Managing Risk in your Museum

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The effective management of a museum is all about balancing risks, whether to people, the objects, buildings, trading activities or information resources. This presentation provides an entry-level …

The effective management of a museum is all about balancing risks, whether to people, the objects, buildings, trading activities or information resources. This presentation provides an entry-level overview to basic risk management for museum professionals.

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  • 1. Managing Risk in your Museum Nick Poole, CEO, Collections Trust 1
  • 2. What is Risk? • “Risk – combination of threat and likelihood of it occurring. Risk is the potential for a chosen action or activity (including the choice of inaction) to lead to a loss.” - Museums Accreditation Standard, Arts Council England 2013 2
  • 3. What is Risk Management? • Threat A hazard, or the cause of an unwanted event. • Risk Chance or likelihood of the threat or unwanted event happening • Risk Management Identification, assessment & prioritisation of risks to inform a planned programme to minimise and control the probability and impact of identified threats to the collection. • Risk Assessment Calculating an objective view of the magnitude of the risks to the collection 3
  • 4. Integrated Risk Management • Each of the systems for identifying, assessing and mitigating risk (whether to buildings, collections, services, information or people) are interdependent • Integrated risk management involves taking a strategic overview of the overall risk profile of the museum and managing the dependencies between visitor services, facilities, fire safety, security, environmental control, pest management, preventive conservation and housekeeping • The aim is not to exclude risk, but to manage it 4
  • 5. Risk Management & Accreditation 1.9 Clear, workable emergency plan • The museum must be able to respond effectively to emergency or disaster situations. It must have an emergency plan, relating to all buildings that house collections and services, which includes or refers to: – Arrangements for the workforce, visitors and collections – Risk assessments of threats – Information about how emergency plans are authorised, maintained, communicated, tested and made available to the workforce and emergency services – Evidence of how the museum works with the emergency services, and of any other relevant emergency plans – An effective procedure for reviewing the emergency plan 5
  • 6. Threats to Collections • Physical forces - earthquake, high winds, landslide • Fire - electrical fault, lightning • Water - flood, roof leaks, rising damp, plumbing faults • Criminal activity - major theft, vandalism • Pests - infestation of rodents or insects • Light - exposure to light • Incorrect temperature - higher than ideal • Incorrect relative humidity - higher, or lower, than ideal • Custodial neglect - poor handling and storage • Pollutants – local (eg. cleaning materials) or environmental 6
  • 8. A Culture of Risk Awareness • Risk management is not a short-term project • It depends on maintaining a culture of risk awareness • Encouraging ownership of risk at all levels of the organisation • Ongoing testing & improvement of risk mitigation systems • Incorporating risk awareness into forward planning • Why not create a free Risk Awareness Profile for your museum? 8
  • 9. Good Housekeeping • Daily routines can become habitual • Good housekeeping promotes a culture of risk management • Encouraging housekeeping staff to be vigilant/aware • Systematic checking of building fabric • Take a look at the Royal Albert Memorial Museum’s basic guidance on good housekeeping for collections • Buy a copy of the National Trust’s Manual of Housekeeping (RRP £25) 9
  • 10. Managing contractors • Working with contractors can introduce new risk factors • Controlling access to the building • Ensuring that all work is carried out under contract • Dealing with reputable/experienced contractors • Obtaining necessary permits • Take a look at the Collections Trust’s ‘ Practical Guide to Working with Contractors’, published with the Arts Council England 10
  • 11. Museum security • Assess security threats as part of the overall risk profile • The ‘rational choice perspective’ – thinking like a criminal • Identifying collections at risk • Balancing security, access & preservation • Visit our comprehensive resources on managing security in museums - • Download the free Museum Security Toolkit • Visit dedicated Secured by Design resources from the police 11
  • 12. Integrated Pest Management • Identifying pests • Assessing the problem through inspection & trapping • Avoidance and prevention by denying ‘safe havens’ • Solving pest problems through treatment & environment • Ongoing review of pest management procedures • Order your copy of Integrated Pest Management: A Practical Guide (RRP £24.99) today at 12
  • 13. Insuring risks • A culture of risk management will save you money • Identify & address statutory cover (eg. employer’s liability) • Consider public liability & exposure to risk • Buildings, contents, shop stock & business interruption cover • Consider residual risks after risk management • Discuss bespoke cover with your broker • Find out more about our Insurance for Museums event • Download the free Collections Trust/SHARE Museums East guide to ‘Insurance for Museums’ – handbook coming soon! 13
  • 14. Good collections management! • Good documentation is at the heart of risk management • Effective collections policies help mitigate risk • A culture of risk management depends on skilled staff • Join the SPECTRUM community & find out more about best practice in collections management • Join our LinkedIn Collections Management group (6,800 members!) to discuss collections practice • Order your copy of Collections Management: A Practical Guide (RRP £24.99) – 14
  • 15. More great resources • SHARE Museums East Collections Resources • American Alliance of Museums Standard for Risk Management • Risk Awareness Profiling Tool (RAPTonline) • Museum Accreditation Standard (Arts Council England) • Risk Management & Insurance for Museums (AIM Focus Paper) 15
  • 16. Come and find out more at OpenCulture 2014! 16