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Subject: Slides of storage conditions

Slides of storage conditions

From: Robert Waller <rwaller>
Date: Friday, January 5, 2001
Ken Myers <kenmyers [at] mindspring__com> writes

>It is our hope that we will be able to convince our Board to pay
>attention to the care and storage of our collection as an
>institutional priority. Present storage is insufficient and
>conditions are deplorable in many ways.

In response to your posting I am writing to offer what advice I can
about convincing museum management and governance (hereafter
referred to as they, them) of the need for improvements in
collection care.

Our experience has shown that they apply filters against information
issues if the information is not directly related to something that
they clearly understand to be one of their responsibilities.  In
those cases, they perceive the information as general whining for
more resources.  Since they receive that from all directions all of
the time their ability to filter out and ignore that information is
well developed (and I think rightly so).

We have to recognize precisely what they perceive themselves
directly responsible for and then address that.  They do not feel
directly responsible for purchasing cabinets and object support
materials.  They do not feel directly responsible for making a
collection holding area look tidy.

They do perceive themselves directly responsible for managing risk
to the public trust property held by their institution.  At the
Canadian Museum of Nature, beginning about ten years ago, we changed
our approach from one of asking for resources that we clearly
understood the need for, to one of informing them of the current
level of risk (expected losses and damage) and presenting them with
options for strategically and cost effectively reducing that risk.

Since adopting that approach, we have obtained a new $30 million
purpose-built collection building, have replaced approximately half
of our primary storage hardware (all-metal storage cabinets), and
have obtained nearly ten times our normal operating dollar budget to
address priority preservation issues in the collections.  They have
completely bought in to this approach--they feel responsible for
managing risks to the collections, pay attention, and invest in risk

I am now fully convinced that this is the approach we (conservation)
need to take to fully engage them (management and governance) in
collection preservation.

You may want to look at the information on at

Robert Waller
Chief, Conservation
Canadian Museum of Nature
Box 3443, Station D
Ottawa, Ontario K1P 6P4
Fax: 613-364-4027

                  Conservation DistList Instance 14:37
                 Distributed: Tuesday, January 9, 2001
                       Message Id: cdl-14-37-006
Received on Friday, 5 January, 2001

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