By accessing this resource, you agree to the Spectrum licence.
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 or suspected lost?
- Who is responsible for taking action?
- What internal checks should be made to locate objects that are missing from their recorded location?
- Who decides at what point external bodies such as the police or insurers should be informed of suspected theft?
- Who is responsible for dealing with any media interest there may be in an incident?
- How will incidents be investigated and reviewed for lessons learned?
You should also have a written procedure that explains the steps to follow when objects are lost or damaged. Spectrum’s suggested procedure is a useful starting point, but however you do it, your own procedure should meet the following minimum requirements:
|Minimum requirement||Why this is important|
|You inform the owners of lost or damaged objects that do not belong to you.||You are completely open with lenders and maintain trust even when things go wrong.|
|You record the circumstances of all incidents involving damage to, or loss of, objects as fully as possible.||You will need detailed documentation for any internal review, insurance claim or police investigation.|
|Condition reports (including images) are made for damaged objects.||This is the first step of planning appropriate conservation.|
|You can give police enough information about stolen objects (including images where possible) to identify them if they are later recovered.||Criminals are likely to remove the object numbers from stolen items.|
|All decisions and actions in your response to damage or loss are fully documented.||You can explain how incidents involving damage or loss have been handled in any later investigation or dispute.|
|Lessons learned from incidents are used to improve relevant policies and procedures.||You will not repeat avoidable mistakes.|