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Well done for beginning the process of change they need for better care of their collections !
All items in the collections should have an individual number, even if you have different numbering systems for your archive collection and museum collection. Everything that happens to the object should be recorded in the database against that number. So if an item is moved to a new location, that should be recorded, if it is loaned, or cleaned or exhibited or repaired or photographed, or brought out for researchers to study, those should ALL be recorded as part of the item’s history. If such a system is not yet in place, than I would at least start with temporary numbers and photograph and record every item that was on display. You can assign the items permanent numbers once you’ve got your new system up and running, but at least have a record and get things going.