Delaware’s museums and libraries could lose our cultural heritage, as nearly 190 million historical items* have become endangered. Thanks to generous funding by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), stewards of Delaware’s precious heritage collections can learn how to catalog, preserve, and manage them, both or future use and present accessibility.
Compiled by Laura Hortz Stanton, CCAHA And Tom Clareson, Lyrasis
Mounting exemplar preservation policies has been seen by the Delaware Connecting to Collections Implementation Grant Project Partners as a way to provide institutions in the state with high-quality preservation information. Model mission statements, disaster preparedness and recovery plans, environmental control policies, security plans, and exhibit policies have been identified and selected by the Project Partners and can be circulated widely among Delaware cultural heritage institutions, to serve as models for each repository to develop their own set of preservation policies. This “documentation of practice” can assure sustainability of preservation at the institutions, and help to move preservation from a set of disparate projects to a continuous, sustained program. Through preservation policy development, the cultural heritage community in Delaware can overcome one of the biggest concerns noted in both the survey questionnaire and the on-site visits during the Connecting to Collections Planning Grant program.
The International Council of Museums Committee for Conservation defines preventive conservation as “all measures and actions aimed at avoiding and minimizing future deterioration or loss.” Preventive conservation encompasses almost all of the collections care activities that collections managers, curators, registrars, archivist, librarians and other stewards of cultural collections do on a daily basis. Environmental management, cataloging, processing, pest control, and housekeeping are just a few of the topics that fall under the auspices of preventive conservation.
Almost every activity fits under the preventive conservation umbrella can and should have a corresponding policy or procedure. Understanding the scope and intricacies of preventive conservation are key to developing policy and procedural documents that support preventive conservation goals and can be effectively implemented.
A Preventive Conservation Primer Conservation Center for Art & Historic Artifacts, Preservation Resource, 2011 This preservation leaflet gives an overview of many of the aspects that are encompassed by preventive conservation.