Care of the collections is a core responsibility for all museums and related cultural institutions. The foundation of collections care and stewardship is good collections management policies.
This revised edition of Things Great and Small is a comprehensive resource for preparing and implementing collections management policies. Drawing on his extensive experience as a collections manager, educator, consultant, and surveyor for the American Alliance Of Museums (AAM)'s Museum Assessment Program, John E. Simmons reviews current ideas and literature on the subject, highlights the issues that collections management policies should address, and explains the pros and cons of choosing some policy options over others.
Coverage of several key areas is greatly expanded or totally new in this second edition, particularly information about:
- digital collections,
- intellectual property rights,
- deaccessioning and use of deaccessioning proceeds,
- laws & regulations,
- changes in standards and benchmarks for collections care,
- the way US museums are funded and administered, and
- new standards and practices for collection storage environments.
Featuring more than 40 tables and charts and nearly 20 model policy templates, this major publication is aimed at museums of all kinds, historic houses and sites, and other cultural institutions.
Chapter 1: Considering Collection Management Policies
Chapter 2: Preparing Collection Management Policies
Chapter 3: Introductory Sections
Chapter 4: Authority
Chapter 5: Scope of Collections and Categories of Collections
Chapter 6: Acquisitions, Accessions, and Registrations
Chapter 7: Deaccessions and Disposal
Chapter 8: Loans
Chapter 9: Objects in Custody
Chapter 10: Documentation
Chapter 11: Collections Care
Chapter 12: Collections and Collection Information Access and Use
Chapter 13: Risk Management and Insurance
Chapter 14: Intellectual Property
Chapter 15: Digitization
Chapter 16: Cultural Property
Chapter 17: Ethics
Chapter 18: Appraisals, Identifications, and Research Services
Chapter 19: Policy Review and Revision
Chapter 20: Epilogue: When Policy Meets Reality
Appendix A: Glossary
American Alliance of Museums Codes of Ethics for Museums
American Alliance of Museums The Accreditation Commission’s Expectations Regarding Collection Stewardship
Appendix C: Laws and Legislation
John E. Simmons has worked in museums for more than forty years. He has been a zookeeper, collections manager, museum studies instructor, director of a graduate program in museum studies, and a museum consultant. He has taught workshops, training programs, and museum studies classes for undergraduates, graduate students, and professionals in the US and internationally. At present, Simmons is an independent museum consultant and he teaches museum studies classes for Kent State University, the Universidad Nacional de Colombia, and Museum Study. He also serves as the Adjunct Curator of Collections for the Earth and Mineral Sciences Museum & Art Gallery at The Pennsylvania State University. Simmons is the chairman-elect of the Registrars Committee of the American Association of Museums, and also serves on the board of ARCS (Association of Registrars and Collections Specialists).
"Simmons provides information for all types of museums – whether large or small, new or established – and for institutions with all types of collections, whether art, science, history, technology, or living. Things Great and Small is an exhaustive compendium of essential advice for administrators, registrars, and collections staff, and lays a solid foundation for collections management, with valuable updates in this new edition."
– Stephanie Carson, senior museum registrar, Office of the Registrar, American Museum of Natural History
"Simmons is able to take a complicated and quite varied matter and present it in a manner that is approachable and easy to understand for museums of all sizes. Things Great and Small spells out the intricacies of museum policies writing in a thorough way, which is useful to the novice museum professional as well as the weathered museum veteran, and everyone in between. Whether it is someone's first time working in a museum/writing policies, or their 20th year, Simmons' work is a must-have on the shelves of any person working or thinking about working in a museum."
– Sebastián E. Encina, collections manager, Kelsey Museum of Archaeology, University of Michigan
"Detailing the key points that go into creating a strong collections management policy, this updated edition is a comprehensive guide that incorporates recent changes in the field. An invaluable resource for museums of all sizes and collections."
– Danielle Hall Bennett, associate registrar for Collection Management, The Walters Art Museum and president, Association of Registrars and Collections Specialists