Documenting inventories

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    • #133226

      Hi all! I was wondering if anyone could assist or point me in the right direction of documenting inventories. We do rolling inventories of our collection storage but was asked if there was a better way to document what we have and haven’t done. Any suggestions?

    • #133232

      What do you mean by rolling inventories? Is the major problem that you can’t get enough of the inventory done and then start over again?

    • #133231

      Rolling meaning when we finish one section of storage we begin another. We don’t necessarily do five year inventories or every two years as some other institutions do. Rolling may have been a misnomer; ongoing inventories? I’m looking for something to document how we do them and when we do them for purposes of audit. I’d like to have a record of all inventories that happen but I’ve never actually seen this sort of document and am looking for examples.

    • #133230

      So, you don’t have a basic inventory system right now? Can you use your accession files for the base inventory?

    • #133229

      We do have one. We utilize a our CMS and shelving lists to begin inventories. I’m really just interested in some sort of document that shows we have done it and how it was done. It’s more for future employees to reference rather than myself.

    • #133228

      When we do our annual cyclical inventory (which is actually just a random inventory), we verify that the artifacts are in the recorded locations, then we update that same location in our CMS with the date and “inventory” as the reson for the update. You could use a similar method after you’ve inventoried each storage section.

      Also, if you have an appropriate notes field in you CMS, you could use a standard statement that is copied and pasted into each artifact record that the object was located during the inventory of a certain section on a certain date. (I used this method when I worked for NPS)

    • #133227

      Hi Jennifer,
      I’m in the process of establishing inventory practice for our museum collection as well. There are certain standards and such, but each institution has its own quirks and limitations. I found the National Park Service’s collections inventory policies helpful as a starting point. The document is thorough and not every part will apply to your institution, but it provides an excellent foundation for a document that may become part of your official collections management policy. The document on inventories can be found here:

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