Fundamentals of Collections Management (Level 1)

Collections management is everything that is done to preserve, develop, and make collections accessible for use. Preservation principles are covered in Fundamentals of Collections Care. Fundamentals of Collections Management takes as its focus a basic introduction to the development of and access to collection. Development encompasses acquisition, legal and ethical issues, policy, planning, and relevance to mission and access refers to both intellectual and physical accessibility. Intellectual accessibility is how we make associated data about collections available. Physical accessibility involves access in storage and management of the different ways collections are physically used and the information that results from that usage (i.e., loans, exhibits, publications, cultural use, research, destructive testing, and educational programs, etc.).

Course topics include:

  • Developing a community of practice in collections management
  • Principles of collections stewardship
  • Benchmarks to meet national standards
  • Value of collections to mission and stakeholders
  • Collections management policy and plans
  • Acquisition and accession criteria and processes
  • Deaccession criteria and disposal
  • Manual and electronic documentation systems
  • Condition reporting (hands-on kit provided!)
  • Labeling objects (hands-on kit provided!)
  • Legal and ethical issues impacting acquisition, deaccession,and use

This four week course uses a blended learning format. The class meets synchronously two hours per week via video conferencing, along with asynchronous discussions, readings, and hands-on activities. Participants build community through small group activities during synchronous class, online discussions, and virtual gatherings. Live sessions will be held on Thursdays from 3:00-5:00 pm CST.

The course fee includes course materials, shipping, and Center for Collections Care swag. One hands-on kit and instructions will be mailed to participants before the start of class.

This class is part of a two-part beginner-level series that serves as a gateway to more advanced hands-on conservation courses. The other segment of this series, Fundamentals of Collections Care is offered annually. These courses need not be taken in sequence. Maximum number of participants: 20.

Course Dates

September 5-26, 2024

Course Fee


Early Registration



Christa Deacy-Quinn

About the Instructor

Christa Deacy-Quinn is the Collections Manager at the University of Illinois Spurlock Museum where she has managed collections care and preservation, artifact storage, packaging, transport, as well as exhibit design and installation since 1991. Christa holds a M.A. in Anthropology from the University of Illinois and a B.A. in Anthropology and Museum Studies from SUNY-Oswego. In addition, she teaches museum collection preservation at the University of Illinois, serves as a faculty associate of Ontario’s Willowbank School of Restoration Arts, and is a peer reviewer for the Museum Assessment Program for the American Alliance of Museums. Christa is author of FUNdamentals of Museum IPM, accessible for free download.

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