When resources are tight, the best way to provide protection to your collection is to apply preventive conservation principles. This means addressing the "Ten Agents of Deterioration":
Theft, vandalism or loss
Custodial neglect or misplacement
If you have had a Preservation Needs Assessment done on your collection, A3 Collection Services can help you fulfill the recommendations of the report.
All institutions have more items in storage than on display. For this reason, managing the storage environment is every bit as important as managing the display environment. Managing temperature, humidity, light and pollutants in your storage area will enable you to prolong the life of your collection. And a full air conditioning is not always the answer.
Physical force, custodial neglect and security can be addressed with good handling training, emphasizing the importance of good records management and having a secure display and storage space. Cataloging all parts of a collection reduces the risk of misplacing an object when returning it to storage from display.
Pests can be insects, animals or mould. Keeping a clean, tidy, well ventilated storage area discourages all these risks from moving into your collection.
Having a well established food and drink policy in your institution will also help control these threats.
What is your mostly likely disaster risk? Bush fire? Structure fire? Rising flood waters? Storm damage? Water and fire are the most common causes of large scale damage in heritage collections. Steps should be taken to reduce the risk of these incidents affecting your collection.
A3 Collection Services can come to you, assess your particular needs and advise on steps to take to reduce all these risks.
What is "custodial neglect"? Custodial neglect refers to situations where the custodian of a collection neglects to train themselves or others in the correct management of a heritage collection. It can also refer to instances where an item is accidentally misplaced (rather than stolen) because its provenance is not properly recorded.