Museum Archives Section Standards and Best Practices Working Group

About 

The Museum Archives Section Standards and Best Practices Working Group is devoted to exploring, discussing, and documenting examples of museum archives best practices. Focusing on the full range of activities that museum archivists perform, the Working Group selects one topic annually for its project focus. Our Working Group is led by two chairs and comprised of volunteers from the Museum Archives Section’s membership.

Past Projects

Investigation into the Role of the Museum Archivist in the Care and Stewardship of Permanent Records Held Outside of the Archives

 During the 2017-2018 year, the Working Group investigated the role of the museum archivist in the care and stewardship of permanent records held outside of the archives in departments such as curatorial, conservation, and registration. Working Group members conducted nineteen interviews with museum professionals in both archivist and non-archivist roles to investigate current trends in the management, preservation, storage, and access rules of these permanent records and begin to identify best practices for museum archivists. The transcripts of the interviews, along with the results of a survey on the same topic, are located here.

Standards and Best Practices Resource Guide

This online resource guide includes examples of museum archives best practices, such as policies, procedures, and sample forms. We are sharing them in order to help museum archivists create their own guidelines, policies, and procedures. First launched in 2011, the maintenance and improvement of this online collection of best practices is the Working Group’s core project and is regularly updated; the 2016-2017 year’s work is focused on adding and reviewing existing resources for relevance and timeliness.

Advocating for Museum Archives: Personal Essays Project

During the 2014-2015 year, we issued a call to museum archivists for personal narrative essays answering the question, “what does being a museum archivist mean to you?” A diverse group of Section members, ranging from seasoned professionals to colleagues just beginning their careers, volunteered to contribute. The essays are available here.

Born-Digital Records in Museum Archives

For the 2013-2014 year, the Working Group focused its work on the topic of electronic records. We investigated the state of the field in two parts. First, we wanted to understand what our colleagues in museum archives had accomplished with electronic records. We surveyed museum archivists at all stages of electronic records program development, conducting interviews with museum archivists between November 2013 and August 2014. Second, we developed a working bibliography consisting of links to guidelines, articles, and tools to help museum archivists begin their electronic records work. You can access the interviews and bibliography here. We returned to this project during the 2015-2016 year, adding examples of born-digital related forms, training materials, policies, and procedures to our online resource guide. Click here to view the resources.

Past Symposia

Care and Stewardship of Records Held Outside of the Archives (2018)

Work in Progress in Museum Archives (2017)

Born-Digital Records in Museum Archives (2016)

Museum Archives, Advocacy, and Collaboration (2015)

Electronic Records and Museum Archives (2014)

Current Members (2018-2019)

Virginia Angles
Rose Chiango
Caroline Clavell
Ryan Evans
Jessica Gambling
Riley E. Griffin
Marge Huang
Rose Marie Kimball
Cate Peebles
Colleen McFarland Rademaker
Katherine Meyers Satriano
Sara Seltzer
Peggy Tran-Le

Rachel Chatalbash and Megan Schwenke, co-chairs

Join Us

If you are a Museum Archives Section member interested in joining the Standards and Best Practices Working Group, please contact the Working Group co-chairs. Professionals new to the field are welcome!