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Assessment of the National Park Service Museum Collections Storage Management

With more than 350 parks and 116 million items, the National Park Service (NPS) has one of the largest museum collections in the world. The NPS contractracted with the Academy to review collection storage practices as identified in its 2007 Park Museum Collection Storage Plan. The NPS sought to assess the current state of its storage of museum and archival collections and its ability to achieve current and future objectives for budget and resource sustainability while simultaneously meeting curatorial standards for preservation, public access, historical documentation, and cultural sensitivity.

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Final Report

Recommendations

The Academy developed 16 recommendations to maintain and improve current and future efficiency of collection storage and examine the National Park Service Facility Investment Strategy, the Park Museum Facility Management Plan, and the Park Museum Collection Storage Plan.

  1. Update and implement the 2007 Plan with accountability and incentivizing mechanisms:
  2. Regions must review and sign Scope of Collection Statements:
  3. Regions must ensure superintendents establish and utilize a Collection Advisory Committee.
  4. Create Service-wide guidance clarifying the difference between management of archives, Resource Management Records, and administrative records.
  5. Identify where there is the strongest need for professional museum staffing.
  6. Fund at least one Records and Information Management position at each Regional Office.
  7. Develop a specific policy for leasing collections storage facilities.
  8. Create design standard policies for a retrofit project.
  9. Fill Senior Archivist Position.
  10. Institute regular senior-level joint directorate meetings.
  11. formal collaborative networks between directorates.
  12. Explore collaboration with other Department of the Interior collecting agencies.
  13. Devise and implement a Cultural Resource Investment Strategy (CR Investment Strategy) that includes an accessioning moratorium.
  14. Develop Museum Collections Facilities Criteria and Incorporate into the NPS Facility Investment Strategy (FIS)
  15. Regions must assist parks in setting standards for monitoring and deciding on research requests.
  16. Implement pilot digitization programs where technological infrastructure and desire

Questions

If you have any questions or comments regarding the study, please contact, Brenna Isman, Director of Academy Studies, at (202) 204-3625 or bisman@napawash.org.