Online Course: Caring for Museum Collections
An AASLH Small Museum Pro! Online Course
This eight week course will deal with the physical care and preservation of your museum collections. This practical course will cover how collections age and deteriorate, handling collections, storage requirements, environmental considerations, housekeeping, and risk management.
Each week of this course contains a narrative discussion of a topic in the form of Lessons. The lessons and web-based readings, combined with your professional experiences, will provide you with a grounding in the week’s topic.
COURSE DATES: January 27 – March 22, 2020
COST: $195 AASLH Members / $295 Nonmembers
OPEN REGISTRATION: November 1, 2019 – January 19, 2020; 30 participant limit
FORMAT: Online, instructor-led, weekly-paced course
LENGTH: 8 weeks
PARTICIPATION: Weekly readings and exercises; Weekly forum discussions; Four real-time online chats – schedule to be determined by the instructor at the start of the course – if you are unable to attend a chat you can read the transcript and then post your thoughts/questions in the General Forum; Students should expect to spend approximately 5 hours per week on the course.
MATERIALS: This course requires participants have access to museum collections to successfully complete this course, either as a staff member, volunteer, or intern. There are no required texts for this course. All other materials will be provided.
CREDIT: Successful completion of this course (80% or higher) will earn one credit toward the Small Museum Pro! certificate from AASLH.
After completing this course, participants will understand principles and best practices of physical care and preservation of museum collections including the following:
- Know the major causes of deterioration for museum objects and how to use that information to enhance long-term preservation;
- Know how to handle objects in the safest way;
- Know how to examine and document the condition of objects in your collections;
- Know how to display your collections in a way that prolongs their life;
- Know how to store and house your collections in the way that best preserves them;
- Understand the importance of environmental control for the preservation of your collections;
- Know the best ways to clean your museum; and
- Know how to perform a risk assessment of your museum and use it to write a disaster plan.
Who Should Take This Course
This course is a beginning level course designed for professional staff and volunteers of historical organizations and libraries with historical collections who have little to no experience with conservation of collections. This course requires participants have access to museum collections to successfully complete this course, either as a staff member, volunteer, or intern.
Rebecca Elder is an experienced cultural heritage preservation consultant who helps clients find practical and achievable solutions to care for their history collections. She collaborates with libraries, museums, archives, municipalities and families to tailor preservation plans to their resources and timelines.
In 2014, Rebecca founded Rebecca Elder Cultural Heritage Preservation to provide preservation advice to clients holding history collections. Rebecca has also worked at Amigos Library Services, the Harvard University Libraries and the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History. Rebecca received her MSIS and a Certificate of Advanced Studies for Conservation of Library and Archival Materials from the School of Information at the University of Texas at Austin, and now is adjunct faculty at the iSchool, teaching Preservation Management and Treatment Techniques for Bound Materials. She also serves as coordinator for the National Heritage Responders, a team of volunteer conservators and allied professionals who respond to disasters.
Rebecca is a Professional Associate member of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works. She also engages in professional service with the American Institute for Conservation, the Society of American Archivists, the Society of Southwest Archivists, and the Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries and Museums.
Rebecca lives in Austin, TX with her four cats: Frankie, Princess Snowball, Thingy and Tucker the Most Interesting Cat In The World (@heytuckercat on Instagram). She knits obsessively, collects smashed pennies, and isn’t afraid to admit that she loves 1970s white polyester jumpsuit Elvis. Looking to connect? Head to www.elderpreservation.com. She’ll be glad you did.