What do we mean by collections care?

From Our Toolkit

Collections care refers to the processes in place to ensure the collections are safe and protected from harm and damage. It looks at everything ranging from the immediate environment of the object to the long term arrangements to mitigate risk to an object or collection.

The care of collections is the responsibility of everyone who works with or looks after a collection and the sooner it can be introduced when you have a collection the better it is and easier to maintain and improve adherence to professional standards.

Collections care is about ensuring your collections are protected and safeguarded through the correct handling procedures, suitable packing and storage, correct environmental conditions and risk assessment and management.

Why is collections care important

Collections are the most important resource of a museum or organisation responsible for safeguarding their heritage.  They set your organisation aside as the collection is unique to you.  Collections Care is a core responsibility of any organisation which holds a collection of any type of subject, person or people in order to safeguard the stories, objects or documents relating to that subject, person or people.

Collections are safeguarded

  • It improves the physical environment of the object
  • It limits potential damage to an item through training and best practice
  • It mitigates against risk
  • It improves the security of your collections

Increased access and use of collections

  • It can help improve the condition of objects
  • It can improve physical access to collections
  • It supports safer physical access to collections
  • It helps you to identify potential risks

Management of resources and budgets

  • It provides a focus on preventative conservation
  • It can help avoid unnecessary remedial conservation costs
  • It can feed into strategic forward planning

Strengthens funding applications

  • It builds public confidence
  • It encourages adherence to sector standards
  • It demonstrates organisational responsibility and commitment
Browse the toolkit
Search the toolkit
Toolkit contents

A one-page list of all the sections of the Toolkit.