Collection care

Collection care refers to the methods of storage and display of collections items as well as basic approaches to condition reporting, environmental monitoring and control of pests.


reCollections is a six-volume Australian publication about caring for a wide range of collection materials, developed by Artlab and Australian conservators for the Heritage Collections Council. It includes information about collection storage, display and handling and a glossary.

Please note that reCollections was published in 1998 and some contact details for the publishing organisations may not be current. The Ministry for the Arts, Attorney-General’s Department is the custodian and copyright holder of reCollections. Enquiries about this publication can be directed to:

The information contained within the series can be relied upon to inform collection preservation activities.

Guidelines for Environmental Control of Cultural Institutions (2002)

These guidelines were developed by the Heritage Collections Council to assist in developing appropriate environmental strategies to optimise the preservation of cultural objects while in storage and on display.

The following Guidelines emphasise the analysis of local climate conditions and appropriate building strategies, which might minimise the reliance on full airconditioning. Even where air-conditioning might be employed, minimising external loads, and appropriate operation of the building in response to the local climate, may have significant benefits in reducing energy costs, and the incidence of catastrophic failure of the environmental control systems.

The Ministry for the Arts, Attorney-General’s Department is the custodian and copyright holder of the above resources. Enquiries about this publication can be directed to:


Heritage Collections Council Guidelines available for download:

HCC Guidelines Part 1

HCC Guidelines Part 2

HCC Guidelines Part 3

HCC Guidelines Part 4

HCC Guidelines Part 5

Best practice model for conservation and preservation assessment plans for cultural collections (1999)

A conservation assessment plan is the first step in the process of conserving objects and collections for the future. Ideally, the conservation plan is used by those with responsibilities for objects and/or collections to help organisational planning.

The plan needs to methodically address all issues affecting the conservation of an object or collection including threats or risks to the object or collection. This should result in a prioritised set of recommendations or actions and suggested strategies for achieving them.

The preparation of conservation and preservation assessment plans is considered integral to the conservation and preservation of museum collections. Good conservation and preservation assessment plans involve assessment of priorities based on a knowledge of the significant items in a collection as well as records of the history and context of an object or objects within an organisation.

The following report was produced by the project consultancy team; Artlab Australia, the History Trust of South Australia and the State Library of New South Wales.

The final project report is in two volumes.

National Conservation and Preservation Policy and Strategy 1998

The National Conservation and Preservation Strategy for Australia’s Heritage Collections was a joint Commonwealth, State, and museum sector initiative through the Heritage Collections Council (HCC), formerly the Heritage Collections Committee.

The aim of the strategy is to implement the National Conservation and Preservation Policy for Movable Cultural Heritage, endorsed by the Cultural Ministers Council (CMC).

Collections Council of Australia Conservation Survey 2006

The Conservation Survey 2006 was a survey of the collections sector in Australia. A total of 310 organisations were invited to participate in the Survey and 143 organisations provided responses. The survey captured a diverse and representative range of experience from across the country to form the basis of recommendations about conservation and preservation needs in Australia in 2006.

Collections Council of Australia Conservation Survey 2006 available for download

Conservation Survey 2006

Other Website resources

Key Needs of Collecting Institutions – This study reports on the key needs of heritage collections held in a range of public institutions, particularly libraries, museums, galleries and archives.

This study was completed by Deakin University Faculty of Arts Cultural Heritage Centre for Asia & the Pacific. The main objective was to identify the current and foreseeable key needs of collecting institutions. Regional and remote collections are an important group for this study.

State Library of Queensland’s Caring for collections video series: Caring for collections is easy when you know how. With the assistance of these short videos, be a custodian of our history and learn how to preserve your collection for future generations to enjoy.

Museum Handbook: Museum collections – National Park Service, a US government organisation.

Conserve-O-grams – detailed information sheets on every aspect of caring for a collection.

CCI Notes – collection care information sheets from the Canadian Conservation Institute.