Collection Policy

1. Mission Statement

The primary aim in the establishment of the Dartmoor District Coach-House Museum is to preserve the history of the Dartmoor District.
The Museum will carry out the following functions to achieve this aim:
– collect, catalogue, and preserve as best as possible the objects, photographs and documents relating to the district
– record oral histories pertaining to the district
– compile and publish written histories of the district
– display collected items as appropriate to foster community interest in its history and future
– liaise with collection institutions and individuals to gather relevant historical information
The geographical area to be served is about 40km radius from the Museum in Dartmoor, however material from further afield will still be considered where links to the district are established.
The subject area of the collection is broad, covering all aspects of social and industrial history of the area. The time period covered by the collection is from Aboriginal times through European settlement to the present.
The Collection Policy will be reviewed every 5 years in consultation with other collection managers, community representatives, and/or guidelines published for review of heritage collections.
Michael Greenham and Elly Colley. Proprietors – Dartmoor District Museum

2. Subjects for Collection

The subject areas for the collection cover all aspects of social and industrial history of the district; from all time periods to the present.
The geographical area extends about 40km from the Museum – nearby towns such as Heywood, Mount Gambier and Casterton all have collection institutions. However, items from outside this area will be considered where local links can be established.
The items to be collected can be: three-dimensional objects made of any material; written and printed records and ephemera on paper; photographic material. Some items may not be collected because they present problems with preservation and/or storage, or are considered to be a security risk due to their monetary value.
Access to the collection will be via public displays, on-line catalogues, digital formats and personal research applications as and where appropriate.

3. Acquisition Procedure

The Museum shall acquire objects for the permanent collection by donation, bequest, purchase, transfer or loan. Conditional or long-term loans are a drain on resources, are an insurance conundrum and can be a source of family dispute; they are to be avoided. However the Museum is mindful that the facility is in essence a community one and families may desire to loan items only.
The proprietors will make decisions about acquisition based on: legal ownership, relevance to the aims of the collection policy, documentation and provenance, condition, storage and security capability, display possibilities, and duplication considerations.
Collected items will be recorded, catalogued, indexed, stored, controlled and made accessible. Accession forms will be duplicated for the Museum and donor/lender to hold as required. Other written records associated with the collection are available to interested public to examine.
The Museum must be free to display and treat the collection as it sees fit and according to its resources. This includes deaccessioning of items from the collection, subject to ethical and legal considerations.

4. Collection Care

The Collection will be managed according to accepted international museum practices as best as possible given constraints of expertise, time and funds. This management includes registration and preservation procedures.
Registration – Items will receipted and described on arrival and given an accession number on the relevant form. Following acceptance to the collection a permanent registration number will be assigned to the item. The item and documentation will be stored and indexed, and movement of the item in/from the Museum will be controlled and recorded.
Preservation – The climate in the Museum will be monitored and efforts made to control variation. Temperatures should be in the 20 +/- 2degrees with relative humidity 35-50%. Ultraviolet light will be reduced in storage and display areas. Fire extinguishers will be maintained and locks will be placed on windows and doors. Pests will be monitored and controlled as best as possible. Packaging and storing will be in appropriate archival quality materials – acidfree fibre and inert plastic products. Curatorial work, necessary for display or storage will be done within the limits of expertise and funds.
The Museum will attend educational workshops and courses where practicable to upgrade skills in care and management of collections, and pass on this information to the local public to assist with the preservation of the district’s history.

5. Loan and Deaccession Procedure

Conditional or long-term loans are a drain on resources, are an insurance conundrum and can be a source of family dispute; they are to be avoided. The ownership status of acquired items needs to be established at the outset. However the Museum is mindful that the facility is in essence a community one and families may desire to loan items only. If loaned items are to be reclaimed then the Museum reserves the right to charge a fee for the handling, preservation storage, and research that may apply to the item.
Deaccession of items will be at the discretion of the Museum, subject to legal and ethical considerations. Where legal ownership over vague ‘long-term loans’ or anonymous donations is an issue, the Museum will take a course that enhances its image rather than detracts from it. Efforts will be made to contact donors or their family to inform them of disposal decisions, outlining reasons and offering them first option on the item’s fate.

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