I have worked for the Norfolk Museums and Information Service 1978-2010 as a curator and a collections and information manager. I ran the Cromer Museum (and Walsingham Shirehall Museum) for 20 years and led the Norfolk Documentation Project 1992-2010 during which we introduced a county-wide networked documentation system serving a dozen museums and two offsite stores with collections of three million objects.
Museum information management
Documentation of collections is at the heart of running a good museum. If your documentation is adequate everything else you do will be so much easier. It pays to invest in good documentation. I can help you to evaluate your current documentation and develop a plan to move you forward.
I am an experienced user of Modes and have been involved with its development and testing for more than 20 years. Modes is the most widely used collection cataloguing system in the UK, employed especially in small and medium-sized museums in the public and private sector.
Comprehensive cataloguing to ensure that every object (or significant group) is documented with a unique number and a database entry is the goal. You should be able to answer the questions 'What have we got?', 'Where has it come from?' and 'Where is it now?' I can help you gain control of your collection.
Data cleaning and validation
The key to any documentation system is good, clean, accurate data. This is especially crucial when migrating data from one system to another, such as upgrading from Modes for Windows to ModesXML. I can assist with or undertake data cleaning that ensures a smooth migration.
Getting your data online is a great outcome, serving your community and researchers world-wide and enhancing your reputation. I can advise and assist you to get your data online.
Museum information doesn't stop with cataloguing collections. Museums have a wealth of information and knowledge that should be captured for the long term benefit of the institution and utilised for the public good. I can help you to realise the potential of your information resources and make your museum a treasure-house of knowledge.
I have successfully moved numerous museum collections while major developments have taken place in Norfolk over the past 12 years. I can advise on everything including procuring offsite storage, shelving design, packing, transport, valuation, tracking and audit using barcodes.
Managing offsite stores
The shear scale of offsite storage can be daunting and collections can be become lost and disorganised. But with good practice your stores will be well organised and accessible. The key is 'curation at the level of the box' and the use of barcodes as storage item identifiers. Know what is in every 'box' and know where every box is and you are in control.
Auditing with barcodes
With barcodes it is quick, easy and accurate to audit the contents of a large store. Automation is the key to staying in control with few staff resources. I can advise on how to do this.
Email for details: martin.warren[at]talktalk.net