Guiding Documents of a Collection

Policies and plans serve as the basis for all activities surrounding proper management of your institution’s collections. Without these documents, collections can often grow without restraint, or an institution might find itself with objects that have no relation to its mission. Yet policies and plans, while often grouped together, are distinct documents. Those differences should be explored before the creation or revision of a collections policy or plan. 

In this module, you will learn the main differences between a policy and a plan, as well as how these documents relate to day to day procedures adopted by your institution.  

Guiding Documents of a Collection: Collections Management/Development Policy vs. Collections Plan webinar is presented by Elise LeCompte, Registrar and Assistant Department Chair, Florida Museum of Natural History, University of Florida.

Webinar Length: 38 min. 42 sec.
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Discussion Question: During the webinar presentation, the main differences between a policy, a plan, and a procedure were explained. Who has the ability at your institution to approve each of these three documents? Is it the same person for all three, or do different staff members or board members have authority to approve the three different types of documents? Why would approval be different for each document?


Alaska State Museums - Policies, Plans and Procedural Documents (.pdf)

Things Great and Small: Collections Management Policies by John E. Simmons - Policy or Procedure? (.pdf)
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Speaker Biography
Elise LeCompte is the Registrar for the Anthropology Division of the Florida Museum of Natural History, as well as the Assistant Department Chair for the museum’s Natural History Department, and the Coordinator of Health and Safety for the museum. She has over 24 years experience in the museum field, and has served as Collections Manager, Exhibit Registrar, Conservation Technician, and faculty member for Museum Studies. In addition, she performs consultant and contract work in the areas of collections, curation, and conservation. Elise has organized and taught workshops and presented papers at conferences and seminars on collections management and disaster planning. She holds a MA in Archaeology and Chemistry from the University of Florida, and a BA in Anthropology from Johns Hopkins University.

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