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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.