Does your museum have a preservation plan? Many do not. Most, if not all small organisations responsible for heritage, art and other cultural collections have to work within the constraints of very limited resources. Funding is often through small highly competitive grants and the day-to day management of the organisation and collections is dependent on a hard working but often decreasing number of volunteers. It is not uncommon for the long term care of collections to be unconsciously neglected or approached in an ad-hoc manner.
A long-range practical, preservation plan clearly defines an institution’s preservation needs and charts a course of action. It can be a powerful organisational tool. It ensures limited resources are effectively used, assists with funding applications and most importantly provides focused collection care actions.
Ideally preservation planning should occur after an organisation has had a formal significance assessment of their collections. A Preservation Needs Assessment is then carried out by a qualified conservator (see AICCM website below). A Preservation plan is developed using recommendations from the Preservation Needs Assessment. Once you have your plan, make sure you review and update it regularly.
If you would like to know more, below are some useful websites. You may also contact your local MDO.
AICCM – http://aiccm.org.au/
Museums Australia Victoria: http://www.mavic.asn.au/assets/MA_Conservation_Plan.pdf
Conservation Centre for Art and Historic Artefacts: http://www.ccaha.org/uploads/media_items/ccaha-preservation-planning.original.pdf
Northeast Document Conservation Centre: https://www.nedcc.org/free-resources/preservation-leaflets/1.-planning-and-prioritizing/1.1-what-is-preservation-planning