A general conservation assessment is “a study of a museum or cultural institution conducted by one or more conservation professionals which results in the production of a detailed report recommending actions the museum should take to improve the preservation of its collections and buildings.”

Conservation assessments are useful tools for organizations that need guidance in prioritizing their conservation needs and communicating with stakeholders the importance of preserving objects.

This leaflet focuses on collections conservation assessments and the steps small museums should take when preparing and applying for an assessment.

Laurie Booth of Midwest Conservation Services, Inc. guides museums to the resources for applying for a conservation assessment, choosing assessors, and preparation for the on-site visit of assessors.

Included is a discussion of the granting agencies offering assessments, such as Heritage Preservation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, Institute of Museum and Library Services, and the National Endowment for the Arts, and the type of projects these organizations support.

The outline of what the final report should contain and how to use the report once it is completed will guide museums in creating conservation plans and applying for conservation grants.

Technical Leaflet #226 (2004)

For more information on similar topics, please refer to Technical Leaflet Bundle 14, Conservation: Some Basics, and Technical Leaflet Bundle 26, Special Help for Small Museums.