Re: How long did your collection inventory take?


Our musuem is still mostly in the “paper-age,” but we are moving to a home-grown collection management software tool. We had a spreadsheet with about 4,000 line items, but it was 12 years out of date. Scanning all acquisition documents and adding the past 12 years has taken about 65 man-hours so far and we are about 2/3rds done.

I’m looking beyond the basic purpose of inventory management (item’s description, location, history, condition, and information about its donor). I hope it provides other benefit beyond this basic function;
1 – Enhanced Inventory management
a. View a photo of the item (to make it easier find it since not everyone knows what an item is by its description)
b. View the original acquisition document
c. Enable the Curator to easily search the collection for specific items to place in seasonal exhibits.
d. Track movement of the item within the museum (vault, to display, back to vault, etc.)
e. When offered items for acquisition, the Curator could quickly determine if other similar items are already in the collection, and make a decision to reject or acquire the offered item.
2) Reacquisition
a. Noteworthy items previously loaned to the museum and returned could be reacquired for seasonal exhibits or permanent gifts.
3) Recruitment
a. Knowing who has donated (or loaned items) to the collection will allow contact with their family and descendants. This contact may lead to new patrons, members or volunteers.
4) More knowledgeable docents & public
a. Able to give visitor’s (especially descendants) personalized insight to the collection.
b. Give Docents, volunteers and visitors opportunities to explore the collection in a much easier fashion.