you are
involved in the drafting of the agreement.

Of course, in some instances it can be possible to begin collecting data for the condition report
without a formal approval from management, but to ensure the best possible outcome, you
should make this your primary goal to avoid facing road blocks later on when you are heavily
invested in the project.

SUPPORT MATERIALS

- Required equipment & materials:

- Photos:

- Examples:

- Worksheets & forms:

- Didactic material:

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DO I HAVE A TEAM? IS IT READY? iv

Responsible(s): Timeframe:

ACTIONS PREVIOUSLY EXECUTED: iii

WHY
Teamwork is a main ingredient for success throughout this methodology. Contrary to group work,
teamwork means that everyone has common objectives, methodology and motivation. When
people come get involved in projects with their own goals and agendas the strength of any team
can be weakened. Of course, everyone has his/her areas of strength and they should be given the
opportunity to make suggestions, but if there is no unified direction in leadership, the team
becomes disoriented. Once you have determined that the museum needs a storage reorganization
project and that you have the support of decision makers, you must create your team for phase 1
(which may well be your team for phases 2 and 3 as well). In phase 1, these people will work
together and with you to collect all the essential data required to produce the storage condition
report.

OBJECTIVE
Create a team for phase 1, agree on assignment of tasks and timeframes, and make sure everyone
is adequately trained to begin working.

FINAL PRODUCT
1. A list of your team members that includes:
- Contact information (home number, mobile, e-mail, address)
- Special training or skills
- Particular interest or suitability to working one of the 4 sectors (management, building &
environment, collections, storage units & portable equipment)
- Availability (part-time/full-time, hours per week, days available/not available)
2. A list of all the steps (boxes) from phase 1, with:
- The names of the team member(s) that will execute the step (also write this down in the
box on the top right corner of the phase 1 cards)
- The projected timeframe for completing the step (also write this down in the box on the
top right corner of the cards).
3. A project management chart (eg. Gantt chart) that shows the time required for each step, how
the steps can overlap (or not), and the projected timeframe to finish phase 1.
4. An approved budget for phase 1 (itemized list with amounts required).

HOW
These guidelines are intended to help you begin working on Phase 1, but this advice can be applied
to the entire storage reorganization methodology

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IDENTIFY YOUR TEAM MEMBERS
Who will help me?
You need to enlist people that are interested, motivated and capable of participating in the
process of the storage reorganization. Ideally, your core team for phase 1 should remain more or
less the same for the other phases. They will have acquired an in-depth understanding of the
problems faced by the museum and its storage areas throughout the data collection exercises and
will have become more independent. This will save you time (and money) and ensure that the
work is of the highest quality.

Start with the museum’s staff. Who is interested? Who is available? How much of a commitment
can they make? Will they be available to see you through the other phases as well? Afterwards, if
you need them, recruit volunteers or outside professionals to help you. If they are new to your
museum or to museum work in general, make sure they are well informed of museum
professional ethics (ICOM Code of Ethics for Museums or any national guidelines in place) and of
the museum’s own rules (if applicable). Even if you do not need volunteers in the beginning, you
should keep a short list handy (with contact information) in case you need their help later on. To
indentify potential volunteers, you can speak to managers, department heads or curators. Local
universities, schools and community centres can also help you identify likely candidates. With
regards to outside professional, your museum will probably have a list of consultants or other
professionals with whom it has collaborated in the past. Otherwise, these can be obtained through
local, national or international organizations and associations whose interests lie in museum
activities or cultural heritage in general.

How do I get the most out of my team?


Some people are naturally team leaders, and others, team players. Both are useful to any team.
Initially, you have to recognize these qualities in your team members and make sure that if smaller
work groups are created, they are well balanced. Groups that contain too many leaders or only
team players may not amount to much. Balance is key. Keep in mind that some of your team
members may have personal differences. Try to be sensitive to these issues as it may have an
effect on their work output and on the morale of the team. Although it is always hoped that all will
work harmoniously together, you have to be realistic and spot problems early to find solutions
before things escalate and become unmanageable.

The team leader. As in any project, all team members should report to one person. If you are the
first one to read these pages, you are likely to be that person! Being the team leader is not to
satisfy anyone’s power hunger. Quite simply, if no one is in charge, you will loose sight of the
progression of the project. Errors could multiply and it would be too late before you found out;
priceless time would have been wasted. Every time a step is completed, the responsible team
member(s) should report their findings and final products to the team leader. Throughout phase 1,
milestones of achievement should be set to celebrate the completion of a certain amount of steps.
This will be help to keep the morale up.

Once you have found your team members, you will have to speak to them to identify any special
skills or training they have. Sometimes, you can discover that some people already have useful
skills that will save you training time. You will also have to set up an initial meeting to get your
team members acquainted. Keep this event friendly! Your team will work more efficiently if
everyone has had the opportunity to meet everyone beforehand in a relaxed setting.

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The team leader must show great tact and diplomacy with everyone and have excellent
communication skills. He/She should make sure that everyone understands exactly what they
must do, and most importantly, why they are doing it. This will keep them motivated. The way the
cards are structured will certainly help in this respect. As the team leader you will probably be
reporting directly to the museum’s decision makers, so after important meetings or decisions are
made you should plan to communicate the outcomes to the rest of the team. The more
transparency in leadership, the better. Organize periodic informal meetings with your team to
identify problems and act upon them.

Volunteers and external professionals. They should be properly included so that no cliques are
formed (museum staff vs. outsiders).

Museum staff team members. These team members will know the institution, the collection and
the specific storage problems best. It is important for them to be paired with the volunteers or
external professionals that may be less familiar with the institution (if there are any). Even if small
working groups have been created, there should be a constant flow of information between all
team members. For instance, the information from one step can also be useful for another or
perhaps one group has stumbled upon something by accident that could be of use to others.

EXPLAIN THE METHODOLOGY


To make sure everyone works according to the same general framewok, you should take the time
to explain the storage reorganization methodology from start to finish. This can be achieved by
preparing a presentation for the entire team. If possible, you should try to invite the museum’s
decision makers at this event to include them in the process and to make sure they understand
what will be going on in their institution, why it is being done and what the outcomes will be.
Make them feel important and part of the team. This is a good way of ensuring their continued
support. If they are well informed, the museum’s decision makers will also be better equipped to
defend the project’s importance to the governing body or to the local government representative
and secure funding or other resources on your behalf. Further, think about a possible
communication strategy to inform the public of what is going on at the museum. The governing
body and local government representatives will think highly of you if you consider the interests of
the community. With regards to your team members, however, the objectives of this presentation
should be that everyone is well informed and most importantly, that everyone agrees on the
methodology and on a common terminology to be used throughout the reorganization.

AGREE ON TASK ASSIGNMENT & TIMEFRAMES


It is very important for everyone to feel involved and personally responsible for the tasks that will
be assigned to them. Try to understand what your team members are more interested in doing
and try to meet their needs as much as possible. Obviously, not everyone can be working on the
same steps. As the team leader, you must intervene and ultimately assign tasks if an agreement
cannot be reached. Compromise is key: perhaps someone will get what he/she wanted now, but
later one, it will be someone else’s turn. As the leader, it is important to keep track of these
subtleties because most people tend to be concerned with fairness above all else. The last thing
you want is for your team members to develop grudges towards the others… or towards you.
Make it a point to obtain a clear verbal agreement when a task is assigned to someone and write
down their names on the card that relates to that step. You will have to determine with them how
long the step is likely to take. Be realistic about timeframes, but keep them motivated to stick to

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the deadlines once they have been set. After you have assigned all tasks and
determined the time frames, you will be able to fill in your project management chart (Gantt
chart).

MAKE A BUDGET
Take a look at each step individually and determine if your team will require special materials or
equipment for phase 1. Take an itemized list to your supervisor and get it approved. Only consider
the budget for phase 1 at the moment.

DETERMINE TRAINING NEEDS


After everyone understands the methodology in a comprehensive way and that you have agreed
on who will do what, and how much time this is likely to take, you should discuss each step with
the groups and determine if they will require any short training sessions. Estimate the time this
will take and include this in your project management chart. If you do organize training sessions,
make sure to include all of your team in this exercise, as everyone will have useful personal
experiences to share with the others. Also ensure that the museum’s decision makers are aware
you are doing this. Best practice in museum work and collections care, such as this, needs to be
visible. Small considerations like this will help you win the support of the ‘higher-ups’.

SUPPORT MATERIALS

- Required equipment & materials:

- Photos:

- Examples: Gantt chart, Budget.

- Worksheets & forms: Team leader’s master checklist

- Didactic material:
- Teamwork in preventive conservation (Rome, ICCROM 2004) [online]
http://www.iccrom.org/pdf/ICCROM_01_Teamwork_en.pdf
- Code of Ethics for Museums (Paris, ICOM, 2006) [online]
http://icom.museum/code2006_eng.pdf
- How to Train your Summer Museum Staff (Ontario Museums Association, 1997)
[online] (http://www.museumsontario.com/members/exchange/manual/manual.pdf
- Human Resources Guidelines/Checklists (Canadian Museums Association) [online]
http://www.museums.ca/en/info_resources/reports_guidelines/hr_toolkit/index.php

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PHASE 1 : Condition Report
1

Identify potential financial Isolate harmful and infested Gather information on the
resources: internal and objects local availability of storage
external Gather information on the materials
1M5 overall condition of the 1C5 1F4
storage area
1B3 Plot the location of the
Gather information on staff
and other human resources collection and non-collection
on the storage floor plans
1C4
Gather information containers,
1M4
padding & support

Relate the storage area to the Identify every location in the 1F3
Collect information on
procedures, rules and building building where collections are
practices present
1M3 1B2 1C3
Gather information on small
Draw the timelines of Gather information on the size equipment
collections use, activities and number of object’s and their
1F2
collections growth classification
Gather information on the
1M2 1C2
building’s surroundings and
environment
Gather the museum’s written 1B1 Gather information and Gather information on storage
policy documents evaluate the basic units (number, type, size,
documentation system location and condition)
1M1 1C1 1F1

MANAGEMENT BUILDING & ENVIRONMENT COLLECTIONS STORAGE UNITS & SMALL SIZE
1M 1B 1C 1F
EQUIPMENT

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DATA COLLECTION FOR WRITING THE CONDITION REPORT
GATHER THE MUSEUM’S WRITTEN POLICY 1M1
DOCUMENTS

Responsible(s): Timeframe:

ACTIONS PREVIOUSLY EXECUTED: None

WHY
To best fulfill its responsibility to the public and to society as whole, a museum needs to have a
clearly defined vision. This can most often be understood by reading an institution’s written policy
documents. These documents are crucial because they have an impact on all the museum’s
activities in one way or another: procedures, rules, attitudes towards specific issues (disposal,
public access and public involvement); in a general sense, they determine how the museum is
managed. It is important to collect written policy documents at this stage because if they are
outdated or inexistent, this will have a noticeable effect on the management of the storage areas
are managed. If policies are not written down, the museum and its staff is not formally committed
to any direction and ad-hoc decisions are made: “when the problem arises we will deal with it”.
Storage disorganization can be one of the symptoms of unclear policies.

OBJECTIVE
Collect the museum’s written policy documents and assess the situation.

FINAL PRODUCT
1. A dossier containing photocopies of all current policy documents, especially those related to
collections (old policy documents can also be useful). Also include photocopies of standards,
specifications and guidelines applied by the museum. Accompany all of this with a list of that
states the date when they were drafted, the date they were last updated, how frequently they are
updated, and all missing policies documents.
2. A short report that contains a summary of your findings about policies, including strengths and
weaknesses, and brief recommendations for immediate and long-term actions.

HOW
There are many types of policy documents. The mission statement is a very broad type of
document prepared by upper management usually no more than a few sentences long. Its aim is
to define the museum’s purpose in relation to its collection and its public. The collections
management policy (or collections policy) refers to the mission statement and defines the
museum’s legal status, its scope (what it collects), its ethical standpoint, why it collects and for
whom. Some of this information can also be found in acquisition policies. Museums may also have
strategic plans (or forward plans) that indicate how the museum intends to grow as a collecting
institution in the upcoming years (5 years is common) in a very general sense in the form of clearly
defined strategic priorities or objectives. Strategic plans are then used to create business plans,
which contain the specific actions necessary to achieve those objectives; in other words, they are

18
implementation plans.

A museum can have policy documents on: acquisitions and disposal, data protection, health and
safety, education, access and use, ethical issues, care and conservation, documentation, loans,
human remains, etc. Do not worry if your museum does not have all of these: no two museums
are structured in the same way. The purpose of this exercise is to assess what your museum does
have and if it is sufficient. Later on, this information will be useful to draw conclusions about the
problems your museum faces in its storage areas.

If your museum does not have its own mission statement, the first step is to contact your
governing body or local government representatives, who will have policy documents of their
own. These are useful to you because they necessarily have to be taken into account in your
museum’s policies. Within your museum, upper management, curatorial or conservation
departments will be your best resource for policy documents. If you cannot find any written
policies, try to find exhibition pamphlets, past communications to the governing body or local
government, old acquisitions documents or press releases; these might contain some useful
information about the museum’s purpose. You will be looking for reflections on your museum’s
purpose – these will be useful to have if you need to draft new policy documents later on. Keep
photocopies of everything useful you find.

If absolutely no written policy documents are available, this must not block your information
gathering process. Simply make a note of what is missing. Perhaps one of your conclusions will be
that the museum needs establish its vision and policies. If this is the case, congratulations! You
have just found a major issue to address and a highly likely cause of storage disorganization.

SUPPORT MATERIALS

- Required equipment & materials:


- Checklist or notes to conduct guided interviews with upper management

- Photos:

- Examples:
- Examples of mission statements, collections management policies, strategic plans,
etc. from other institutions.

- Worksheets & forms:

- Didactic material:
- Developing Intellectual Property Policies: a how-to guide for museums (Ottawa,
Heritage Canada) [online] includes procedures:
http://www.chin.gc.ca/English/Intellectual_Property/Developing_Policies/primer.html
- LinksGovernance (Wellington, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa)
[online]
http://www.tepapa.govt.nz/TePapa/Maori/NationalServices/Resources/MuseumInABox/LinksToRes
ources/LinksGovernance

19
- Roles and Responsibilities of Museum Boards of Trustees (Ottawa, Canadian Museums
Association, 2005) [online] http://www.museums.ca/media/Pdf/trusteesguidelines.pdf

- Ontario Museum Notes (Ontario Ministry of Culture, Canada) [online]


http://www.culture.gov.on.ca/english/heritage/museums/museum_notes.htm
- Collections Management (Western Australian Museum) [online]
http://www.museum.wa.gov.au/services/map/collectmanage.asp
- Museum Management (Western Australian Museum [online]
http://www.museum.wa.gov.au/services/map/musmanage.asp
- ReCollections: caring for collections across Australia (Heritage Collections Council,
2000) [online] http://archive.amol.org.au/recollections/pdf/library.htm

20
DRAW THE TIMELINES OF COLLECTIONS USE, 1M2
ACTIVITIES AND COLLECTIONS GROWTH

Responsible(s): Timeframe:

ACTIONS PREVIOUSLY EXECUTED: none

WHY
Understanding the trends in your museum’s collection use and growth is absolutely essential. This
information can often be the most significant indicator of the reasons why your storage areas are
in the condition they are in. For example, if over time the museum’s acquisitions increased
dramatically while incoming loans decreased, space problems might have occurred at that point.
Visual representation the relationships between the museum’s activities will be very useful to
draw conclusions and identify the cause of certain storage problems when writing the condition
report.

OBJECTIVE
Draw your museum’s timelines of collections use, activities and collections growth, and evaluate
how they are interrelated.

FINAL PRODUCT
1. A chart (graph) that illustrates the use of your own collection, relative to incoming loans, in
exhibition spaces. On the same chart, show: a. collections growth over time, and b. incoming loans
(number of objects on the vertical axis; time, in years on the horizontal axis). You could also add
outgoing loans.
2. A chart that illustrates the human resources allocated to your various collection-related
activities. On the same chart, show: a. research, b. inventorying, c. conservation, d. any other uses
you deem significant (number of staff members devoted to that activity on the vertical axis; time,
in years on the horizontal axis).
3. A chart that illustrates the progressive growth of the collection (number of objects in the
collection on the vertical axis; time, in years on the horizontal axis). This should show the total
amount of objects each year, not the number of objects acquired.
4. A table (spreadsheet) with the raw numeric data on which the charts are based.
5. A short report (max. 1 page) in which you interpret your results.

HOW
Although you should aim for the most precise data as possible, do not worry if you cannot obtain
all the information. You can supplement any written records you find by speaking to upper
management, curators, staff members. In can sometimes be surprising what the human memory
can store! The most important thing about this exercise is that you are able to spot general trends
in the past history of the use of your storage areas. The more complete your information is, the
more accurate your conclusions are likely to be. This being said, keep the quantity of data

21
manageable. Examples of charts and indications of how to interpret results are provided in the
accompanying Guidelines.

SUPPORT MATERIALS

- Required equipment & materials:


- Checklist or notes to conduct guided interviews with upper management and staff.

- Photos:

- Examples:

- Worksheets & forms:

- Didactic material:
- Guidelines for comparing the timelines of collections use, activities and collections
growth.

22
GUIDELINES FOR COMPARING THE TIMELINES OF
COLLECTIONS USE, ACTIVITIES AND COLLECTIONS GROWTH

My collection
Number of objects

70

Number of staff
3 research
50
2 inventory
30 conservation
Loans in 1
Time Time
1999 2004 2009 1999 2004 2009
1. Use of my own collection relative to incoming loans 2. Human resources allocated to collections uses

These are examples of the three charts you are


meant to create. The data do not reflect a real
situation; they are only used here to illustrate
Number of objects

7000
what your charts could look like.
5000
0
3000

Time
1999 2004 2009
3. Collections growth

After you have created the charts, briefly interpret your results. You could try superimposing all
three charts to get a snapshot view of your museum’s entire collections use/acquisition history.

EXAMPLE OF INTERPRETATION:

2004 was the year when the museum began


to have fewer incoming exhibitions and My collection
started focusing on using its own collection 7000
70
Number of objects

research
to create exhibitions. (Perhaps there is 3
Number of staff

evidence of this change in the museum’s 50


50000 inventory
2
policy documents or in management?)
3000
30 conservation
Consequently, in the years leading up to 1 Loans in
2004, many resources were allocated to
Time
researching and inventorying the collection 1999 2004 2009
for the publication of a catalogue. These
immediately diminished after 2004, probably because the staff was occupied in other activities
(communication, exhibit mounting, etc.). One immediate consequence of this was that afterwards,
the only conservator working for the museum also became responsible for documentation in
addition to his growing workload generated by 1. The increased use of the museum’s collection
and, 2. The rapidly growing acquisitions. This pressure on human resources may have cause
problems in storage management. (etc.)

23
COLLECT INFORMATION ON PROCEDURES, 1M3
RULES AND PRACTICES

Responsible(s): Timeframe:

ACTIONS PREVIOUSLY EXECUTED: 1M1

WHY
Procedures, rules and practices indicate how the museum’s policies are translated into practical
actions on a daily basis. For this reason, to accomplish this step, you should already have your
museum’s written policy documents (1M1). Procedures are easy-to-follow lists or guidelines that
explain how staff is meant to execute certain tasks. Rules refer to the behavior that is expected of
staff within the museum. Practices are how procedures and rules are actually applied and
interpreted in the everyday running of the museum. Written, up-to-date, and periodically revised
procedures are the best possible practice for museums. If this is not the case in your museum, this
may have an impact on storage management. Quite naturally, if everyone interprets procedures
and rules in their own way, or if these do not exist at all, inconsistencies are created and problems
will probably develop.

OBJECTIVE
Collect the museum’s written procedures and rules and gather information on practices through
structured interviews with the staff.

FINAL PRODUCT
1. A dossier containing the photocopies of all written procedures and rules including. This should
be accompanied by a list that states the date when they were drafted, the date they were last
updated, how frequently they are updated, and all missing procedures and rules.
2. A short report that contains a summary of your findings on procedures, rules and practices,
including strengths and weaknesses, and brief recommendations for immediate and long-term
actions.

HOW
It is very common for policy documents to have a corresponding procedure. For example, an
acquisition policy explaining what the museum collects and why, will have an acquisition
procedure listing the precise steps that must be taken and the documentation that is required
when an object is acquired by the museum. For your short report, try to see if these links between
policies and procedures exist and if you can identify any inconsistencies. Are there any procedures
for storage management? For practices, the best resource for up-to-date information is the
museum staff. They will know best what they usually do in given circumstances; this is the
precious information that you need. The best way to proceed is to interview staff members one by
one, and to do the same with management. This way, you will get a sense of how procedures and
rules are applied similarly or differently by people within the same museum. Your findings should

24
be summarized in the short report. When writing your report, remember to focus on the
information that will be relevant and useful to diagnose your storage area in the condition report.

A museum can have procedures documents for: acquisitions, deaccesion and disposal, object
entry, location and movement control, inward loans, outward loans, access and use, inventorying,
cataloguing, reproduction, risk management, what to do following loss or theft, object exit and
dispatch, objects on temporary exhibition, care and conservation etc. Other essential procedures
that cross over to policy documents include: emergency preparedness/disaster recovery plans and
Integrated Pest Management Plans. Although your museum may not have all of these, try to find
out as much as you can. This is a great opportunity for you to develop a strong working
relationship with the museum’s staff early on in the methodology.

SUPPORT MATERIAL

- Required equipment & materials:


- Checklist or notes to conduct guided interviews with upper management

- Photos:

- Examples:
- Examples of procedures and rules documents from other institutions.

- Worksheets & forms:

- Didactic material:
- ReCollections: caring for collections across Australia (Heritage Collections Council,
2000) [online] http://archive.amol.org.au/recollections/pdf/library.htm
- Developing Intellectual Property Policies: a how-to guide for museums (Ottawa,
Heritage Canada) [online] includes procedures:
http://www.chin.gc.ca/English/Intellectual_Property/Developing_Policies/primer.html
- Building an Emergency Plan: a guide for museums and other cultural institutions
(Los Angeles: Getty Conservation Institute, 1999) [online]
http://www.getty.edu/conservation/publications/pdf_publications/emergency_plan.pdf
- Free Emergency Resources (Washington D.C., Heritage Preservation) [online]
http://www.heritagepreservation.org/free/index.html
- Disaster Preparedness and response (Conservation on-line) [online] http://cool-
palimpsest.stanford.edu/bytopic/disasters

25
GATHER INFORMATION ON STAFF AND OTHER 1M4
HUMAN RESOURCES

Responsible(s): Timeframe:

ACTIONS PREVIOUSLY EXECUTED: iv

WHY
Human resources are at the heart of any institution. Since museums are typically understaffed,
things can run even more smoothly if everyone’s tasks complement those of other staff members.
For example, it is not uncommon for a museum guard to be responsible for at least some
collections care activities such as environmental monitoring, or for those in charge of maintenance
to monitor insect traps. It is simply more efficient this way. However, problems arise when staff is
unclear about their responsibilities and chains of command (to whom they report). This can occur
sometimes because job descriptions are old and inaccurate or altogether inexistent. If
responsibilities relating to the stored collections are not clear, there is a high chance this will lead
to a progressive disorganization.

OBJECTIVE
Gather all existing information on the museum’s staff and organizational structure, including
written job descriptions.

FINAL PRODUCT
1. A complete organizational chart that clearly shows: every post or job title within the museum,
the relationship between these (who reports to whom), and the names of the people who occupy
them at the moment. In the hierarchy, you should try to go as high as local government to
understand how the museum relates to the external power structures.
2. A complete list of the museum’s staff, including their title, the year they were hired, if they are
part-time or full-time, education, training and special skills. Do not forget to include directors,
curators and other managers.
3. A complete list of volunteers or external collaborators who are involved with the museum,
including what they do, who they report to, how many hours a week they work, education,
training and special skills.
4. A dossier containing the written job description of all museum staff, accompanied by a short
report or list that summarizes the state of written job descriptions: if they exist, if they need to be
updated, etc.
5. A list containing the names and titles of everyone (staff, management, volunteers, etc.) that is
somehow linked to the stored collections. In what way are they linked to the storage areas? Are
they maintenance people? Curators? Who has access? Who is in charge? Do they have keys? Etc.

HOW
To gather information on the museum staff, you will need to do some research in the human
resource files. If the information is incomplete, speaking directly to staff should help you fill in the

26
holes. Speaking to staff can also give you a sense of how their perceived responsibilities may
differ from their written responsibilities. If by speaking to the staff, you see that what they
actually do and feel responsible for is different from what their job description states, this may be
an indication that job descriptions need to be revised and updated. In general, it is difficult for
people to be consistent in their tasks if there is no formal record of them having set
responsibilities.

SUPPORT MATERIAL

- Required equipment & materials:


- Organizational chart if it exists (if not, create one)

- Photos:

- Examples: Organizational chart, example of staff list

- Worksheets & forms:

- Didactic material:
- Human Resources Guidelines/Checklists (Canadian Museums Association) [online]
http://www.museums.ca/en/info_resources/reports_guidelines/hr_toolkit/index.php

27
IDENTIFY POTENTIAL FINANCIAL RESOURCES: 1M5
INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL

Responsible(s): Timeframe:

ACTIONS PREVIOUSLY EXECUTED: None

WHY
It is important to identify your potential sources of funding as early on as possible because in the
condition report you present to decision makers, you will be forecasting the size of the
reorganization project. The size of the project is partly based on the availability of financial
resources (yearly budget, small extra amount, or major external funding). For this reason, it is
essential to determine how much money is available, how easily in can be obtained, and from
whom.

OBJECTIVE
Identify potential sources of funding that would support a storage reorganization project both
within you institution and outside.

FINAL PRODUCT
1. A table (spreadsheet) that gives a projection of:
a. the funds (amount) that can be secured within the museum’s yearly budget
b. the funds (amount) that can be secured rapidly (outside the museum’s yearly budget)
c. the funds (amount) that could potentially be secured from external funders.
For each of these, also indicate:
a. how much time it could take to obtain the funds
b. level of difficulty (based on application procedures: permissions, required
documentation, selection criteria)
2. A separate list of potential external funders with their contact information.

HOW
To identify sources of external funding, you may find it useful to do a quick analysis of your
museum as an institution. Business consultants use SWOT analyses to do this. S and W refer to
your institution’s internal environment: what are the strengths and weaknesses of the museum as
an institution? O and T refer to its external environment; this is sometimes called a ‘market
analysis’: what opportunities are out there for you (collaborations with other institutions,
government, associations, partnerships, media coverage, etc.) and what threats does your
institution face (competitors for same funding, political disinterest, etc.)? If you feel these types of
analyses are helpful, try doing a PEST analysis as well: how is the political, economic, social and
technological climate in your area or your sector? Is this favorable or unfavorable for you to
secure funds for reorganizing your storage? What can you do about this? Do not be fearful of
these tools, they can be useful to help you understand all sides of a problem.

28
This brief exercise, combined with a simple assessment of your audience (who comes to your
museum and why?) can will certainly give you ideas about who you can contact for funding and
who is likely to be interested in supporting your storage reorganization project. Establishing and
maintaining strong partnerships with other organizations or groups that share your objectives is a
good start in ensuring continued financial support. These can be other cultural institutions,
universities, grant giving bodies, local government, non-governmental organizations, private
individuals, museum friends associations, etc. Be creative when looking for funding! Someone’s
threat is always another’s opportunity. Stay positive and brush up on your personal relations skills.

SUPPORT MATERIAL

- Start equipment & materials:

- Photos:

- Examples: SWOT and PEST analyses.

- Worksheets & forms:

- Didactic material:
- Capitalize on Collections Care (Heritage Preservation, Washington D.C., 2007)
[online] http://www.heritagepreservation.org/PDFS/COClo.pdf

29
GATHER INFORMATION ON THE BUILDING’S 1B1
SURROUNDINGS AND ENVIRONMENT

Responsible(s): Timeframe:

WHY
In order to understand the museum building in a broader context you have to analyze its position
in the surroundings as well as potential influences and risks connected to the adjacent
environment. For this reason it is necessary to gather information on the environmental
conditions of the region and on past disasters that might have affected the building. The
immediate surrounding should be considered most.

OBJECTIVE
• Use local and regional sources of information about the nearby environment in order to
determine the degree of possible risks
• Plot the building in its current surroundings

FINAL PRODUCT
• Location map with indication of the museum’s orientation
• Record of past environmental threats or disasters

HOW
Locate the museum on a map and highlight environmental threats. Follow the CCI-preservation
framework (see support material). Ask for records from the local weather station. Contact local
emergency institutions (e.g. fire station). Observe the orientation of the building in connection to
sun’s position and winds’ direction. Note your observations. Gather the documents in a file.

SUPPORT MATERIAL

- Photos :

- Printed material:
CCI-Preservation Framework
Statistics of weather stations
Old annual collection management reports
Disaster plans

Literature: NEUFERT (manual of architecture)

- Exercises: NIL

30
RELATE THE STORAGE TO THE BUILDING 1B2

Responsible(s): Timeframe:

WHY
In order to understand the spatial context of your storage area you need to consider some aspects
of the building and how these might influence the stored collections.

OBJECTIVE
Describe (write and or draw)
• the buildings characteristics, such as construction materials, power and plumbing systems,
special installations as well as their condition.
• the use and accessibility of every room; categorize the rooms’ functions.
Analyze interlinks between the storage areas and the other departments.

FINAL PRODUCT
• Floor plan with marked areas including the routes that connect collection rooms.
• Floor plan with all installations marked and explained.
• Document or chart with brief description of relevant building materials and their condition.

HOW
Locate the storage areas in a floor plan. Agree on symbols (legenda) and mark the functions of all
rooms with different colours. Inspect installations like water pipes, sanitary rooms or
heating/cooling systems. Check thoroughly old electricity wires and fittings. They might be a fire
threat!
Draw a route plan with frequently used pathways that guide to the storage area, e.g. the way from
the exhibition hall to the storage areas. Mark any staircase or narrow path which might cause
trouble in terms of moving and handling objects. Clearly mark all ways of access to the storage,
like windows and doors, but also chimneys and any other roof openings.
Consult an architect or building engineer. Try to organise a detailed visit with her and make sure
that you understand the correlations between building materials, their condition and your storage.
Make notes. Don’t be too shy to ask. After your visit invite her to meet your director and make
clear that his support is appreciated. Always have the broad context of building in mind.

SUPPORT MATERIAL

- Start equipment & materials:


Building plan of the museum
Checklist. Like the visible facts: a suggested survey path, basic set of observations an a
set of photographs
Facility reports (the institute physical specifications)
Photo camera

Card under revision 31


Framework of museum collections (website CCI) look in the storage box under building
features and portable fittings

- Printed material:

Website:
Free website from David to draw plans
Any other software? David and Mario?
Refer to Phase 1 “Get your tools” to make a floor plan

- Exercises: NIL

Card under revision 32


GATHER INFORMATION ON THE OVERALL CONDITION 1B3
OF THE STORAGE AREA

Responsible(s): Timeframe:

ACTION PREVIOUSLY DONE: 1.4 overall visit of the museum

WHY
In order to plan the reorganization of your storage you need to know its current condition, to
understand the level of protection that the building has and all the agents of deterioration that
might affect your storage.

OBJECTIVE
Identify the condition of the storage area and the need for maintenance.
Identify possible agents of deterioration (physical forces, theft and vandalism, fire, water, pests,
contaminants, radiation, incorrect temperature, incorrect humidity) and their source.

FINAL PRODUCT
• Document or chart with the current condition of the storage area.
• A plan on which the potential sources of deterioration, fire, water, humidity, and light, are
clearly marked.

HOW
Locate the storage areas in a floor plan. Enter the storage room. Have a detailed list of any
possible threats that may affect your storage. Talk to the responsible persons and ask them to
describe if they have had any events in the past. Try to find the sources of any deterioration
agents, like physical forces, theft and vandalism, fire, water, pests, contaminants, radiation,
problematic temperature or humidity etc. Identify their effect on your collections. Agree on a
strategic plan and on a map mark the potential damages and/or threats. Pay attention on leaks
and tricky electricity installations. They might be a fire risk! Make detailed notes and graphics if
possible. Take detailed photos.

SUPPORT MATERIAL

- Photos :

- Examples

- Worksheet, forms:

- Start equipment & material:


- CCI, Framework of Agents of Deterioration

33
- Website: room arrangement-software (sketch up, )
- Refer to Phase 1 “Get your tools” to make a floor plan

- Exercises: NIL

34
GATHER INFORMATION AND EVALUATE 1C1
THE BASIC DOCUMENTATION SYSTEM

Responsible: Registrar or Timeframe:


Conservation Assistant 4 hours

ACTIONS PREVIOUSLY EXECUTED: None

WHY
Gathering information and evaluating the documentation system is important for the
reorganization process. It will demonstrate the way in which objects has been registered to the
museum and its principal catalogue, it will indicate the location of objects in the storerooms and
will highlight if the documentation needs an update.

OBJECTIVE
Given your assessment of the collections storage evaluate the museum’s documentation system.

HOW
Using the main registration catalogue, if possible along with any secondary elements, fill out the
evaluation form. If the documentation is not up to date then problems will soon arise. In such a
case there might be the need for the formation of teams that will work on the objects’ accession
system, on entering accession numbers on artefacts, on re-locating them etc. In other occasions
slighter modifications might be needed while if the documentation system is effective a series of
resources could be saved.
The evaluation must include an assessment of the essential elements of documentation (main
registry, objects’ numbering, storerooms numbering, objects’ location, and main index etc.) stating
whether each element is available, describing its main parts, the way that data is classified and any
first observations on possible improvements. The evaluation should also incorporate any existing
secondary elements of documentation (other indexes, accession cards, moving pad). Try to be
thorough as your observations will be extremely important in the subsequent evaluation phases.
You might even wish to test the system by randomly choosing a series of objects and estimating
the time that was required to physically retrieve them. It would be useful to note the number of
artefacts that had to be moved in order to get your objects.

FINAL PRODUCT
Filled out Documentation Diagnostic Sheet including the following entries:
• State of objects’ registration (complete, to be completed)
• Type and state of main registry (handwritten, typed or digital)
• Type of numbering system in storage areas

35
SUPPORT MATERIAL

- Photos : 160

- Printed material:

- Documentation Diagnostic Sheet


- Museum documentation system (register, index)
- Pencil
- Camera

- Exercises: “Location numbering systems – case 1”


“Location numbering systems – case 2”
“Location numbering systems – case 3”

36
GATHER INFORMATION ON THE NUMBER OF 1C2
OBJECTS AND THEIR CLASSIFICATION

Responsible: - Conservator Timeframe:


- Assistant Conservator 2 to 5 days

ACTIONS PREVIOUSLY EXECUTED: 1C1

WHY
In order to plan the reorganization of your storage the number of objects and their classification
must be clearly defined. An overall number is important as it will give you a general view on how
much resources (human and financial) are necessary. For example it can indicate you if there are
enough space as well as storage units in the storerooms.
Objects’ classification (type, material, dimensions, value) is important as it can help you define in
what way you have to store you objects and with what kind of padding and support, in which
rooms you should store the collections, according to the impact of environmental conditions on
the different materials (organic and inorganic), as well as determine priorities, in case of a disaster
(fire, flood etc.), for the most valuable parts of collection.

OBJECTIVE
Taking into account the information you have gathered on the museum’s documentation system
and the results of your evaluation on the latter determine the number of objects and make a
classification of the collection:
1. by type (e.g. textiles, paintings, ceramics, coins etc.)
2. by material (e.g. organic, inorganic, mixed)
3. by dimension (e.g. small, medium, large etc.)
4. by value
Your charts can be based on exact numbers, if the thoroughness of the documentation system
caters that, or on detailed estimations. It is important to indicate clearly whether you figures are
accurate or if they are based on estimations.

HOW
Using the available documentation system (preferably the registry) or by making consistent
estimations you will be able to calculate the number of objects that fell into the aforementioned
categories.

FINAL PRODUCT
Chart or graphic made for each category that indicates the quantity (%) of objects.

37
SUPPORT MATERIAL

- Photos : nil

- Printed material: Photocopy of the register, main index, Documentation Diagnostic Sheet,
Calculator, pencil, camera
- Exercises: nil

38
IDENTIFY EVERY LOCATION IN THE BUILDING 1C3
WHERE COLLECTIONS ARE PRESENT

Responsible: Assistant Curator or Assistant Timeframe:


Conservator (Storage Technician) 1 day

ACTIONS PREVIOUSLY EXECUTED: None

WHY
It is important to identify where your collections are located. This will direct your estimations of
the number and availability of the storage units, of human and financial resources’ assessment
and of your evaluation on the sufficiency of the latter. You will also gain a better understanding of
the efforts you will have to devote in order to relocate the misplaced parts of the collection.
Finally, this information will be crucial in determining the risks that your collection faces in its
present arrangement.

OBJECTIVE
Given the observations you have made during your visit in the building and the storage areas,
identify all the locations in which objects of the collection can be found.

HOW
With a plan of the building in hand visit every room, if possible, of the building, make a list and
map all the objects that you find.

FINAL PRODUCT
• A chart with the following entries: name/number of the room, brief description of the
objects as well as their amount
• If possible, a plan of the building that is connected to the aforementioned list

SUPPORT MATERIAL

- Photos :

- Printed material: photocopy of the register, camara, plan of the building (if possible),
paper, pencil,

- Exercises: NIL

39
PLOT THE LOCATION OF THE COLLECTION AND 1C4
NON-COLLECTION ON THE STORAGE FLOOR PLANS

Responsible: Conservator or Curator Timeframe:


(Head of the Storage Department) 2 to 5 days

ACTIONS PREVIOUSLY EXECUTED: 1B4

WHY
It is important to visualise where exactly the collection and the non-collection are located but also
how the collections are distributed within the storage areas. This will give you a detailed view of
the available floor and shelve space after the dispose or relocation of non-collection materials and
objects. By separating the non-collection from the collection, you will clearly see how much extra
space you could gain by relocating it. The produced floor plans will also be a useful tool in order to
evaluate whether the inventory can be prepared before starting the storage reorganization and to
assess the general fullness of the collections storage rooms. The mapping process will also reveal
according to what criteria your collection has been grouped and the extent to which the present
arrangement differs from the museum’s intensions.

OBJECTIVE
Given the situation observed in the rooms designated for collections storage, map the collection
and the non-collection.

HOW
Use the floor plans of the storage areas, which you have already gathered (1B4), to map all the
required elements in two differently coloured pens (one for collection and another for non
collection).

FINAL PRODUCT
• Floor plan of storage areas where collection and non-collection are clearly indicated.

SUPPORT MATERIAL

- Photos : 11

- Printed material: storage floor plan, photocopy of the register, coloured pencils, camara

- Exercises: NIL

40
ISOLATE HARMFUL AND INFESTED OBJECTS 1C5

Responsible: Timeframe:

ACTIONS PREVIOUSLY EXECUTED: None

WHY
Collections in storage areas are usually piled up with materials that come from non-museum
collections. Some storage areas might also act as “lunch spaces” or hallways that guide to other
offices. Thus regular inspections become difficult and that results in hospitable environments for
pests and insects. In cases that infested objects have not been noticed or controlled, there is a
high risk of infestation for the rest of the stored organic artefacts. This may cause other objects to
be infested. The infestation has to be controlled immediately and quarantine measures have to be
activated. Otherwise the infestation may spread to a large part of the collection causing
irreversible damage to the museum collections.

OBJECTIVE
Given your observations and evidence on the condition of the storage areas isolate the harmful
and infested objects. On a floor plan of the storage areas map the location of all the organic
collections and provide a description of their different types.

HOW
By investigating the storerooms and mapping the position of the infested collections on your floor
plan. Describe the type of collections and the severity/extent of the infestation. Identify and spot
on your floor plan potential entry points of pests through doors and windows gaps or other
unnoticed openings. Try to get evidence of the pests and save it in a plastic bottle/box. Map on
your plan possible breeding spaces, food sources and ideal environments for pests’ expansion.

FINAL PRODUCT
• List of infested objects identified or storage plan with the indication of infested
objects
• Infested objects separated/quarantined

SUPPORT MATERIAL

- Photos :

- Printed material:

41
1. Floor plan with positioning of all organic collections in the storage area.

2. Transparency of floor plan with red dots to indicate location of infested collections.
3. Transparency of floor plan with yellow dots to indicate the positioning of all other
organic collections within the store.
4. Protective clothing and materials (glove, mask)
5. Plastic film or Plastic box
6. Camera

- Exercises: NIL

42
GATHER INFORMATION ON STORAGE UNITS 1F1
(number, type, size, location, and state)

Responsible: Timeframe:

ACTIONS PREVIOUSLY EXECUTED: 1B4 (indicate the location of the storage area…)

WHY
Storage unit is any piece of furniture which is used for storing purposes. The common types of
storage units used in museums are: shelving, sliding racks, map drawers, cabinets, wardrobes,
hangers etc. As soon as you are able to access existing storage units in the storage area you will
then be able to list their number and types. This will also give you the opportunity to check their
state and identify the ones (fixed or adjustable) that could be repaired and/or adapted, as well as
to remove those that are not repairable or modifiable. By measuring the dimensions and spotting
the exact location of each storage unit on your floor plan you will then be able to estimate the
actual storing capacity of the room and the effectiveness of the current use of space. It will also
help you to better plan future disposition of existing and newly acquired storage units. You might
be able to find usable pieces of furniture in other museum areas and that way the survey could
cover the whole museum building.

OBJECTIVE
• To indicate the location of storage furniture on a floor plan
• To collect and update all relevant information about each piece of furniture you will find in
the storage area and possibly in other museum sectors based on the furniture inventory
list, if existing

FINAL PRODUCT
• List that includes all the storage units of the museum available for use in the storage area.
This should be illustrated with photographs/drawings, showing the number and
dimensions of storage units to be used, repaired or modified.
• Floor plan of the storage area where storage units are clearly located

HOW
• Visual inspection of the storage area and other museum areas where available storage
units could be found
• Make lists of all the storage units and identify the ones that are repairable or modifiable
• Measure the dimensions of the units and draw on the floor plan the ones within your
storage area

43
SUPPORT MATERIAL

- Photos: needed

- Printed material:
- furniture worksheet

- Exercises: NIL

44
GATHER INFORMATION 1F2
ON SMALL SIZE EQUIPMENT

Responsible: Timeframe:

ACTIONS PREVIOUSLY EXECUTED: None

WHY
Small size equipment in storage areas would be all the handling, moving, cleaning, monitoring, and
controlling equipment as well as some of the movable elements of the security system (e.g.
ladders, stools, trolleys, vehicles, vacuum cleaners, measuring devices, humidifiers, fire
extinguishers etc.). By gathering this information you will discover the diverse equipment types
within the storage area and how many of them are available. This will be the opportunity to check
their condition and group the ones that can be repaired and/or modified for storage use from the
ones that are not usable. It is also possible that there is some available equipment in other
museum areas, so all the areas of the museum should be included in this survey. Indicating the
location of the small equipment in the storage areas will help deciding on its future usage and it
will make it easy to find them.

OBJECTIVE
Collect information about the existing small equipment (type, number, state, and location) by:
• checking if there is already a list of small equipment
• checking if the list is up to date
• updating the list after gathering information on all available small equipment
• deciding which equipment is repairable and usable
• identifying their location

FINAL PRODUCT
• List that includes all the small equipment of the museum available for use in the
storage area. This should be illustrated with photographs/drawings, showing the
number of small equipment to be used, repaired, modified, and potentially bought
• storage floor plan with indicated location of the small equipment

HOW
• By visually inspecting the storage area and other museum areas where available
equipment could be found
• By making a list with all the equipment and deciding which to keep and use

45
• By indicating this equipment on the floor plan of the storage area

SUPPORT MATERIAL

- Photos: 30

- Printed material:
- Small size equipment worksheet

- Exercises: NIL

46
GATHER INFORMATION ON 1F3
CONTAINERS, PADDING, AND SUPPORT

Responsible: Timeframe:

ACTIONS PREVIOUSLY EXECUTED: 1C2

WHY
Containers, padding, and elements of support mainly aim to protect objects from agents of
deterioration, like physical forces, and to make them accessible. That way they are usually object-
specific. Additionally, their design, guided by the objects’ conservation needs, usually makes
objects occupy more space than their actual dimensions would suggest (e.g. if an object is stored
rolled instead of flat, if all appendages are folded onto themselves or individually supported, etc.).
Information on the containers, padding, and supporting of objects is important for the
reorganization of the storage because it can help improve the evaluation on the sufficiency and
adaptability of the storage units. It can also assist in determining the need for the formation of a
responsible team that will work in this area later on or if no extra resources will be necessary.

OBJECTIVE
Given your assessment on the collections storage gather information on the containers, padding,
and support of the collection according to objects classification (see 1C2).

HOW
Walk through the collections storage area and get a sense of how each type of object is stored,
supported or padded and write down your observations. Establishing an average multiplying
factor for padding and support in line with the object’s type and size category would be very
useful. Using the proposed padding and handling dimensions you will be able to estimate the
storage space for the different types of objects.

SUPPORT MATERIAL

- Photos : 33

- Printed material: Table of proposed padding and handling dimension for collections

- Exercises: NIL

47
GATHER INFORMATION ON THE LOCAL 1F4
AVAILABILITY OF STORAGE MATERIALS

Responsible: Timeframe:

ACTIONS PREVIOUSLY EXECUTED: 1F1, 1F2, 1F3

WHY
In the second phase of the project, you might find out that the existing storage units as well as
containers and other storing materials are not sufficient or appropriate for the needs of the
reorganized storage area. This might be the case with some types of small equipment that were
going to be used in the new storerooms. Researching the local market at this point of the project
will enable you to make a better planning. It will also give you the opportunity you to recalculate
and probably reduce the costs in the next phase. There might be some common local materials
and products that could provide a good alternative for storing equipment instead of the regularly
recommended ones (standard metal shelving, compact storage units, data loggers, cotton fabric,
corrosion intercepts etc.).

OBJECTIVE
Explore if there is adequate and appropriate furniture, equipment and materials for storing
purposes in the local market, in order to prepare a list of potential suppliers and to collect the
relevant references, catalogues, and other information for your future storage planning.

FINAL PRODUCT
• List with all the potential local suppliers of storage equipment
• Collection of catalogues/brochures on locally available storage equipment
• List of web links for suppliers with a webpage

HOW
• Ask for references (through official or informal ways)
• Collect product catalogues/brochures (printed, in digital format or online)
• Make some initial inquiries on the possible cost of storage equipment

SUPPORT MATERIAL

- Photos:

- Printed material:

- Exercises: NIL

48
THE STORAGE CONDITION REPORT 1

Responsible(s): Timeframe:

ACTIONS PREVIOUSLY EXECUTED: 1M, 1B, 1C, 1F

WHY
Writing the storage condition report is a team process through which you must:
- Identify the key issues that are currently disturbing the long-term conservation and
access to the stored collections
- Provide recommendations for future action
- Determine the magnitude of the project that will be required
- Assess the museum’s potential to execute it.
While the self-assessment questionnaire was used to obtain the initial go-ahead and get a
snapshot view of the situation, the condition report is a professional document that you will use to
communicate the need of a reorganization project (phase 2) to decision makers, resource
providers and other stakeholders (politicians, governing bodies, grant giving bodies, etc.). In
writing the report, it is important to keep in mind that those who read it might have never set foot
in the storage areas.

OBJECTIVE
Produce an illustrated and well-documented report that highlights the relevant findings of phase 1
and provides recommendations for future action.

FINAL PRODUCT
A report* (approx. 14 pages, excluding appendices) containing:
1. An executive summary (max. 1 page)
2. A table of contents
3. An introduction (max. 1 page)
4. A presentation of the results of your analysis for each sector (M, C, B, F) (max. 8 pages)
5. Recommendations and conclusion (max. 1 page)
6. Budget, resources and timeframe for phase 2 (max. 2 pages)
7. Appendices: only the relevant data collected and produced in phase 1 (tables, charts,
plans, photos, facts and figures, lists, etc.)

* The condition report should be written in a well-articulated and concise style, to make it easily
understandable by a non-specialist audience. The evidence presented should be carefully selected
to support the conclusions and illustrate the storage area’s main priorities.

HOW
Writing the storage condition report will take you through two major steps: The initial analysis
involving the entire team, and the writing of the report.

49
Suggestions for the analysis
The amount of information you have collected so far is substantial. The challenge now lies in
making sense of these findings in order to provide clear recommendations. One way to proceed
would to begin by identifying the top problems in each sectors (M, C, B, F) and then finding the
cause-effect links between them. This will allow you to determine the project’s magnitude and the
museum’s potential to execute the reorganization project (See the Guidelines for Analysis).

Suggestions for writing the report


While the analysis should be a team effort, writing the report will be easier if it is done by one
person (such as the team leader), while the rest of team works on producing the appendices (See
the Guidelines for Writing).

SUPPORT MATERIAL

- Required equipment & materials:


- Checklist or notes to conduct guided interviews with upper management and staff.

- Photos:

- Examples:
- Argentina and Iran pilot projects condition reports.

- Worksheets & forms:

- Didactic material:
- Guidelines for analysis (condition report)
- Guidelines for writing (condition report)

50
PHASE 2: Writing of the Reorganization Project (action plan)

Estimate the budget and


timeframe for
implementation Plan the building & space upgrade of the
storage department and museum building
✚2M10 ✚2M10 2B9 ✚2C6
2M11 ✚2F2 ✚2C8✚2F7
Will the
storage be full
Find new space 5 years from
2B8
2B7 now? ✚2M3

Is the storage full today?


2B6
Evaluate needs for
small equipment
Revise/write procedures for Determine the Estimate if old 2F2
storage management sectors’ needs and new units
2M8
for extra space can be housed
Establish needs for new
(excluding the in the
2F7
units ✚2M3✚2C6
collection collection
Organize Clarify needs
2B4 storage)✚2M3 2B5 storage
training for for external
team human Estimate volume of
members resources collections with their padding
including Reallocate space to the Remove and re-house and support
2C7 ✚2F5
2M6 teamwork 2M10 various sectors of the all other materials Design/identify specific
storage area immediately (if this storage boxes, containers,
2B3
prevents the Determine preventive organizers
2F6
execution of the next conservation requirements
Identify core team members, steps) for group of objects
assign tasks and recommend Determine spatial needs 2C4 ✚2C1 2C6
changes in the job descriptions (permanent and temporary)
2M4
for the various sectors of Prepare the
Finalise classification of the
the storage department inventory
Estimate the 2B1 2C8
2C2 collection
collection growth
2M3
rate
Internal move of collections Evaluate existing furniture,
2F5 to maximize their access containers, support & padding,
Determine the role of storage with and small equipment:
respect to the mission statement Keep/modify/discard
2M2 2C1 Plan the removal and rehousing of non-collection 2F1

MANAGEMENT BUILDING &SPACE 2C


COLLECTIONS FURNITURE
2M 2B 2F
DETERMINE THE ROLE OF STORAGE 2M2
WITH RESPECT TO THE MISSION STATEMENT

Responsible(s): Timeframe:

ACTIONS PREVIOUSLY EXECUTED: 1M1, 1M5, 1M6, 2M1

WHY
It is important to determine the role that storage will have within the institution so that it may
support its mission. This should take place at the very beginning of the reorganization project
because it will influence your decisions concerning the spatial needs of the storage department
and concerning the various tasks that will later have to be assigned to the staff.

The three main missions a museum can have are: collecting, studying and exhibiting.

- If its mission is focused on collecting, you will need areas for accepting, photographing,
conserving and documenting.
- If its mission is focused on studying, you will need areas for researchers to consult and
examine the collections, and adapted regulations.
- If its mission is focused on in-house or external exhibitions, you will need areas for loading
and un-loading, packing, holding, and storing packing materials and cases.
- If your museum is connected with an archaeological zone with active excavation
campaigns, you will need areas for conservation and storage of the inactive collection;
these should be adapted to the quantity of excavated material.
- If its mission is focused on education, you may decide to have an open storage which will
require special protection.

OBJECTIVE
Based on your discussions with the staff to determine their needs and expectations (2M1), on the
mission statement and cultural project (1M1), on the past and present use of collections (1M5)
and on you management evaluation (1M6),
Write a one-page report on the role of storage within the cultural project in accordance with the
mission statement
The resulting report should be accepted by the whole staff and should be divided in this way:
“The mission statement is …” and “To support these missions, the storage department will have
…” The proposal must be done in a very realistic and pragmatic way (considering the size of the
museum).

HOW
Call a meeting with all staff directly involved with the collection:
- those providing the collection (as in the case of archaeological museums, for example)
- those managing the collection
52
- those using the collection
Take the official mission statement and comment it.
Evaluate if it is still valid.
Modify it if necessary.
For each realistic mission, describe how it will influence the reorganization of the storage.

SUPPORT MATERIAL

- Photos: NIL

- Printed material: ? look at Generation 2 for possible support material.

- Exercises: NIL

53
ESTIMATE THE COLLECTION GROWTH 2M3

Responsible(s): Timeframe:

ACTIONS PREVIOUSLY EXECUTED: none

WHY
For storage reorganization, you must ensure that enough empty space is available to accept future
accessions and estimate in how many years your storage is likely to be full.

OBJECTIVE
Based on a consultation and analysis of the accessions registry, if it is kept correctly (if not, via
discussions with the staff), and based on the museum’s policies,
Draw a curve of the expansion of the collection in the last 10 years and estimate collections
growth rate for the next 5 years.

HOW
Past growth rate: use the accessions registry, quantify the number of objects that have been
accessioned each year for the last 10 years and draw the curve. You obtain the average growth
rate. If you have many objects and wish to be more precise, you can draw several curves and
subdivide them by object type – or by some other form of classification depending on the
museum’s documentation system. Accompany the curves with a table containing the exact values.
If exact numbers are not currently available, use your better judgement to arrive at a plausible
figure. You may decide to ask several people from the team to come up with growth rates based
on their experience with the collection and compare results afterwards in order to arrive at a
consensus.

Projected growth rate: The museum management might decide to reorient its accession policy
and focus in the upcoming years on different areas than those which have been growing recently
or, in case of archaeological museums, continue or stop excavations. In this case, the experience
of the staff will contribute to estimate the projected growth rate.

SUPPORT MATERIAL

- Photos: NIL

- Printed material: Data of acquisitions of 2 museums in the UK (Suzanne Keene ppt


presentation)

- Exercises: NIL
IDENTIFY CORE TEAM MEMBERS, ASSIGN TASKS AND 2M4
RECOMMEND CHANGES IN THE JOB DESCRIPTIONS

Responsible(s): Timeframe:

ACTIONS PREVIOUSLY EXECUTED:


[2M4]: 1M2, 2M2
[2M5]: 2M4
[2M7]: 2M5, 2M6

WHY
[2M4]: As the role of the storage within the museum is clarified and/or completed, you may find
that new tasks that did not exist before can begin to appear. Later on, these tasks will also need to
be assigned to members of the staff after the job descriptions have been updated.
It is important to identify the storage management tasks and to revise the job descriptions in
order to be able to assign them to the existing members of the staff afterwards.

[2M5]: To ensure the sustainability of the storage reorganization, staff members need to feel a
personal responsibility for the well-being of the collection. This can only be achieved if they are
clearly informed of what their specific responsibilities are, and very importantly, why they should
be doing what they do. During the assignment of tasks, it will be essential to communicate these
points to them very clearly, otherwise, you might find that some years down the road, the
museum storage will begin to revert to its current state.
Assigning tasks is important because you will see, based on the staff members’ current
qualifications and experience, whether they require training (2M6) to accomplish the revised
storage management tasks included in their job descriptions, or if a project team can be created
immediately (2M7).

[2M7]: In a museum where the storage contains about 10,000 objects abandoned for several
years, the reorganization can take up to 6 months for a team of 4 trained people, working full-
time. This reorganization will create important disturbances within the institution. It can raise
important problems, as probably during the inventory, some objects will be found missing
(stolen?).
Only a team1 fully dedicated, fully trained and fully supported by the administration can face this
challenge.

OBJECTIVE
[2M4]: Based on the determination of the role of storage in your institution (2M2) and on the
information you gathered on the staff (1M2),
Modify present job descriptions and, if necessary, create new ones to ensure that all tasks for the
management of the storage department will be executed fluidly and professionally.

Card under revision 55


[2M5]: Based on the list of tasks for storage management and the revised job descriptions (2M4),
Assign the tasks to the current members of the staff and if necessary, appoint new ones.
And assess whether each staff member will require additional training or not by making a list.

[2M7]: Based on the staff having been assigned its tasks (2M5) and/or trained to fulfill their
revised job descriptions (2M6)
Create the conditions to make them work as an efficient team.

HOW
[2M4]: With the list of roles you wish storage to have in your institution and their description
(2M2), reflect on the actions necessary for the fulfilment of each point and right away, try to
group them together according to the corresponding professional figure.
Make a list including all the tasks (with a brief description of a few lines) and update the job
descriptions accordingly. Modify them as needed, for example, if existing tasks had not been
correctly allocated to a job description. Your proposals must be done in a very realistic and
pragmatic way, considering the size of the museum, the existing staff, the resources and the
planned possible expansion.

[2M5]: Identify within the present staff those colleagues who already have the training and the
interest to perform a specific job description.
Discuss with him/her in a private interview if he/she is interested to modify his/her job description
or to change positions.
Agree with him/her the possible type of training he/she needs to ensure that he/she will be able
to perform professionally.

[2M7]: Organize sessions or workshops with all members of the team to ensure that they
1) speak the same language
2) respect each other’s work
3) know how to time their joint activities
4) have a clear idea of the project’s objectives2 and that they agree on them
5) accept a team leader
It is possible that a specialist has to be called to organize a session.

SUPPORT MATERIAL

[2M4]: - Photos: NIL

- Printed material: Various examples of job descriptions used in storage departments

- Exercises: NIL

[2M5]: - Photos: NIL

- Printed material: NIL

Card under revision 56


- Exercises: NIL

[2M7]: - Photos: NIL

- Printed material: NIL

- Exercises: NIL

1
A team is a group of individuals having various specialities and working together to reach an
objective.
2
An objective is a clear statement describing:
- what should be done
- by whom
- according to which conditions or criteria
- achieved by what date

Card under revision 57


ORGANIZE TRAINING FOR TEAM MEMBERS 2M6
INCLUDING TEAMWORK

Responsible(s): Timeframe:

ACTIONS PREVIOUSLY EXECUTED:


[2M6]: 2M4
[2M7]: 2M5, 2M6

WHY
[2M6]: As the storage management tasks have now been clearly listed and some job descriptions
have been modified accordingly, it is highly likely that at least a few staff members will need some
form of training in order to participate in the reorganization project implementation and later on,
in the regular activities of the storage department.
It is important to make sure the staff has adequate training before a project team can be created.
For example, here are some sectors where training could be needed:
- registration
- documentation
- photography
- inventory
- handling
- support & padding
- disinfection
- maintenance

[2M7]: In a museum where the storage contains about 10,000 objects abandoned for several
years, the reorganization can take up to 6 months for a team of 4 trained people, working full-
time. This reorganization will create important disturbances within the institution. It can raise
important problems, as probably during the inventory, some objects will be found missing
(stolen?).
Only a team1 fully dedicated, fully trained and fully supported by the administration can face this
challenge.

OBJECTIVE
[2M6]:Based on your assessment of the staff’s need for training to accomplish the tasks they have
been assigned (2M6),
Train the staff

[2M7]: Based on the staff having been assigned its tasks (2M5) and/or trained to fulfill their
revised job descriptions (2M6)
Create the conditions to make them work as an efficient team.

Card under revision 58


HOW
[2M6]:According to the possibility and the field of training
- you can use already existing books
- register at an existing course or workshop
- organize a training session for your staff, inviting staff from local museums
- organize an internship within a friendly institution
ICCROM is a good place for advice.

[2M7]: Organize sessions or workshops with all members of the team to ensure that they
6) speak the same language
7) respect each other’s work
8) know how to time their joint activities
9) have a clear idea of the project’s objectives2 and that they agree on them
10) accept a team leader
It is possible that a specialist has to be called to organize a session.

SUPPORT MATERIAL

[2M6]:- Photos: 5

- Printed material: see ICCROM library (http://library.iccrom.org)

- Exercises: NIL

[2M7]: - Photos: NIL

- Printed material: NIL

- Exercises: NIL

1
A team is a group of individuals having various specialities and working together to reach an
objective.
2
An objective is a clear statement describing:
- what should be done
- by whom
- according to which conditions or criteria
- achieved by what date

Card under revision 59


CLARIFY NEEDS FOR 2M10
EXTERNAL HUMAN RESOURCES

Responsible(s): Timeframe:

ACTIONS PREVIOUSLY EXECUTED:

WHY

OBJECTIVE

HOW

SUPPORT MATERIAL

Card under revision 60


REVISE/WRITE PROCEDURES FOR STORAGE 2M8
MANAGEMENT

Responsible(s): Timeframe:

ACTIONS PREVIOUSLY EXECUTED:


[2M8]: None
[2M9]: 2M2, 2M7

WHY
[2M8]: A lack of administrative documents and procedures known by everyone is often the cause
of tension between the staff, of tasks not being executed, and of the erroneous execution of
orders. In case of storage, the result will be a bad management of the collection, followed by
deterioration of the objects and in the long run, neglect and abandonment of the collection.
The production of documents, their diffusion and their updating will reduce those risks.
These documents should cover all activities carried out by all the staff that will be in contact with
the collections in storage. They should cover, at least:
- Handling
- Registration
- Inventory
- Photography
- Loans
- Maintenance

[2M9]: The collection is the core of the activities of a museum. For the public, the evidence lies in
the exhibition rooms; for the researcher, it lies in the storage, where he will be able to have a
direct contact with the object (see, handle, touch, etc.).
This direct contact puts the objects at risk. For this reason, procedures for the consultation of
collections in storage is a way of reducing in a noticeable manner the risk of damaging the object
in consultation.

OBJECTIVE
[2M8]: Given the present procedures (if any) the creation of the project team (2M7) and the
results of the identification of the necessary tasks for storage management, including the revision
of job descriptions (2M4),
Revise, adapt or create the procedures for storage management
Which will ensure proper management of the collections in storage.

[2M9]: Given the creation of the project team (2M7), the determination of the role of storage
within the cultural project and mission statement of the institution (2M2), the information you

Card under revision 61


gathered on the museum’s mission statement (1M1) and rules and procedures (1M3),
and the subsequent management evaluation (1M6),
Revise, adapt or create the procedures for storage consultation.

HOW
[2M8]: In teams, read the present procedures, analyze them to see if they answer the storage’s
mission. Complete them if necessary, taking into account the museum’s present situation. If
necessary, get inspiration from storage procedures proposed by other museums.

[2M9]: In a team, list the types of objects that are most often requested for consultation.
Analyze the possible risks (breakage, lost parts, stolen parts, etc.).
Write procedures that include:
- who is admitted
- objects authorized for consultation
conditions for consultation

SUPPORT MATERIAL

[2M8]: - Photos: NIL

- Printed material: Storage procedures from other museums

- Exercises: NIL
[2M9]: - Photos: NIL

- Printed material: Consultation procedures from other museums.

- Exercises: NIL

Card under revision 62


ESTIMATE THE BUDGET AND TIMEFRAME 2M11
FOR IMPLEMENTATION

Responsible(s): Timeframe:

ACTIONS PREVIOUSLY EXECUTED: 2M10, 2F2, 2C8, 2F7

WHY

OBJECTIVE

HOW

SUPPORT MATERIAL

Card under revision 63


DETERMINE SPATIAL NEEDS 2B1
(PERMANENT AND TEMPORARY) FOR THE VARIOUS
SECTORS OF THE STORAGE DEPARTMENT

Responsible(s): Timeframe:

ACTIONS PREVIOUSLY EXECUTED: 2C1, 2M2

WHY
Well-defined areas must be assigned to allow the storage department to carry out each of its
functions efficiently. Ideally, in a museum with over 50,000 objects, the storage department could
include eleven different areas:
1. area for active collections storage,
2. area for the inactive collection
3. area for documentation
4. area for photographic documentation
5. area for disinfestation
6. area for quarantine
7. area for loading/unloading
8. area for consultation
9. area for non-collection objects
10. area for non-collection materials (materials for packing and transportation, cases)
11. offices

In a small museum, however, these areas are likely to be fewer, three being the minimum:
1. area for collections storage
2. an office
3. area to store packing materials, cases, transportation
Determining the needs for space based on the department’s functions is important because it will
provide you with a clear objective when you will later analyze the floor plan and allocate the
space.

OBJECTIVE
Knowing how the complete contents of the present collections storage room will be dispatched
(2C1),
Determine if the storage department requires other areas for a proficient functionality and list
them
By completing the lower portion of document 2C1. This proposal must be done in a very realistic
and pragmatic way (considering the size of the museum). The list must include an estimate of the
surface area required by each area.

Card under revision 64


HOW
Use the gathered information listed above to think about what spaces would be required. It can be
helpful to make a diagram such as in the examples provided to help you map out the interrelation
of the storage department sectors according to their function. Consult with the group working on
2C1 and 2C3 to see if immediate space will be required for non-collection materials or objects, the
inactive collection and for objects with active deterioration.

Keep in mind a very frequent situation when the collections storage room has been used for a long
as a general deposit for all types of objects including the museum collection. In this case, it may be
possible to divide the same space in two or three, one being specifically attributed for the
museum collection (for which we will concentrate the maximum care: security, fire protection,
safety, cleaning and maintenance)

SUPPORT MATERIAL

- Photos: NIL

- Printed material: examples: rework Gen2 Info Sheet 4.1+ CCI-ICCROM course2003

- Exercises: NIL

Card under revision 65


REALLOCATE SPACE TO THE VARIOUS SECTORS 2B3
OF THE STORAGE AREA

Responsible(s): Timeframe:

ACTIONS PREVIOUSLY EXECUTED: 1B2, 2B1

WHY
When museums open, the various departments are usually clearly separated. Due to the
sometimes haphazard way in which certain departments develop (and the personality of their
curators), some of them evolve at the expense of others, leading to intricate situations, internal
conflicts, inadequate working conditions and sometimes, an increase in risks of damage to the
collections.
A redistribution of the space attributed to the various sectors of the storage department is
important because it will allow you to increase the efficiency of the department, it will help to
determine if extra space will be needed for the department’s functions (2B4) and to estimate if
you will have enough room for the old and new storage units (2B5).

OBJECTIVE
Taking into account the present spatial distribution of the storage department as visualized on a
map (1B2), resulting from a more or less incoherent spatial development of the various
departments of the institution in the past, and based on your determination of spatial needs
(2B1),
Design a new spatial distribution of the storage department
And reproduce it on a floor plan, allowing a clear visual separation of each department, without
modifying the floor space ratio between each of them and keeping renovation modifications to a
minimum.

HOW
Use a plan of the building such as the one used for 1B2, and with a transparency placed over it and
washable felt-tip markers, shuffle the spaces around and experiment moving the dividing walls,
hallways and doors. This can also easily be done on a computer.
It will be essential to test your proposal by imagining that you have to accomplish tasks within the
department and describing exactly what you need to do, in order to refine your plan to minimize
obstacles and risks.

SUPPORT MATERIAL

- Photos : nil

- Printed material: nil

66
- Exercises: “Study of the functionality of a department which includes a collections
storage – case 1”
“Study of the functionality of a department which includes a collections
storage – case 2”

67
DETERMINE THE SECTOR’S NEEDS FOR EXTRA SPACE 2B4
(EXCLUDING THE COLLECTION STORAGE)

Responsible(s): Timeframe:

ACTIONS PREVIOUSLY EXECUTED: 2B1, 2B3, 2M3

WHY
Determining each sector’s needs for extra space is essential because it will provide you with a
clear idea of how much new space (if any) will be required and for what purpose. This information
will be useful when you need to find new space (2B8).

OBJECTIVE
Based on your proposition for the redistribution of internal space between the sectors (2B3), on
your identification of the spatial needs of the storage department according to function (2B1), and
on the estimated collections growth rate (2M3),
Determine if the sectors of the storage department will need extra space
By making a list with columns that indicate:
- the different sectors,
- the space they currently have,
- if it is sufficient (y/n),
- the space they currently need,
- if the space will be sufficient for each sector five years from now (y/n)

HOW
Use the gathered information listed above to analyze whether the current space is (and will be)
sufficient for the storage department’s functions and fill out the list.

SUPPORT MATERIAL

- Photos: NIL

- Printed material: NIL

- Exercises: NIL

68
ESTIMATE IF OLD AND NEW UNITS CAN BE HOUSED 2B5
IN THE COLLECTION STORAGE

Responsible(s): Timeframe:

ACTIONS PREVIOUSLY EXECUTED: 2B3, 2F1, 2F7

WHY
Estimating if space is sufficient to house the storage units is essential because this will tell you
immediately if provisions need to be made to find new collections storage space.

OBJECTIVE
Based on your redistribution of space (2B3), on your evaluation of the existing storage units (2F1),
on the needs you have established for new units (2F7), and keeping in mind your chosen
collections sorting system (2C2) and the conservation needs for your collections (2C6), which
might both determine where certain types of units for certain types of objects need to be placed
in the building,
Estimate if old and new units can be housed in the collection storage
By comparing the required floor space area with the one available in the collections storage
rooms.
- If space is sufficient, present a proposition for the layout of the units on floor plans of the
collections storage (1B4);
- if space is insufficient, you will need to find new space (2B8).

HOW
Use the gathered information listed above to analyze the spatial availability and spatial needs. You
can do it mathematically or by cutting out pieces of cardboard representing the floor space
occupied by the units (to scale) and moving them around on the floor plans to test your layout.
Keep in mind the need for sufficient circulation space between the units and the need for space to
open some of them (sliding racks, cabinets, drawer cabinets) or retrieve some of them with
machinery (pallets).

SUPPORT MATERIAL

- Photos : NIL

- Printed material: NIL

- Exercises: NIL

69
IS THE STORAGE FULL TODAY? 2B6

Responsible(s): Timeframe:

ACTIONS PREVIOUSLY EXECUTED: 2B5

WHY
Determining if the collections storage is presently full will indicate immediately in which of the
rooms you have extra space and their level of fullness.
It is important to determine how full the collections storage rooms are today because these
figures will be essential for the determination of their future fullness based on the collection’s
growth rate (2B7).

OBJECTIVE
Based on your estimation of whether the current space is sufficient to house the old and new units
(2B5),
Determine the fullness of the collections storage rooms
And present your results in the form of pie charts (1 per room).

HOW
For each collections storage room, divide the total surface area that will be used by objects,
according to your proposed layout (2B5), by the total surface area of potentially usable space.
Total surface area used by objects: for example, for a shelving unit with 6 shelves, you will need to
multiply its surface area by the number of shelves on which objects will be placed. If one shelf will
be left empty you only multiply the surface area by 5.
Total surface area of potentially usable space: for example, if a shelving unit is only 6 shelves high,
but there is unused space from the top shelf to the ceiling, you will include this as usable space
and approximate the number of shelves that could be placed there and count those in your total
surface area calculations.

SUPPORT MATERIAL

- Photos: NIL

- Printed material: NIL

- Exercises: NIL

70
WILL THE STORAGE BE FULL 5 YEARS FROM NOW? 2B7

Responsible(s): Timeframe:

ACTIONS PREVIOUSLY EXECUTED: 2M3

WHY
It is important to determine how full the collections storage rooms will be 5 years from now
because the storage reorganization project, in agreement with the principles of preventive
conservation, is meant to consider the future well-being of the collections and not merely their
immediate needs.

OBJECTIVE
Based on your determination of the fullness of each collections storage room and on the
collections growth rate (2M3),
Estimate whether the collections storage rooms will be full in 5 years time
And present your results in the form of pie charts (1 per room).

HOW
Other than showing the projected overall increase in the total objects of the collection, the growth
rate should indicate which areas of the collection are likely to grow. Based on these results, you
will have to imagine that these objects have the same conservation, support and padding and
sorting requirements as others of their kind. Hence, they will have to be ‘placed’ in the storage
units according to these needs. Once they have been ‘placed’ you will need to re-calculate the
“total surface area used by objects,” as in 2B6 and divide this new figure by the total surface area
of potentially usable space (for each room).

SUPPORT MATERIAL

- Photos: NIL

- Printed material: NIL

- Exercises: NIL

71
FIND NEW SPACE 2B8

Responsible(s): Timeframe:

ACTIONS PREVIOUSLY EXECUTED: 2B3, 2B4, 2B5

WHY
If you have evaluated that the current space is not sufficient for the needs of the entire storage
department, you will have to find new space in order to begin planning the upgrade of the building
and space.

OBJECTIVE
Based on your estimation that extra space is needed for the collections storage (2B5) and for the
rest of the sectors of the storage department (2B4),
Find new space.
- If free space is available within the building, assign it to the storage department sectors in
need or to the collections storage by indicating it on a plan of the building (2B3).
- If no free space is available elsewhere in the building, you will have to search for space at
an off-site location or make a list of your specific needs for the construction of new space
to be used in planning the building upgrade (2B9).

HOW
Use the two evaluations listed above (2B4, 2B5) and the plan of the building including the spatial
redistribution (2B3) to evaluate whether or not useable space already exists in the building.

SUPPORT MATERIAL

- Photos: NIL

- Printed material: NIL

- Exercises: NIL

72
PLAN THE BUILDING & SPACE UPGRADE OF THE 2B9
STORAGE DEPARTMENT AND MUSEUM BUILDING
(BUILDING AND SPACE)

Responsible(s): Timeframe:

ACTIONS PREVIOUSLY EXECUTED: 2B3, 2B8, 2C6

WHY
Before passing to the implementation phase, a plan of the proposed building and space upgrades
will have to be included in the reorganization project.
This is important because ….?....

OBJECTIVE
Based on your proposal to redistribute the internal space of the storage department’s sectors
(2B3), your current and/or future need for space in the collections storage and the rest of the
storage department (2B8), your report on the conservation needs for objects in stable condition,
in particular in terms of climate and security (2C6), and your evaluation of the risks to the
collections (1B8),
Plan the building and space upgrade of the storage department (and of the building in general)
???

HOW
Use the gathered information listed above to…..???....

SUPPORT MATERIAL

- Photos: NIL

- Printed material: NIL

- Exercises: NIL

Card under revision 73


PLAN THE REMOVAL AND REHOUSING 2C1
OF NON-COLLECTION

Responsible(s): Timeframe:

ACTIONS PREVIOUSLY EXECUTED: 1C2, 1C8, 1B7, 2B1, 2B2, 2C4

WHY
As stated in (2B1), the collections storage should only contain the museum collection, and if space
is really limited, only the active collection. With time, clutter is likely to have accumulated in the
collections storage and it will prevent further steps in the reorganization process from being
executed. This is because in some cases, it will block access to the collection and it is therefore
important to remove it from the collections storage. It is necessary to plan the removal and
rehousing of non-collection materials, non-collection objects and the inactive collection before
anything else can be accomplished. This process will require time, resources and space.

OBJECTIVE
Based on the evaluation you included in the condition report indicating possible non non-
collection materials, non-collection objects and inactive collection which prevent the execution of
the reorganization project (1C8) and on ,
Plan the removal and rehousing, which will follow this order of priority:
1. the non-collection materials
2. the non-collection objects
3. the inactive collection (or compact it)
By completing the bottom portion of the document from 1C2 (first rough estimate of required
space), assign space and estimate the time and human resources required to execute the removal
and rehousing.

HOW
Use the itemized lists (1C2) and floor plans (1B7) you have prepared in order to accomplish this
step. The more the collections storage is asphyxiated by non-collection materials or non-collection
objects, the more you will need an immediate removal (with possible discarding or rehousing).

SUPPORT MATERIAL

- Photos : 21

- Printed material: Bottom half of form used in 1C2

- Exercises: NIL

Card under revision 74


INTERNAL MOVE OF COLLECTIONS 2F5
TO MAXIMIZE THEIR ACCESS

Responsible(s): Timeframe:

ACTIONS PREVIOUSLY EXECUTED: 2F1, 2C6

WHY
For various reasons, small objects are often placed on shelves spaced too widely apart, resulting in
a great loss of usable volume. This usually happens when the storage units have fixed shelves and
space runs out elsewhere. Also, objects may have been crammed into the units, resulting in
them being accessed or seen only with great difficulty.
The purpose of the internal move of collections is to resolve situations in which the shelf space is
being used inefficiently and recuperate large volumes that can be used for larger objects. It is also
to redistribute the objects in the units to allow for correct access and visibility.
After the internal move of the objects, you will get a better sense of the buffer space that is
required around each object; you may thus have to update the multiplying factors you may have
come up with previously (1C6, 1C9). With this new information you will be able to produce a more
realistic estimation of the fullness of the remaining storage units, and hence, a more accurate
estimation of the needs for new units (2F7).

OBJECTIVE
Based on your identification of storage units to discard, keep or modify (2F1), on your evaluation
of the conservation needs of objects in terms of support (2C6) and on your chosen collections
sorting system (2C2),
Redistribute the objects in the storage units to maximize their use and to eliminate
overcrowding.
Once each object has found its place, it will be visible and be physically retrievable by moving a
maximum of 3 other objects.

HOW

???

SUPPORT MATERIAL

- Photos: 27

- Printed material: NIL

- Exercises: NIL

Card under revision 75


FINALIZE CLASSIFICATION OF THE COLLECTION 2C2

Responsible(s): Timeframe:

ACTIONS PREVIOUSLY EXECUTED: 2C1

WHY
There are four main systems for sorting objects in a collections storage:
- functional – type of object
- thematic (chronological, cultural or geographic origin, etc.);
- dimension, weight;
- constituent materials.
It is important to define how you intend to have the collections sorted after the reorganization
because this will influence your needs for space (new storage units, new floor space), for security,
climate control, maintenance and the transmission of the global significance of the collection.
Internal legislation of the country may also influence how you will sort the collection, for instance,
if each curator is assigned a section of the storage area for which he/she is legally responsible.

OBJECTIVE
Based on the results exposed in the condition report, more specifically, on the qualitative and
quantitative distribution of the collections (1C5), the floor plans you prepared which should give
you an idea of how the collections are presently grouped (1B7), together with the information you
gathered on the mission statement of the museum (1M1), on present use of collections (1M5) and
finally, on the relevant sections of your management evaluation (1M6),
Determine if the current collections sorting system is to be maintained, or, if it needs to be
modified, propose a new one.
By writing a short report that explains the system you have chosen, your motivations, how you
foresee this will influence spatial and climate needs, and a tentative timeframe and list of
resources needed to physically sort the objects. This proposal must be made in agreement with all
curators involved.

HOW
Read the printed material, discuss with your colleagues, examine the different options by making a
list of advantages and disadvantages of each possible system, referring specifically to your
situation, in order to facilitate the decision-making process. You could also add a column for the
implications each one has in terms of space and one more for climate. This list could be added to
your short report to help support your decision. Remember that it may be possible to use a mixed
system: part of the collection sorted by material and another, by period.

Card under revision 76


SUPPORT MATERIAL

- Photos : NIL
- Printed material: Comparative advantages: maximum significance, maximum
conservation, minimum space used.-according to the 4 categories
-Exercises: NIL

Card under revision 77


REMOVE AND REHOUSE ALL OTHER MATERIALS 2C4
IMMEDIATELY (IF THIS PREVENTS THE EXECUTION OF
THE NEXT STEPS)

Responsible(s): Timeframe:

ACTIONS PREVIOUSLY EXECUTED: 2C1

WHY
If the presence of non-collection materials, non-collection objects or the inactive collection
prevents the access to the active collection, they must be immediately removed and eventually
relocated to proceed with the execution of the following steps in the reorganization.

OBJECTIVE
Based on your identification of non-collection materials or objects and the inactive collection
(1B7), on your assessment that these are likely to hinder the completion of the reorganization
project (1C8), on your identification of space where they can be moved, and on your tentative
work schedule (2C1),
Execute the removal and rehousing of all non-collection materials or objects and/or of the
inactive collection.

HOW
The work schedule you prepared (2C1) should guide you through the steps of removal and
rehousing.

- If this space can be found readily, for instance by separating the collection storage room in two
and this is a viable option, this can be executed by the team in charge of collections.
- If space must be found elsewhere in the building or outside the building, it will require
agreements with the person presently in charge of the space.
For an inactive collection, a simple and economical solution can be to buy a metallic container.

SUPPORT MATERIAL

- Photos: NIL

- Printed material: NIL

- Exercises: NIL

78
DETERMINE PREVENTIVE CONSERVATION 2C6
REQUIREMENTS FOR GROUP OF OBJECTS

Responsible(s): Timeframe:

ACTIONS PREVIOUSLY EXECUTED: 2C2, 2C3

WHY
The main conservation needs of the objects in stable condition must be determined. The order of
their importance depends on the portion of the collection which will be affected:

- Security and safety


All these will influence decisions you make about
- Floods (from internal or external sources) the eventual need for building upgrades or the
- Integrated pest management purchase of small equipment
- Climate control

This will influence your estimation of the volume of collections (2C7) and
- Support consequently, your eventual need for new storage units (2F7) or space (2B5). It will
also influence your need to design or identify storage boxes, containers and organizers
(2F6).

OBJECTIVE
Using your lists of the risks to the collection (1B8, 1C10, 1F6) and your evaluation of the quality of
support and padding (1C6) – both found in the condition report –, and referring to the short report
in which you define how you will sort the collections (2C2) and to the charts you prepared on the
qualitative and quantitative distribution of collections (1C5),
Fill the chart and propose improvements to the existing situation in terms of security & safety,
climate and support (and others if recognized).
It is very important that your proposal take into account the economic reality of the area to assure
sustainability and the real conservation needs of the objects based on the present situation. If you
feel that your collection has other justifiable conservation needs, you should include these as well.

HOW
Use the data you gathered data indicated above and the risk evaluation method developed by CCI-
ICCROM.

SUPPORT MATERIAL

- Photos: NIL

- Printed material: CCI-ICCROM risk assessment method; evaluation chart.

- Exercises: NIL

79
ESTIMATE VOLUME OF COLLECTIONS 2C7
WITH THEIR PADDING AND SUPPORT

Responsible(s): Timeframe:

WHY
It is important to estimate the volume of the collection as precisely as possible in order to
compare this figure against the current volume available within the present storage units. Only by
doing so will it be possible to determine accurately the possible need for new units and new space
in the collections storage area (taking into account other factors like the desired collections sorting
system, their conservation needs, etc.).

OBJECTIVE
Based on your determination of the qualitative and quantitative distribution of the collection
(1C5), on the information you gathered on support and padding (1C6), the related evaluation (1C9)
included in the condition report, and the inventory if it has been done,
Estimate the volume of the collection in the collections storage area
Using the tool provided and presenting your results in a column chart.

HOW
Follow the instructions for the tool and use the gathered information listed above.

SUPPORT MATERIAL

- Photos: NIL

- Printed material: the tool developed by the task force on the volume of collections.
Article by Sue Walston – Be sure to include the padding and support in the volume
calculations.

- Exercises: Exercise to practice doing this… with the tool that was developed

Card under revision 80


PREPARE THE INVENTORY 2C8

Responsible(s): Timeframe:

ACTIONS PREVIOUSLY EXECUTED:

WHY

OBJECTIVE

HOW

SUPPORT MATERIAL

- Photos :

- Printed material:

- Exercises:

Card under revision 81


EVALUATE EXISTING FURNITURE, CONTAINERS, 2F1
SUPPORT, PADDING, AND SMALL EQUIPMENT:
KEEP/ MODIFY/ DISCARD

Responsible(s): Timeframe:

ACTIONS PREVIOUSLY EXECUTED: 1F2, 1F3

WHY
Sometimes storage units can be deemed unusable for a series of reasons:
- they are made of improper materials,
- they are not sufficiently adaptable to the objects you have, or are too bulky
- they are eaten by worms or corroded.
Other times, simple modifications or upgrades can be made to these units to make re-usable:
- adding intermediary shelves to a fixed shelving unit
- adding a protective coating on the units
- adding a horizontal safety band or fixing the units to the wall or floor in a seismic area
- replacing worn out or corroded parts, etc.
Other times still, the units are completely reusable without any intervention on your part.
It is important WHY??? to identify:
- the units which will be kept (with or without modification)
- the surface area they will occupy on the ground
- the surface area they offer for the collections.

OBJECTIVE
Based on the information you gathered on the storage units and their floor occupation (1F2), on
your evaluation of whether or not they are sufficient and adapted for the collection (1F3), on the
qualitative and quantitative distribution (1C5), and on the sorting system you have decided on
(2C2),
Evaluate the existing storage units
Complete the grid describing the units (1F2) by coloring in the cells with color codes corresponding
to the action to be taken:
- kept as is (GREEN)
- kept and modified (YELLOW)
- discarded (RED)
Indicate the surface area they will occupy on the ground and the surface area they offer for the
collections if this has not already been done.

HOW
Walk around in the collections storage, observe each unit and fill out the grid using direct
observation and the gathered information listed above.

82
SUPPORT MATERIAL

- Photos: 27
- Printed material: NIL
- Exercises: NIL

83
EVALUATE NEEDS FOR SMALL EQUIPMENT 2F2

Responsible(s): Timeframe:

ACTIONS PREVIOUSLY EXECUTED: 1F2, 1F5

WHY
Having proper small equipment that is well adapted to the situation in the collections storage is
necessary to have access to your collection without putting it needlessly at risk, to be able to
intervene quickly in the unfortunate event of a disaster, and to monitor its conservation
environment.
It is important to evaluate the needs for small equipment because this will have to factor into your
budget for the reorganization, included in the reorganization project.

OBJECTIVE
Based on the information you gathered on small equipment (1F2), on the evaluation of whether or
not it was proper and sufficient (1F5), on your evaluation of the risks to the collection (1B8), and
on your determination of the conservation needs of the objects (2C6),
Evaluate the needs for small equipment
By filling out an evaluation grid in which, for each small equipment you listed in (1F2), you indicate
if it should be kept/discarded and why (one-sentence comments). Below, you will then list what
small equipment will be needed and why (one-sentence comment).

HOW
With the gathered information listed above, fill out your evaluation.

SUPPORT MATERIAL

- Photos: 23

- Printed material: NIL

- Exercises: NIL

84
DESIGN/IDENTIFY SPECIFIC STORAGE BOXES, 2F6
CONTAINERS, ORGANIZERS

Responsible(s): Timeframe:

ACTIONS PREVIOUSLY EXECUTED: 2C6

WHY
When containers, boxes or organizers appropriate for the collection can be identified and found
already made, the workload for the reorganization staff will be lighter and time will be saved. In
other cases, this is not possible and resources will have to be deployed for their creation.
It is important to design or identify boxes, containers and organizers at this point, because once
the objects will have been placed inside them on the storage units, the value of the buffer space
around the objects will change, much like in the case of support and padding. Accordingly, the
physical characteristics of these boxes, containers and organizers will likely influence your
calculations of the surface area available and required in the storage units (2F7).

OBJECTIVE
Taking into account the conservation needs for the objects in stable condition (2C6),
Design or identify storage boxes, containers and organizers
Which are cost-effective, make use of local materials if possible, guarantee the objects’ protection
from deteriorating agents, make efficient use of space and are all standardized within each object
category. Make a list of what can be found readymade (with size and materials specifications,
price and contact details) and another list of what will have to be made (with drawings and
diagrams including size and materials specifications).

HOW
Use the didactic web-based photo archive (especially the section on ‘custom-built containers’ and
on ‘custom-built units’) to get ideas on how to create simple containers which make intelligent use
of limited materials.

SUPPORT MATERIAL

- Photos: 171

- Printed material: NIL

- Exercises: NIL

85
ESTABLISH NEEDS FOR NEW UNITS 2F7

Responsible(s): Timeframe:

ACTIONS PREVIOUSLY EXECUTED: 2F6, 2C7

WHY
Establishing your need for new storage units is an important step to do at this point because later
on, you will need to compare the floor space taken up by these new units (which you will
determine here) with the total floor space you have at your disposition (2B5) to see if everything
you intend to add in will have sufficient room. A list of the units required (see below) will then
have to be included in the reorganization project.

OBJECTIVE
Based on your selection or design of storage containers (2F6) – If it was necessary –, on the
estimated volume of collections (2C7), on your observations after the internal move of collections
(2F5), on the estimated growth rate of collections (2M3), and using your estimation of the fullness
of the storage units (1F4) and your evaluation of whether the maximum floor space is reached
(1B6),
Establish your needs for new storage units
By making a column chart that shows
- the total surface area (and volume?) you have in the current units;
- the total surface area (and volume?) required by the collections;
- the total surface area (and volume?) that is currently occupied;
- the extra surface area (and volume?) you need;
- and how this translates in terms of units (by making a list of the units required indicating
the type, number, surface area they occupy on the ground, total surface area they provide
for objects, and volume (???)).

HOW
Use the gathered information listed above to fill out your chart and draw up your storage unit list.

SUPPORT MATERIAL

- Photos: 84

- Printed material: could modify “report on the occupation of floor space by storage units”
(1B6) to make it applicable to this ‘report’

- Exercises: NIL

Card under revision 86


WRITING STORAGE REORGANIZATION PROJECT 2

Responsible(s): Timeframe:
Project/Museum Manager

ACTIONS PREVIOUSLY EXECUTED: Condition Survey, 2M, 2B, 2C, 2F

WHY AND WHAT IS A STORAGE REORGANIZATION PROJECT?

The Storage Reorganization Project is the action plan for the physical reorganization of the
storage. Each action should have a well-defined timeframe and carefully identified resources. The
success of the outcome depends on the clarity of the objectives outlined in the project. When it is
implemented in phase 3, the project will produce a significant change of the current storage
conditions which, allowing a sustainable preservation and use of museum objects. The actions
must be well described by explaining how the goals will be achieved: why, what, by whom, and
when.

The Storage Reorganization Project should be should lead to changes that will help the museum
better fulfill its mission and collections management policy. The impact of the project on the
development and service of the society will depend on the implication of all stakeholders from the
political authorities, museum professionals, volunteers, technical and financial partners, etc.

OBJECTIVE
Based on the various needs of each sector identified during phase 2 (2M, 2B, 2C, 2F) and the
information from the Condition Survey,
Design a storage reorganization project

FINAL PRODUCT
A Project Document (approx. 10 pages, excluding appendices):
1. An executive summary (max. 1 page)
2. A table of contents
3. An introduction (max. 1 page): describing the general context, the background and the
Justification (why) of the project + people involved and methodology
4. Goals and specific objectives: This should be defined from a list of the needs (BASED on
phase 2 and BASED on the key problems identified in the condition report)
5. Action steps and who is responsible Activities: chart describing the action, the result to
be produced and the responsible
6. Outcomes or Expected Results: the impact of the reorganization of storage on the
collection management and in general, on the museum development.
7. Resources including
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- Government and Partners support: Human and financial resources - Estimated budget
- Detailed timeframe

8. Performance indicators/benchmarks: which will allow measuring the project outcomes


9. Project Risks: all potential barriers or threats to the implementation of the project,
accompanied by solution proposals
10. Provision for monitoring and evaluation of the Project Implementation
11. Appendices: relevant information (For example: Project Organizational Structure)

HOW
The writing of the action plan will take you through these major steps:
By using the condition survey and the estimated needs established in phase 2:

1. Define the goals and specific objectives of the Project


These objectives should be:
- specific
- measurable
- achievable
- realistic
- time-bound

2. Determine the main actions steps to carry out and who is responsible for it
Break each action down into smaller actions
To do this, you may want to use a “work breakdown structure” allowing you to separate
large actions into smaller, more manageable ones. These can then be further subdivided
into even smaller actions (see support materials)
3. Assign an execution time to each action by establish a planning (See Gant Chart Sample)
4. Establish a budget by determining the cost for each action
5. Define indicators or benchmarks that will enable you to measure the success of the
reorganization (guidelines should be developed later).

SUPPORT MATERIAL
- Photos :

- Examples:

- Worksheets and forms:

- Didactic materials: Guidelines on designing projects, Gant diagram

- Starting equipment:

88
HOW TO IMPLEMENT 3
A STORAGE REORGANIZATION PROJECT

Responsible(s): Timeframe:

WHAT IS IMPLEMENTATION?
The implementation of the Storage Reorganization Project is subjected to the same standards than
any project whatever the field. Implementing a project is managing time (deadlines) and resources
(more specifically a budget). It is about carrying out the practical steps which figure in the
reorganization project (Phase 2) and making sure the team has all the resources it needs to do so.
It is also about making sure everything is going ahead on track in terms of budget and time.
Everything you do during the implementation stems from the aims and objectives you defined in
the reorganization project.

OBJECTIVE
Based on the reorganization project
Implement the action plan
That fulfills the aims of the reorganization and whose success is measurable over time. It should be
sustainable.

HOW
Implementing the reorganization project will take you through these major steps:

HOW TO SUCCEED?
Implementing efficiently a Project implies to determine clear performance indicators to be
followed up and analyzed in order to suggest possible corrective actions or changes on the
activities initially planned. Remember that if correct measures are not taken, it is highly likely that
over time, the storage will begin to revert to its previous disorganized state.

During the period of project preparation, the partners should meet to agree on the division of the tasks,
responsibilities and funding. The time invested during the preparation allows a fast starting of the project
and a more efficient implementation phase.

HOW TO PROCEED?

For the implementation of reorganization project to be a success, you should think about:

1. Define the Project Coordinator’s Role

All projects must follow the so-called ‘Coordination Principle’ for the operational management
of the project. This principle implies that full administrative and financial responsibility for the

89
management of the project remains with the Coordinator, who undertakes all obligations toward
the programme, also on behalf of all involved partners. The Coordinator is thus solely responsible
to the Managing Authority for the implementation of the terms of the Subsidy Contract.

Some of the assignments of his job description are:


- The Coordinator is responsible for communication and the division of the tasks
between the Project Team and must ensure that these tasks are correctly fulfilled in
compliance with the Partnership Agreement and with the Subsidy Contract;
- The Coordinator ensures an efficient internal management and control or monitoring
system;
- The Coordinator is responsible of the content of the reports. It ensures that the
the reports are transmitted timely and correctly to the Partners.

Building a team work is the key for a successful project implementation. But sometimes, during
the implementation process, there will be some resistance.

What to do if there is Resistance?


Although you are likely to have the support of decision-makers at this point, it is possible that you
run into some forms of resistance, from the museum staff (or maybe even the decision-makers
themselves). If you think about it, you are reorganizing a situation that has probably deteriorated
overtime because of a series of reasons (lack of interest, lack of resistance, lack of equipment,
unclear job descriptions, ec.). For a successful reorganization, the attitude and behavior of the
staff will probably have be modified at least a little. If you think you will encounter resistance, you
should try to adopt a preventive approach:
- Identify the likely resistance sources
- Explain the why of what your team is trying to everyone concerned
- Emphasize the benefits (how a negative situation will become a positive one)
- Try to include potential resisters actively in the implementation

2. Changes in the implementation of the project


Some of the implementation principles to be observed are:

- According to the Subsidy Contract, the Coordinator is obliged to request approval from the

Managing Authority if there are changes on the staff, the activities, the duration or the
budget of the project;

- Any major changes related to the team (e.g. drop out or replacement of team members),
to activities (e.g. extension of duration) and to budget should as far as possible be avoided.
However, when duly justified, these changes must be approved by the Managing Authority;

- If the modifications envisaged are higher than 10% of the total eligible budget (with a
maximum of 30%), or when these modifications affect the balance between the staff and
the activities (whatever the amounts are), they must be justified and submitted to the
Managing Authority;

90
- The change enters into force only when the official notification from the Managing
Authority is sent to the Coordinator.

3. Financial management

According to the Budgetary headings, all the expenses must be accompanied by documents
justifying them (invoices or other equivalent documents) and the payments carried out. The
acquisition of goods and services must respect the procedures stipulated in the national and
Community standards as regards to tenders, attribution of contract and supply purchase, as well
as regular stipulation of the contracts/letters of attribution of market.

Budget tables of the application form are based on the following budgetary headings:

- Staff costs: It is recommended that staff costs do not exceed 40% of the total eligible
budget of the project
- Durable goods: furniture, support and padding, small equipment, security equipment
- Missions and external expertise: building repairs, building plan, fixture, training, etc.
It is recommended that the external expertise expenses do not exceed 35% of the total
eligible budget of the project
- Promotion, information and publication: For example: website design and hosting,
drafting, lay out, printing and dissemination of publicity materials, organisation of external
events, interpretation / translation
- Other services and overheads include: Telephone, fax, internet, Office supplies,
Photocopying, Mailing, Office rent, Heating, electricity, Other administrative expenditures
absolutely necessary for the implementation of the project

4. Monitoring, Evaluation and Control

Each project must set up a monitoring, evaluation and control system. This system must enable
the Management Authority and the Coordination Team of the project to evaluate the general
progress of the project. This system must give information on the following points:
- Progress noted in the achievement of the objectives of the project on the basis of output and
result indicators suggested in the Implementation Guide
- Level of effectiveness and efficiency of the project implementation: Does the project proceed in
accordance with the initial calendar presented in the application form? Is the budgetary
programming running correctly and are the allowances by budgetary heading respected? Are the
results coherent compared to the expenditures committed (ratio cost/benefit)?
- Quality of the organization, of the management and coordination: are the management and
coordination procedures efficient and are the resources devoted to these processes sufficient?

Evaluations may be of a strategic nature in order to examine the evolution of the Project in
relation to the Project priorities, as well as Community, national or of operational nature priorities
in order to support project monitoring.

91
The evaluation system examines the extent to which resources were used, the effectiveness and
efficiency of Fund programming and the socio-economic impact. It shall aim to draw conclusions
for the policy on economic and social cohesion. It shall identify the factors contributing to the
success or failure of the implementation of operational programmes and identify good practice.

Reports

One of the important aspects of the monitoring and evaluation system is the report.

Progress Report

This report will include the management report as well as the financial reporting checked and
signed by the Coordinator. It should also be accompanied by concrete outputs of the project, by
communication documents or other documents published during this period.
It could be a 3 month report for a Project of 1 year duration.
- The Activity Report includes information on the general operation’s progress, as well as a
comparison between the objectives initially envisaged and the objectives already achieved. It also
includes any part corresponding to technical realizations.
- The Financial Report contains a retrospective accounting of expenditure paid out during the
reporting period. The report will have to contain information on all the expenditures, cash as well
as in kind. Only reimbursement is authorized and only for the expenses effectively committed
during the period concerned by the report, already paid and justified by invoices or documents of
equal value of proof.

Final Report
This report must provide information on the achievements, the results and the impacts of the
project, as well as the final detailed financial information. This report has to be submitted within
two months after the end of the project.

Indicators

To be able to carry out the monitoring and the evaluation of the projects, the partners must use
indicators which give information on the way the projects are achieving the objectives and with
the general requirements of the project.

The suggested indicators must be referred to as a priority, but the partners (Management
Authority) have the possibility to add more specific realization and results indicators according to
their specific objectives and field of intervention.

The monitoring system focuses primarily on outputs and results.

Output indicators relate to activity, tangible goods and services produced (number of documents
published, number of events and meetings, number of studies realized, etc.).
Indicators must be used to specify the outputs achieved for each component and for the whole
project.

92
Result indicators relate to direct and immediate effects of the outputs on direct beneficiaries
of the project (number of conventions and agreements signed, number of strategies implemented,
number of common norms adopted, number of people having improved or diversified their
competences, etc.)

See the Indicators Guidelines provided in the Appendix

What to do if we begin to go off track?


The best way to make sure everything runs smoothly is to stop problems early on and solve them
immediately. The longer you wait, the more unmanageable they become. When you suspect
things are not going well, you could go through these steps:
- Sense the problem: You can use your benchmarks/indicators by doing periodic
evaluations, you can talk to your team, to the museum staff, etc.
- Evaluate the situation: What is the root cause of the problem?
- Think of alternatives: What could you be doing differently that might solve the root cause
- Decide
- Act

Management and Maintenance Plan

The Coordination Team should conceive a Management and Maintenance Plan to maintain, even
to improve the degree of quality achieved after the storage reorganization.

In the Management and Maintenance Plan they spell out procedures for organising teams and
staff members appropriately and effectively, to ensure the satisfactory long-term function of the
storage area. The museum must define procedures that will make the storage programme
function properly, including regular maintenance, other scheduled tasks, and rules for the use of
the storage area. Without these provisions the storage area will deteriorate rapidly and new
measures will become ineffective, perhaps within a few months. The basic aims of the storage
area will be threatened and the heritage materials will no longer be safe.

Some of the issues to be taken into account for a sustainable management of the storage are:
- Creating enabling structures after the reorganization is finished to reward your staff when
they behave the way they should.
- Deciding on milestones to motivate your team.
- Making sure that communication is ongoing and that everyone knows why they are doing.

See the sample of Maintenance Notebook (Storage Management – Generation 2 Set, Worksheet
XVII) in the appendix.

5. Communication, dissemination of information and capitalisation

Each project will have to define a Communication plan for the publicity and information activities
in order to ensure a good dissemination of its activities, towards other structures potentially
interested and the general public.

93
This Plan is set up to increase the visibility of the project towards the partners, institutions or
general public.

Different information tools can be used:


- Publicity or promotion material (Poster, leaflets, etc.)
- Website
- Conference with partners and general public
- Visit of the reorganized storage by the partners
- Other events

FINAL PRODUCTS
- A reorganized storage!
- Evaluation reports
- Implementation reports
 Progress report
 Final report
- Management and Maintenance Plan
-Publicity materials

SUPPORT MATERIAL
- Photos :

- Examples:

- Worksheets and forms:

- Didactic materials: Project Implementation Guidelines, Indicators Guidelines, Storage


Management (Generation 2)
- Starting equipment:

94
Exercises

Phase 1
GATHER INFORMATION ON STORAGE UNITS 1F1
(number, type, size, location, and state)

Floor space occupation by storage units

Present situation
The floor plan on the following page shows the collections storage rooms of a museum (A, B, C, D,
E and F). Most of the spaces are divided by metal racks, part of which are fixed and part of which
swing open like a door.

Since the collection is composed mainly of paintings, the dominating storage units are sliding racks,
although there are a couple of cabinets, and of course, the fixed racks (room divisions) onto which
paintings have also been hung. The sliding racks in room B are spaced at 30 cm, while those rooms
A and D have been spaced at 60 cm, apparently because the museum owns 3 large nineteenth-
century paintings with frames 40 cm thick.

Recently, the curator has been saying that the museum needs more storage space because all the
racks (both sliding and fixed) are currently filled to capacity with paintings and because many
objects have begun to accumulate on the floor along the walls and where free space could be
found. For example, the museum owns a collection of frames which are piled up in room C, which
was previously used as a quarantine area for disinfestations. Boxes are also piled up in room F.
UNITS
Cabinets

Racks (fixed and swinging)

Racks (sliding)

Space COLLECTIONS & NON-COLLECTIONS


xxx x x x x x x x xx x x x x x x x x between Frames

racks: Space between racks: 60 cm Boxes & other packing mat.

xx Other objects (collection)


30 cm
B x
x
x x
C
D
x x xx x xx x x x x xxxxx x x x x x x x x x xxxxx

Collections
Garage door
x A storage rooms
x E
x
x Loading area
x x
x x
x F
x x x x x x x x x

Space between racks: 60 cm Scale: 1 m


Problem
Using the grid, determine the space presently occupied by storage furniture (in this case, only
racks) and the total space. Keep in mind that the space between racks and between the last racks
and the wall count as furniture space, since it is used to access the paintings. You can disregard the
wall thickness and the space occupied by doors or grating. 1 square = 1 m2

Furniture space (A): Total space (B):

A/B x 100 = % of the space is occupied by furniture

CALCULATION TO DETERMINE HOW FULL THE STORAGE IS…?

Identify at least three different problems with the current situation which is causing space to be
used inefficiently:

Identify one positive aspect of the present furniture arrangement:

Discussion
In this particular case, sliding racks is the only type of storage furniture being used. Accordingly, in
ideal conditions, the maximum furniture/total space ratio attainable is of about 66%; that is, 2/3 of
the space could be occupied by furniture, leaving 1/3 of free space for circulation (see information
sheet ??). Below, are listed the 7 questions to determine whether or not the storage area is full:

1. Is the storage area used exclusively for the storage of objects from the collection?
2. Have all the objects been placed on shelving, racks, pallets or in a cabinet?
3. Are all storage units adapted to the collections?
4. Is at least 50% of the floor space occupied by storage units, or is it still less than 50% occupied?
5. Do the storage units extend to the ceiling?
6. Are the height settings of the shelves and of the drawers suited to the types of objects they hold?
7. Are the shelves and drawers full?

Considering our present situation, which of the previous points could be improved and how?
Your proposal
Considering all the point you raised in the previous sections, submit your proposal to modify the
storage area in order to use space more efficiently and provide room for the artworks that are on
the floor (paintings and objects). Keep in mind that each sliding rack, in order to be functional, can
occupy no more than 50% of the width of any given room. Moreover, in this case you cannot
change the function of the loading area nor demolish any of the exterior walls.

Loading area

Scale: 1 m
GATHER INFORMATION AND EVALUATE 1C1
THE BASIC DOCUMENTATION SYSTEM

Location numbering systems – case 1

Present situation
The picture below shows two walls of a collections’ storage. Against each wall, a large shelving unit
has been placed which is divided into two sections, each composed of six shelves. Hence, there is a
total of 24 shelf spaces and each one of them holds approximately 25 containers (cardboard
shoeboxes), the contents of which has been inscribed on the exterior with a felt-tip marker.
To identify the location of objects, this museum has chosen a numerical system composed of two
numbers: each of the two shelving units has been assigned a number (1 & 2) and each section,
another one: ( .1 & .2).

Problem
You wish to leave instructions to one of your colleagues
who, in your absence, will have to retrieve one of the
objects located in the box circled above. Using only the museum’s chosen location numbering
system, identify the box.

What is the main limitation of this system?


In the space provided, list three further disadvantages of this system.

Taking into account the observations you made above and the current arrangement of the storage
units, suggest an alternative numbering system that solve all of the problems you highlighted,
using a pencil and the template provided below.

According to your new system, how is the same box (x) identified?

Discussion
To locate a house within a city, mailperson requires a street name and a civic number. To locate an
office within a building, a similar system is sometimes used, such as one letter and one number. To
locate the portion of a shelf within a room, why should it be different? Numbering systems
composed of one number and one letter (eg. 3B, 7D, etc.) are the most effective to identify
locations within a collections storage.

A location numbering system for a collections storage should be simple, consistent, user-friendly,
clearly visible and allow rapid object retrieval. It should also allow for expansion and be entirely
independent from the storage units (for an exercise about these two last criteria, see “Location
numbering systems – case 2”).

There should be a clear vertical identification for shelf sections (we suggest numbers) and a clear
horizontal identification for the shelves themselves (we suggest letters). To facilitate object
retrieval, depending on their size or that of their containers, it can be useful to divide visually the
shelves in smaller sections. As a general guideline, the approximate length of a shelf section
containing small objects should be from 60 cm to 1 m. Each of these sections will then be assigned
a distinct number (eg. 1, 2, 3…). Number hierarchies (eg. 1.1.1, 1.1.2; 1.2.1, 1.2.2) should be
avoided as well as complex systems with several numbers (eg. 78.9.1.0, 78.9.2.0…) because these
will be confusing for object retrieval and can cause objects to be returned to the wrong location
after use.

Your proposal
Given the same initial situation (2 walls, 2 shelving units) and using the template provided below,
suggest a numbering system that follows the criteria of a good location numbering system and the
suggestions made in the Discussion. Each of the original shelf sections, that is, 1.1, 1.2, 2.1 and 2.2
measure 2,8 m in length. If the system you suggested earlier is already in agreement with all of
these, skip to the next exercise.

According to this new system, how is the same box (marked by x) identified?
Desired situation
Your proposal should have looked something like this:
12
11 G
10
9
8
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 F
G

F E

E
X D
D

C C

B
B
A

X = 4D*
Initially, the only possible identification for box x was “1.2” since there was no vertical
identification. This number referred to approximately 150 boxes. The new identification, “4D,”
now refers to only 8 boxes. Obviously, retrieving the box in this case will be much faster and easier.

* The reason why shelves (horizontal identification) are labelled upwards, although it does not
apply to this particular case, will be explored in “Location numbering system – case 2.”
GATHER INFORMATION AND EVALUATE 1C1
THE BASIC DOCUMENTATION SYSTEM

Location numbering systems – case 2


Present situation
The drawing below shows one of the walls of a collections storage which does not currently have a
location numbering system. Different types of storage units have been placed against the wall (1
drawer cabinet, 2 cabinets, 1 fixed rack and 1 shelving unit). Three objects have been identified on
the drawing with letters X, Y and Z.

Z
Y

Drawer Cabinet Cabinet Fixed rack Shelves


cabinet
2m

Problem
Given the current layout of the units, give a location number for objects X, Y and Z.

X: Y: Z:

Imagine that in five years’ time, the museum’s collection has grown and that further units were
added against the wall to accommodate these objects. Given this new layout, identify the location
of objects W, X, Y and Z (X is a long object). You must use the same system as before, although you
can expand it by adding new numbers/letters.

W XXXXX

Pallet
2m
Identify the location of objects W, X, Y and Z:

W: X: Y: Z:

List below four problems with your location numbering system.

Discussion
As mentioned before (see “Location numbering systems – case 1”), a location numbering system
for a collections storage should be simple, consistent, user-friendly, clearly visible and allow rapid
object retrieval. Moreover, as can be observed here, it should also allow for expansion and be
entirely independent from the storage units.

Until the units have reached the ceiling, objects or new units could be added on top of the existing
ones. Presumably, the expansion of the storage units will happen upwards and not downwards, so
choosing a vertical identification that can be expanded upwards is probably the best option.

You will have noticed that even though there might be a free space with no unit at the moment,
this space is likely to be occupied by a unit in the future. Consequently, it is good practice to
identify even empty locations.

As for the location numbering system being independent from the units, if the location of X had
been identified with a system including “Cabinet 1,” “C1,” etc. to refer to it being housed in a
cabinet, what would have happened if one day that cabinet had been substituted by some
shelving, or if the cabinet had been moved to another location next to, let’s say, cabinet 7 and rack
10? To eliminate any type of confusion, it is best to assign a number to the location and not based
on the unit itself, as units can sometimes be substituted and moved around.

It has been said before (see “Location numbering systems – case 1”) that the best system will be
the simplest one: one number and one letter. Yet for vertical identification, should numbers or
letters be used? And what of the horizontal identification?

Imagine a long wall with numerous units laid out side by side in the way shown below. If letters
are used for the horizontal identification, it could end up looking something like this:

A B C D E F Y Z AA BB CC DD ZZZ AAAA BBBB CCCC DDDDEEEEFFFFGGGGHHHHIIIIJJJJ HHHH IIII

… … …
When a horizontal letter system is used and there are more than 26 units (which is quite likely to
occur) letters have to be doubled, tripled or quadrupled. This means that a momentarily
inattentive staff member could mistake AAA for AAAA and misplace an object (which is like losing
it). Whereas horizontally the locations needing to be identified are likely exceed 26 as in the case
above, the vertical locations (i.e. the number of shelves) are unlikely to be so many. Hence:

- numbers are preferred for horizontal identification


- letters are preferred for vertical identification

Your proposal
Considering the points and suggestions made above in the Discussion and the initial situation,
suggest a numbering system that follows all the criteria of a good location numbering system and
the suggestions made in the Discussion.

Z
Y
2

2m

According to this new system, assign a new location number to objects X, Y and Z.

X: Y: Z:
Desired situation
Your proposal should have looked something like this:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
H

E G Z
I
Y F

H D B
E
2
G
D
C

E
F
E
X B
C

D D B
C C A
B B
A A
A A

2m

Accordingly, the location of object X would have been identified as 4F, than of object Y as 8B and
of object Z as 11G.

In the second instance (“five years later”) the location system would have been expanded in this
way:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
I Z
H

E G

I
F
H D B
E
J W G XXXXX
I D
H C
G F C
E E B
D D
C C Y A
B
B B
A A A A A

Pallet

This time, the location of object W is identified as 2J, that of object X as 3G (or 4G; makes no
difference), of object Y as 5A and of object Z as 11I.

This system has proven to satisfy all the criteria of a good location numbering system. For further
applications of this system, refer to “Location numbering systems – case 3”
GATHER INFORMATION AND EVALUATE 1C1
THE BASIC DOCUMENTATION SYSTEM

Location numbering systems – case 3


Application 1
The floor plan shown below represents a collections storage that has been furnished with various
types of storage units. Given the present layout, assign a horizontal location numbering system to
this space in accordance with all the conclusions of the exercises “Location numbering systems –
cases 1 & 2.”

drawer

cabinets
High-density

cabinet
storage

pallets

shelving units
sliding racks

1m
Desired situation
Your proposal should have looked something like this:

43 44
drawer 45

cabinets
High-density
cabinet storage
34
46

33 43 47

35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42
48
32
28 27 26 49
pallets 10 9 8 7 6 5 21
31 25 24 23
20 21 22 50
shelving units

sliding racks
30 19 18 17
14 15 16

13 12 11
29

1m

As you can see, horizontal locations have been identified with simple sequential numbers. The
locations where units could be added in the future have been included in the number sequence,
even though there is nothing there at the moment. Shelving units and cabinets have also been
subdivided into sections of approximately 75 cm, according to the scale.

Worth noting is how both sides of the sliding racks and of the high-density storage units have been
numbered. With these types of units, neither the shelves nor their content are readily visible and
so, only one number was assigned to the entire side of the unit, without subdividing it into smaller
sections. This was done because, in any case, if numbers had been assigned to each shelf section,
they would have been hidden to view.
Application 2
This drawing shows two shelving units in a collections storage that do not have a location
numbering system. Given this layout, assign a location numbering system (horizontal and vertical)
to this space which follows all the conclusions reached after “Location numbering systems – cases
1 & 2.” Keep in mind that the shelving units are two-sided.
Desired situation
Your proposal should have looked something like this:

16 1
15 2
14 3
13 4
9 8

H 10 7
F
H 11 6
G F
H 12 5
G
G H
F E
F G E E
F F D E
D
E E E E D D
D D C C
D B C
D C
C B
B B
C
B A A C
C
B A A

B A A B

A A

The units have identified horizontally with a progressive sequence of numbers and vertically, with
a progressive sequence of letters going upwards. The shelving unit on the left was also subdivided
in to four sections of approximately 75 cm each. This will facilitate object retrieval by reducing the
location number to shelf space ratio.
Printed material

Phase 1
GATHER INFORMATION ON STORAGE UNITS 1F1
(number, type, size, location, and state)

Report on the occupation of floor space by storage units


Museum:
Room (1 sheet / room):
Room dimensions (height · width · depth):
Floor surface (width · depth) = i :

No. Ground surface Total surface usable for Percentage of floor


Unit type Height Width Depth No. Shelves
Units occupied by units object placement space taken up by
All "horizontal" storage units a b c d e f =b·c·e g=f·d h = f/i · 100
Vertical racks a b c d (2 if 2-sided) e f =b·c·e g=a·c·d·e h = f/i · 100

TOTAL:
Data collected by: Date:
THE STORAGE CONDITION REPORT 1

Guidelines for analysis


IDENTIFY THE TOP PROBLEMS FOR EACH SECTOR
With all the members of your team, gather all the data you collected and produced (final products)
throughout phase 1. By discussing each of the four sectors separately (M, B, C, F), your team
should try to identify the three most important problems that are currently afflicting the
collections in storage. Remember to stay focused on storage reorganization and the collections as
a whole. For instance, you should not be listing objects that are damaged or that need
conservation treatments; stay focused on the aims of the methodology. At the end of this process,
try to end up with a list of approximately 12 problems (a maximum of three key problems per
sector). Sometimes, you may only have one or two problems for a given sector; even so, you really
should try to set an upper limit of three problems for the other sectors to keep the analysis
manageable. Remember that this step is about giving direction to the project, not listing every
single aspect that you think is wrong. The team leader must be an effective moderator and
facilitator throughout this process by keeping discussions on track and focusing on the required
outcomes.

FIND THE KEY UNDERLYING ISSUES


Next, your team should work together to try to find the relationship between each of these
problems. The idea is to try to find how the problems are related. To do this, you may find it useful
to write down each of the identified problem on flash cards and allow your team members to play
around with them to see how they could be interrelated. You will immediately notice that
regardless of the sector they are from, some problems can be grouped together; further, that
some problems are the cause (or effect) of others. This is a very important operation because it
will reveal some the underlying issues which you will have to address in the reorganization project
(phase 2). Ideally you should try to list the three key underlying issues faced by the museum.

DETERMINE THE MAGNITUDE OF THE PROJECT


After you have identified the three key issues, you can begin to think about the projected
magnitude of the reorganization project (phase 2). In your team’s opinion, will the reorganization
project be a small, medium or large one? This will depend mainly on your resources (Time, Money,
Staff) and on how the museum’s activities will be disturbed (see table below).

Time Funding Human resources Museum’s activities


SMALL 1 year and From the annual budget Can be executed by current Requires no change to the
under museum staff only museum's regular activities

MEDIUM 2 years From the annual budget May require additional staff Some of the museum's activities
plus a small amount, or, and/or volunteers (can be may be disturbed
easily obtainable found in-house)
external funds
LARGE 2 years or Substantial external Requires external Suspension of the museum's
more funds temporary staff and/or major activities
outside specialized
knowledge
ASSESS THE MUSEUM’S POTENTIAL
If you have determined that the storage reorganization is likely to be a small or medium one, do a
SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) with your team to assess the
museum’s potential for executing this project. You may already have done a SWOT analysis in step
1M5 for funding purposes. If so, you can use this as a starting point but remember that its purpose
is different this time, so you will have to modify it considerably.

If you have determined that the project is likely to be a large one, do not worry! Quite often,
meaningful improvements can be made to any initial situation. In addition to the SWOT analysis,
list short-term and long-term actions to take to ensure the success of the project. What are the
key elements you need to address to make this project work?

Strengths Weaknesses

Opportunities Threats
THE STORAGE CONDITION REPORT 1

Guidelines for writing


Remember that the aim of this report is to obtain the approval of key decision-makers, to secure
funding and allocation of other resources. It must be a persuasive, professional piece of work.
Make sure that several people, including non-specialists, proofread it before you submit it.

1. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY. Clearly state the need for a full reorganization project, explain the
anticipated magnitude of the project and list the three key issues the museum faces (see
Guidelines for Analysis). Focus on outcomes: include aims and objectives of the project. Be sure to
state why these issues are significant and to conclude your summary with a list of benefits to the
institution after the reorganization is finished. Keeping decision makers focused on benefits rather
than obstacles is important to gain their support. Remember that some people may only read this
part of you report!

2. TABLE OF CONTENTS

3. INTRODUCTION. Briefly explain the methodology you used for your data collection and analysis.
Also state who was involved in the process and thank those who offered their support.

4. RESULTS OF THE ANALYSIS FOR EACH SECTOR (M, C, B, F). Discuss your top three problems in
each sector (max. 12 problems total). For clarity, divide this section into four sub-sections (M, C, B,
F). It may be a good idea to include a “summary” box after each of the four sections to make
comprehension easier. Remember who will read this report and how much time they will have to
analyze it, so keep it vivid and interesting! You should justify your 12 problem choices and provide
useful evidence (charts, tables, anecdotes) to help your reader understand why you selected those
problems as the major ones. Images are also very important, as they can often replace many lines
of text (as the saying goes…). Remember to include a clear caption for every photo you select, to
eliminate all doubts as to what they represent and why you chose them. Although this will be the
longest section of the condition report, keep it within 8 pages. Otherwise, you could confuse your
reader with an excess of information and lose his/her attention.

5. CONCLUSION. Include: 1. the three key issues your museum will face with a brief explanation of
these, 2. the projected magnitude of the reorganization with a brief justification of why you think
this is (use the Guidelines for Analysis), 3. the results of your SWOT analysis, and 4. a short
description of the short and long term steps you can take to facilitate the reorganization. Keep in
mind that you should aim for a well-balanced conclusion: if you focus uniquely on the negative
aspects, you are likely to discourage management and decision-makers. For this reason, insist that
with their support, this project is achievable and that it will bring considerable benefits to the
institution. Keep the conclusion as concise as possible. A typical concluding sentence could be:
“Given the current situation, the collection is at risk and in unusable (a percentage would be
useful). There is a need for a full reorganization project and the benefits for the museum will be…”
Be convincing!
6. BUDGET, RESOURCES AND TIMEFRAME (PHASE 2): see “Getting Started, iv”

7. APPENDICES
Include the relevant final products from phase 1 (mostly tables, plans, etc.) that would otherwise
be too imposing in the main text of the report.
Exercises

Phase 2
REALLOCATE SPACE TO THE VARIOUS SECTORS 2B3
OF THE STORAGE AREA

Study of the functionality of a department which includes a


collections storage – case 1

Background information
In this museum, the Textiles department underwent a considerable space reduction when the Art
section was created, causing some tension between the two keepers.

This floor plan shows the


space that was originally
occupied by the textiles
department. It had three
collections storage rooms, Study
room
one study room, two
Exhibition Exhibition
exhibition rooms and an room room
office for the Keeper. 3x4m
Sliding grate
5 x 12 m
9.3 x 12 m Window

Storage I
3 x 3.5 m

Storage II
Keeper 6x3m Storage III
of
textiles 5x5m
5x5m
N

After the creation of the art


section, the space was to be
divided between the
textiles department and the Study
room
art section. This caused the
Exhibition Exhibition
textiles department to lose room room
25 m2 of storage space 3x4m
Sliding grate
5 x 12 m
(storage III) to 9.3 x 12 m Window
accommodate the office of Storage I
the Keeper of the Art 3 x 3.5 m
section. In the process, the
Textiles department also Storage II
lost one of their exhibition Keeper 6x3m Keeper
rooms, which meant that of of Art
Textiles section
those objects had to be
N

5x5m
stored 5x5m
Present situation
Displeased with the current state of affairs, the Keeper of Textiles decided to erect a dividing wall
within storage room II. By doing so, he has gained extra office space for himself and is now forcing
the museum staff members to pass through the office of the Keeper of the Art section and disturb
him every time they access the storage space to work or to retrieve objects.

Study
room
Exhibition Exhibition
room room
3x4m
Sliding grate
5 x 12 m
9.3 x 12 m Window

Storage I
3 x 3.5 m

Storage II
Keeper 6x3m Keeper
of of Art
Textiles section

N
5x5m
5x5m

Problem
Imagine the Keeper of Textiles has called you into his office and has asked you to bring him an
object located in storage room II. Given the present spatial distribution, trace with a pen the
journey you must make from the office of the Keeper of textiles to storage room II and back. Also,
use the space provided below to describe exactly what you see and what you must do during the
entire journey.

List at least three problems with the current situation:


Discussion
Certainly, walking great distances, opening doors, turning corners and crossing exhibition galleries
containing display cases, stands and visitors, while carrying an object (in this case, likely to be a
cumbersome rolled textile) is not what one would call an “ideal” situation. It would be best if
obstacles like these were reduced to a minimum in order to limit unnecessary risks to the
collection. In the life of a museum, it is very important to understand how certain
interdepartmental situations are arrived at and what caused the various internal changes they
underwent. If functionality is lacking, the reorganization of storage can be a good opportunity to
set things right.

Your proposal
Considering the problems you listed above and the current division of space between the Textiles
department and the Art section, reassign the room functions (sectors) and redistribute the space
on the template provided below. The end result should maintain a clear visual separation of each
space; it should also aim not to make any sector lose too much floor space and to keep future
renovations to a minimum. The outside walls cannot be modified, nor can any of the rooms
belonging to the Art section. The Textiles exhibition room must also remain exactly as is.

Exhibition Exhibition
room room
3x4m
Sliding grate
5 x 12 m
9.3 x 12 m Window

3 x 3.5 m

6x3m Keeper
of Art
section
N

5x5m
5x5m
REALLOCATE SPACE TO THE VARIOUS SECTORS 2B3
OF THE STORAGE AREA
Study of the functionality of a department which includes a
collections storage – case 2

Background information
Initially, the Ethnography department in this museum had well-defined and functional spaces for
all of its activities. As the collection grew over the years, this space was subdivided and shuffled
around in order to accommodate the department’s evolving needs. For instance, the decision was
made at one point to divide the Ethnography department into two sections: one for local material
and another for the national one. As a result, the department’s functionality has been severely
hindered by this somewhat haphazard distribution of rooms and corridors.

Present situation
The floor plan shown below represents the storage department belonging to the Ethnography
department. The other part of the museum’s administrative space is occupied by the Archaeology
department. Both departments overlook a courtyard, and together, take up approximately half of
the space on the first floor. The remainder of the first floor, along with the ground floor, is
dedicated to the museum’s other functions like exhibition rooms, ticket office, rest rooms, etc.

Ethnography

Archaeology
MUSEUM

1st floor
window

1st floor
Archaeology Archaeology

Ethnography Ethnography
office office

Corridor
Ethnography Library
receiving zone Courtyard

Corridor

Committee
room
NATIONAL LOCAL
Ethnography storage Ethnography storage

MUSEUM

10 m 10 m 10 m
Problem
Every day, the staff from Ethnography and Archaeology must enter and exit their respective
departments from the museum exhibition rooms on the first floor. Given the present spatial
distribution, retrace the journey an Archaeology staff member would have to make to get to
his/her department from the museum. Describe below what he/she must do to get there and
what he/she sees in the process:

Now, imagine that a staff member from the Ethnography department needs to study an object
which is currently held in storage. Describe below what he/she must do and what he/she sees on
the journey from either one of the Ethnography offices over to the LOCAL Ethnography storage
room, and back.

Considering the two descriptions you provided above, list at least four reasons why the current
spatial distribution within the Ethnography department is no longer functional.

In what two ways can objects be damaged through regular use of the collection by staff members?
Discussion
The staff of this department should be able to carry on with their regular activities and have easy
access to the collections in storage without running the risk of damaging objects nor disturbing
other departmental activities every time. Well-defined space should be allocated for each of the
museum’s functions. Often, minor modifications in the floor plan of a building can increase the
efficiency of a department while minimizing risk of damage to the collection.

Your proposal
Taking into account the problems you enumerated above and the present spatial distribution
within the Ethnography department, redistribute the internal space by redrawing in pencil the
dividing walls on the template provided below. Your proposal should provide a clear visual
separation of each space, maintain the spatial ratio between each space as much as possible and
finally, try to use existing interior divisions in order to minimize future renovations. No
modifications can be made to the Archaeology department, to the museum space and obviously,
to the location of the courtyard.

window

1st floor
Archeology Archeology

Courtyard

MUSEUM

10 m 10 m 10 m
ESTABLISH NEEDS FOR NEW UNITS 2F7

Unit placement for ease of access

Present situation
The drawings below show the floor plan of the same collections storage in which the units
(shelving) have been arranged in slightly different ways (A & B). In both cases, the usable space for
collections is the same (approximately 50%).

A B

Problem
Is A or B the best way to place the units? Justify your answer below.
Imagine yourself in both situations. You are asked to retrieve the three objects indicated below (X,
Y, Z). In A as in B, the objects are exactly in the same location, but the units are arranged
differently. Using a pen and the drawings provided below, trace the journey you would have to
make in both cases to retrieve the objects.

A B
X Y X Y

Z Z

Describe below exactly what you have to do during your journey.

CASE A CASE B

X X

Y Y

Z Z

Have you changed your opinion on the best unit placement?


Printed material

Phase 2
ESTABLISH NEEDS FOR NEW UNITS 2F7

Maximum occupation of floor space by storage units


Types of storage furniture

Pallets Drawer cabinets

Cabinets
High-density storage

Sliding racks

Shelving

Mobile-
Fixed Mobile-Fixed
Mobile
Storage Object Usable space for objects in relation to storage
furniture requirements furniture type
﹀ ﹀
‧Pallets Machinery 25%
‧Cabinets 2 people 35%
‧Shelves 1 person 45%
‧Boards Horizontal 60%
‧Sliding racks Vertical 66%
‧High density 2 people Fixed 70%
storage 1 person 80%
WRITING STORAGE REORGANIZATION PROJECT 2

Work breakdown structure

Major task Level 1 sub-task Level 2 sub-task Time Responsible


WRITING STORAGE REORGANIZATION PROJECT 2

GANT CHART: day by day project planning

Wednesday Thursday Friday Weekend Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday

January 24 January 25 January 26 January January 29 January 30 January 31 February 1

AM PM AM PM AM PM 27 28 AM PM AM PM AM PM AM PM

Project : Housekeeping to limit the dust


Activ
ities

X
1 check where dust comes in

X
2 record locations on plan

3 Prepare suggestions

Think of a system to reduce the dust X


4
coming in

X
5 make a schedule for cleaning

X
6 Identify materials needed

7 Find materials and cost estimate X