Guideline 3.3

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Back to complete list of STANDARD 3: Collections Care Practices

Guideline 3.3:
Temporary object-holding, storage and work areas meet collection care standards for security and environment control
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What basic precautions should be instituted for temporary object-holding areas?

The exhibit coordinator should ensure that a clean, secure, and environmentally controlled space is dedicated to serve as the object holding area during exhibit development, construction, and installation. The coordinator should make the following provisions for any space used to store or work with objects:

Enclosed cabinetry is provided for object storage whenever possible. This is especially important for the most vulnerable objects, but provides an extra level of protection for all objects. It will prevent dust and particulates from settling on objects and necessitating vacuum cleaning, which could be damaging. Sealed cabinetry can be converted to provide the conditions that have been recommended by the conservation requirements. If it is not possible to provide enclosed cabinetry, objects should be protected in lidded boxes, or at least covered with clean tissue paper or clear polyethylene sheeting.
Security is provided for the storage area. Security should be commensurate with the objects’ value and significance to the museum collections. Precautions include ensuring that storage area doors are kept locked and that access is limited to appropriate staff members; such staff members must sign in to gain access; and authority for moving objects is clearly assigned.
The storage area is appropriately maintained. Object holding areas should be kept clean and uncluttered to prevent dust and contaminants and deter pests. Overall environmental conditions are controlled or objects are held in climate-controlled enclosures.
Objects are protected from construction debris. Painting, sanding, sawing or filing are confined to a separate area. Work that must be done in the vicinity should be kept as far as possible from the storage area. The objects should be protected in enclosed cabinetry or a lidded box, or covered with clean tissue paper or clear polyethylene sheeting.
Food and drink is banned from object holding and exhibit areas.
Smoking is prohibited in all areas where objects are located.
A work space is provided nearby for design work, for mock-ups of layouts and object groupings, and for fitting mounts. This reduces the need for the object to travel to staff work areas and run the risk of damage while in transit.