You should have a policy on how you deal with damaged and lost objects. This could either be a standalone document or part of a wider collections management policy. Either way, in deciding your policy you will most likely need to consider these questions: Who within the museum should be informed if objects are damaged […]
Responding to damage to, or the loss of, objects in your care.
This procedure might be needed in response to anything from minor, accidental damage to one object during handling to a fire that destroys large parts of your collection. Hopefully, the measures you put in place during the procedure Emergency planning for collections will reduce both the likelihood and impact of significant damage or loss. Your emergency plan will also tell you how to respond during an emergency. The focus of Damage and loss is what happens next, documenting the incident and recording decisions made and actions taken.
If there has been an obvious break-in and prize exhibits are missing, theft is a reasonable conclusion and you respond accordingly. However, if an object is not where it is supposed to be in the stores, things may be less clear. Has it been stolen, or has a colleague moved it and been sloppy with their record-keeping? It may take a lot of time and effort to work out which it is. This is why it is so important to be scrupulous with Location and movement control, and Audit regularly to check that your Inventory information is always up-to-date.
You should have a written procedure that explains the steps to follow when objects are lost or damaged. This suggested procedure, and the workflow based on it, are useful starting points. However you do it, your own procedure should meet the minimum requirements of the Spectrum standard. To see the workflow as PDF, follow the […]