How do I? - help sheets

Find information on a wide range of topics relevant to the practice of history, running museums, collections management and conservation. Search by keyword, category or tagged topic to locate the information you are seeking. Each helpsheet relates to an area of the National Standards for Australian Museums and Galleries (NSAMG).

Code of Ethics (Museums Australia) a summary

Museums Australia’s Code of Ethics for Art, History and Science Museums (1999) was developed to provide ‘a reference point’ for governing bodies and individual museum workers. The statements in the code are ‘intended to be measuring sticks against which current museum policy and practice can be tested for ethical content’. The Code of Ethics deals with institutional ethics and professional conduct.

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Interpretation policy/plan: guidelines to writing

An Interpretation policy/plan sets the framework within which the museum presents its key objects and tells its key stories.

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Housekeeping schedule

Museums and collection items do need cleaning. The Housekeeping schedule provides a method for planning cleaning activities in both display and storage areas.  Housekeeping activities can be very time consuming so it is worth taking the time to work out what needs to be cleaned, how often and using what methods and resources.

This helpsheet provides a template and guidelines for planning housekeeping activities for collections and museums.

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Historical research: an investigative treasure hunt

Whether you are gathering background information about objects in your collection or working towards a display, guided tour or educational program, sound research is essential. Developing good research skills and practices will ensure you find the most accurate and most interesting information, and take advantage of the widest possible range of sources. It will make research more enjoyable and rewarding and will result in a better end product.

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Display techniques and supports

Appropriate object supports, display materials and techniques are important factors in designing and developing displays.used when displaying collection items. Displaying items incorrectly and without proper support over an extended period of time can cause irreparable damage.

This Help Sheet introduces some principles for safe and effective display of items. It also provides basic guidelines for identifying items that require support, and for making and using appropriate supports.

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Display interpretation and writing

Writing for displays and interpreting objects, places and themes is a rewarding task but can be tricky.  The help sheet provides information and ideas about interpreting objects, buildings and places, tips for developing themes, stories and messages for interpretation and some nuts and bolts about writing well for displays.

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Managing pests in the collection: Integrated Pest Management (IPM)

We are all familiar with the type of damage pests can do. Moths in the wardrobe, termites in the floor, mice in the pantry - pests can damage both buildings and collections, sometimes destroying them completely.

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Volunteer guidelines writing guide

In order to run effectively, museums need to have both a Workers policy and Volunteer guidelines outlining the rights and responsibilities of volunteers and the responsibilities of museum management towards volunteers. This Help Sheet will help you to write Volunteer guidelines.

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Review of display/interpretive programs: template

Displays and other forms of museum interpretation don’t last forever. By following this review you will be able to critically assess your display/interpretation and make decisions about changes that need to be made.

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Pictorial material donation and reproduction forms: examples

It is essential to record information about pictorial material donated to your museum and to make sure that you have permission to reproduce the material in museum displays and other forms of interpretation or museum publicity.

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