General Conservation Survey
This site visit examines staff policies and procedures as they relate to the collection; the facility and its ability to maintain environmental controls and protect the collection; staff handling procedures and training in collections care principles; collections areas including exhibits and storage; and areas where food is consumed. The visit starts with an initial meeting with the director to lay out the agenda for the visit and ask some basic questions about the organization. At the end of the site visit, a second meeting with the director provides an overview of the assessor's findings. Based on the National Institute for Conservation's (NIC) Conservation Assessment Program (CAP), a general survey of a small museum facility requires two days at the site and three days to write a report. Larger institutions require more time for site analysis and report writing. A number of institutions use these reports to write long range plans and successfully obtain grant funds.
This site visit examines the facility for potential large-scale risks to the collection. The visit starts with a staff meeting to discuss emergency priorities and first response. After the meeting, a facility walk-through with five key staff members identifies areas of large or small risk. These people also attend separate meetings with representatives from the museum's insurance carrier and the local fire and police departments. At the end of the visit, an outline of an emergency plan is drawn from the collated information. Staff have one month to write a first draft for review and schedule the first of a series of drills. A second site visit will work with staff during one of the drills.
Collections Care Planning
Similar to a general survey, this site visit examines the facility for long-term risks to the collection. Designed to assist staff prioritize collections needs, within a day the skeleton of a workable plan is completed. The visit starts with a staff meeting to discuss collections needs they have noticed. This is followed by a facility walk-through with five key staff members to identify problem areas. At the end of the visit, information gathered is collated and assembled into the outline of long range collections care plan. Staff have one month to write a first draft for review and comments by the assessor. A final draft should be completed in two months.
Specific Object Surveys
Once a general survey has been completed, environmental controls are in place, and staff training ensures that the collection is well cared for, it is time to examine each object and establish a dated condition record. Specific object surveys provide a written condition report on each object that includes treatment priorities and proposed treatments. These surveys are useful in determining which collection item should be treated next or for raising funds for treatments.