Caring for Museum Collections

American Association of State and Local Hiistory
Primary contact: American Association of State and Local Hiistory
Where: Online
Jun 1 - Jul 26, 2020


This is an eight week course that deals with the physical care and preservation of museum collections. This practical course will cover collections age and deterioration, collections handling, storage requirements, environmental considerations, housekeeping, and risk management.

Each week of this course contains a narrative discussion of a topic in the form of lessons. The lessons and web-based readings, combined with your professional experiences, will provide you with a grounding in the weekly topics.

Learning Objectives

After completing this course, participants will understand principles and best practices of physical care and preservation of museum collections including the following:

  • Know the major causes of deterioration for museum objects and how to use that information to enhance long-term preservation
  • Know how to handle objects in the safest way
  • Know how to examine and document the condition of objects in your collections
  • Know how to display your collections in a way that prolongs their life
  • Know how to store and house your collections in the way that best preserves them
  • Understand the importance of environmental control for the preservation of your collections
  • Know the best ways to clean your museum
  • Know how to perform a risk assessment of your museum and use it to write a disaster plan



Cost: $195 AASLH Members / $295 Nonmember

Registration: Registration is open between March 2, 2020 - May 24, 2020; there is a 30 participant limit.

Target Audience: This is a introductory level course designed for professional staff and volunteers of historical organizations and libraries with historical collections who have little to no experience with collections conservation.

Format: Online, instructor-led, weekly-paced course

Length: 8 weeks

Participation: Students will be expected to participate in weekly readings, exercises, and forum discussions and four real-time Zoom video chats (schedule to be determined by the instructor at the start of the course). If you are unable to attend a chat, you can view the recording and then post your thoughts/questions in the General Forum. Students should expect to spend approximately 5 hours per week on the course.

Materials: For this course, it is preferred that participants have access to museum collections either as a staff member, volunteer, or intern. However, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, adjustments have been made to the course to adapt to situations where participants may be teleworking and not have immediate access to their organization’s collections. However, participants will need a moderate knowledge of their organization’s environment and policies, or access to a staff member with that knowledge. There are no required texts for this course. All other materials will be provided.

Credit: Successful completion of this course (80% or higher) will earn one credit toward the Small Museum Pro! certificate from AASLH.

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