Anthropology Museology 2014

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Collection Management National Museum Anthropology Division 2014

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Anthropology Museology 2014

  1. 1. ETHNOGRAPHIC COLLECTIONS MANAGEMENT NICOLAS C. CUADRA SENIOR RESEARCHER, NATIONAL MUSEUM
  2. 2. INTRODUCTION • Collecting ethnographic specimens is essential in the documentation of human cultures. • An extensive research can be done based on the collections with its relevant accompanying information intact as human technology develops through time. • An ethnographic collection may be built or augmented in a number of ways: Field collection Donation / Gift / Bequest Purchase
  3. 3. • The collection should be carefully managed for their physical well being and safety. • Collection management refers to the museum practices and procedures which allow the prudent acquisition, documentation, preservation, secu rity, access and use, inventory, and the management of the overall composition of the collection.
  4. 4. ETHNOGRAPHIC COLLECTIONS MANAGEMENT • Registration • Accessioning • Cataloguing • Photo-documentation • Data Encoding • Inventory • Conservation • Storage System
  5. 5. REGISTRATION • The specimen must be registered upon acquisition. • The accession number together with the basic information about the specimen should be logged in to the accession record or registry. • It should be noted that the acquired specimens are in good condition and/or had undergone proper treatment.
  6. 6. ACCESSIONING • Assign accession number to each item E – Ifu – 0001 E – Ethnographic item Ifu – code for the ethnolinguistic group 0001 – assigned number for the item The assigned accession number must be written legibly and permanently on the discreet part of the object where it is not likely to be rubbed off and where it is not too obvious especially when displayed.
  7. 7. The accession number should be placed in an area that does not impact diagnostic or aesthetic parts of the object. Steps in labeling / accessioning: • clean the area to be labeled • place a thin coat of liquid eraser on the labeling area • let it dry, then write the number using India ink or sign pen • let the ink dry completely before applying a top coat of natural nail polish
  8. 8. Every item should be labeled in the most permanent method applicable to its material composition. However, some objects cannot be labeled directly; they may too small or have unstable surfaces. However, some objects cannot be labeled directly; they may too small or have unstable surfaces.
  9. 9. CATALOGUING Cataloguing is the process of recording all basic information about an object. The key purposes of cataloguing are • to record information that is useful for identification; • organizing the entire collections; and • providing information to researchers and staff who wants to use them.
  10. 10. Front page of Anthropology Division catalogue card
  11. 11. Back page of Anthropology Division catalogue card
  12. 12. PHOTO-DOCUMENTATION Each object should be photographed if possible upon acquisition. The specimen to be photographed should include its accession number/ catalogue number and a scale to determine the size of the object. 0 5 10 cm.
  13. 13. If the condition of the object is not normal, damaged parts should be clear or visible in the photograph. A standard camera can be used but a digital camera is preferable for easy uploading of images to the database.
  14. 14. DATA ENCODING • Master list • Computer Database
  15. 15. MASTER LIST The master list records all basic information about the collection, e.g., catalogue number, name of object, description price, location, etc. The master list can be updated anytime especially when the inventory of the collections is ongoing. A hard copy of the master list should be produced and CD-written backups should also be made.
  16. 16. COMPUTER DATABASE The database stores and displays various information of the entire collection. It should be protected with a password for security reasons before anyone starts data encoding. The data to be encoded may be the same data found in the catalogue card. There are different program applications for database, choose which application suits best the type of your collections.
  17. 17. INVENTORY Inventory is an important aspect of good collections management. It is useful for updating location information of specimens, identifying conservation needs, and helping researchers access particular items. The object should be cross-indexed to the existing inventory master list and individual catalogue card.
  18. 18. The object should be cross-indexed to the existing inventory master list and individual catalogue card. The following should be considered while cross-indexing: • Corrections on the accession number, measurements, and other significant data should be recorded. • Description of specimen found in the catalogue card should be verified. • Questionable specimens should be noted on the list. • The location of specimen should be also noted on the list and card for easy retrieval.
  19. 19. CONSERVATION Conservation refers to the measures taken to prolong the life of an object and its physical, historic, and cultural significance or value as long as possible in its original form. One of the best approaches to conservation is prevention. It may take less time, less money, and less effort to slowdown or prevent deterioration than it takes to repair / replace the material after they have deteriorated.
  20. 20. Prevention involves proper housing, storage, handling, and constant monitoring and control of both physical and the collection themselves. In the monitoring process, condition report is an essential element. Condition reports may be used to: • establish the exact condition of an object; • benchmark the type and/or rate of deterioration; • document the condition history and treatment; • set priorities for conservation care and treatment; and • make future handlers aware of seen and unseen problems.
  21. 21. A condition report should include: • Accession number • Name of object • Object composition • Types of damage (physical, chemical, etc.) • Extent of damage • Location of damage • Previous conservation work • Dates and reasons for damage (if known)
  22. 22. STORAGE SYSTEM Storage is an area where the ethnographic collections are placed. The collection must be classified in this area and grouped according to type of items (jewelry, textile, ceramics, basketry, etc.) or by material composition (wood, metal, etc.) The overall storage environment is one of the most important variables in the long-term preservation and conservation of the collection.
  23. 23. Natural Causes Human Causes Earthquake Storm Flood Fire Erosion Inappropriate temp. Dissolved salts Inappropriate rel. hum. Pollution Light Micro-org. Insects Dust Vegetation Rodents Tidal wave Hurricane Lightning Volcanic eruption War Terrorist attack Public works Deep ploughing Illegal excavation Urban development Vandalism Abrasion Vibration Graffiti Treasure hunting PROFESSIONAL • LACK OF Legislative framework Admin. framework Choice Programmes Training Security Internal communication Control Awareness Motivation Respect • IMPROPER EXECUTION Transport Building Distribution Documentation Handling Storage Exposition Support Climate Lighting Restoration Intervention Maintenance Ethnographic collection
  24. 24. Policies and procedures such as detailed risk management plan should be in place to address controlling and minimizing these risks. Their negative effects to the collection can also be minimized through proper training, decreasing handling of objects, controlling access, maintaining good housekeeping procedures.
  25. 25. Rules and regulations to be strictly observed within the premises of the storage area: 1. Only authorized personnel should be allowed to enter the storage room. 2. A logbook should be maintained to record the incoming and outgoing of staff, including the tasks performed inside, and the items he/she brought in and out of the storage.
  26. 26. 3. Items should be arranged systematically for easy retrieval. 4. Researchers who wish to see, photograph, and/or study the collection must secure permit from the curator. 5. Researchers should be briefed on the proper handling of specimens before entering the storage area. 6. Food and drinks are not allowed inside. 7. Smoking is strictly prohibited.
  27. 27. ETHNOGRAPHIC COLLECTIONS MANAGEMENT Nicolas C. Cuadra Senior Researcher, National Museum THANK YOU!

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