Key documents for accepting, moving and exiting items

From Our Toolkit

Alongside the creation of your inventory or box lists and writing your collecting policy, developing consistent day-to-day processes form the bedrock of your collection management activity. These can be simply implemented using a range of standard forms as detailed below.

Museum approach

In museums the key documents for your organisation listed below with the key information to be recorded on each document. You can develop your own forms or purchase pre-printed versions from Collections Trust.

Object entry form

These are used for capturing information about new items entering your collection either for enquiry/research or by loan or donation. It should include space to record:

  • Information about the donor
  • Information about the artefacts: number, description, historical information, condition
  • Space to indicate if the artefacts are being loaned or donated
  • Space to record a return date (for loaned / enquiry items)
  • Opportunity for donor to confirm they have the right to loan or donate the items
  • Opportunity for donor to sign to confirm the transfer of legal title from themselves to your organisation (for donations)

The process for managing object entry is outlined in the Spectrum guidelines.

Object exit form

These are used for recording items which leave your care for example when you are returning an item loaned for display or research. These forms can also be used as part of the disposals process which is detailed in this topic at Level 3.

Collections Trust provides an annotated version of an object exit form showing the information to be recorded.

The process for managing object exit is outlined in the Spectrum guidelines.

Object movement tickets

Once you have created you collection inventory, which includes the location of your collection items, maintaining a record of where your collections items move from and to is essential to be accountable for them. It also enables you to keep your main inventory up to date.

Movement of items both in and out of your organisation as well as within your organisation. This could be for display, conservation, research or education purposes. To do this accurately you will need to agree on a standard list of names for each of your buildings, rooms, shelves and, where appropriate, boxes.

It is best practice to develop object movement tickets which can be left as a record in the locations where items have been moved from and which can be reconciled when the items are returned. The information to record on an object movement ticket is:

  • Object number
  • Object name
  • Old location
  • New location
  • Reason for move
  • Moved by (insert name of person)
  • Date moved
  • Permanent or temporary move?

The process for managing location and movement control is outlined in the Spectrum guidelines.

Archive approach

Object accession or deposit

The Norfolk Records Office Community Archives toolkit provides information on how to accept material into your collection and provides a sample accession form which can be adapted for your organisation.

On behalf of the Army Museums Ogilby Trust, The National Archives and Hampshire Archives Service have produced more detailed information about deposit agreements including when and how to use them.

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