Object exit – the Spectrum standard

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You should have a policy covering the exit of objects from your buildings. 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:

  • In what circumstances might objects leave the museum?
  • Who can authorise objects leaving the museum in each of these circumstances?
  • What levels of condition checking are needed for each scenario?
  • What signatures are required to prove that objects have left your care and someone else has taken responsibility for them?
  • How will you make sure that relevant location and movement records are updated?

You should also have a written procedure that explains the steps to follow when an object leaves your museum. 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 can account for all objects that have left your museum for whatever reason. The inventory of objects in your care is up to date and accurate.
All objects leave with appropriate authorisation. Objects do not leave without the agreement of those who are responsible for their care.
You get appropriate signatures to prove that you have transferred objects into someone else’s care. You have proof that borrowed objects have been returned to their owners.
You keep up-to-date location and movement records for objects that belong to you even when they are away from the museum. You can account for all of your objects at all times.

Objects do not become ‘lost’ when they leave your premises.


Date created: 2017

Author: Collections Trust

Publisher: Collections Trust