The Society for Historical Archaeology
Forum on Collections Management


Welcome!

On this site you will find a range of materials intended for use as part of the upcoming Forum on Collections curation at the SHA meetings in Austin TX, January 5-9 2011. The session abstract is pasted below for your information. The Forum takes place on Saturday morning, Jan 8th, from 9-12am. The materials on this site offer background reading on several levels, as well as an “Assessment Framework” that serves the foundation for the Forum, and outlines the underlying approach to the working session.

Unlike most sessions at this conference, the Forum is designed to be a working session with the active participation of attendees. Our goal is to generate a set of working documents as decision-making tools for managing and assessing collections, and can which can be refined and improved through active use both in the field and in the repository. The driver for this project, and for the Forum, is an understanding that we as historical archaeologists must begin to work together towards addressing the ‘curation crisis’, rather than continuing to take management decisions on a case-by-case basis.

If you have limited time, we encourage you to just to read through the “Assessment Framework” document, which is an essential preparation for the Forum discussions.  If you have questions about this session please feel free to email Giovanna Vitelli, giovanna@fossoyeur.org or Mark Warner, mwarner@uidaho.edu.

We look forward to seeing you at the session!

Terry Klein

William Moss

Bob Sonderman

Giovanna Vitelli

Mark Warner

FORUM ABSTRACT

Invisible Archaeology: an SHA working session on collections, curation and stewardship

At the 2010 SHA meetings, a panel discussion entitled “Drowning in Artifacts: A Discussion on Deaccessioning Artifacts and the Implication for Historical Archaeology” produced stimulating and thought provoking discussions. The session opened up a wide range of issues associated with the overall curation problem. As a continuation of these discussions, we have organized a working session where participants will have an opportunity to focus on the key issues associated with curation of the archaeological archive, and identify an action plan for the SHA to address these key issues. The session will be in both large group format for overall discussion and presentation, and in small group breakdowns to work on selected issues, likely to include topics such as field collection and curation strategies, post-field sampling and methods of classification, demonstrating the value of existing collections to the public and to the discipline, and the future of de-accessioning.

Proposed Assessment Framework for Responsible Collections Management

PDF Version        

 

Professional Societies' Ethics Statements

Society for Historical Archaeology
Society for American Archaeology
American Anthropological Association
Society for Applied Anthropology
Register of Professional Archaeologists

 

Documents Pertaining to Collections Management

General Articles

Selected Bibliography on Collections Management
Society for Historical Archaeology Collections Statement
Department of Defense Guidelines for Field Collection

Articles on the Curation Crisis

Contemplating the Future, 1999
Archaeological Curation in the 21st Century, 2000
Society for American Archaeology, 2003
Science Magazine, 2007
San Diego Archaeological Center

Deaccessioning

New York Museum Deaccessioning Survey Report
Kentucky Heritage Council Deaccessioning Guidelines
Sandpoint Archaeology Project Collection Management Protocol

State Level Collections Management

Arizona Curation Crisis Report, 2006
California State Historic Resources Report, 2010
Colorado Curation Crisis Report
Kentucky Heritage Council Deaccessioning Guidelines
Maryland Collections Standards
Maryland Compliance Checklist

 

Useful Links on Collections Management

1996Common Ground Thematic issue: “Collections and Curation” Vol 1, No 2)
http://www.nps.gov/archeology/cg/vol1_num2/index.htm

1995 Federal Archaeology (now Common Ground) thematic issue “The Curation Crisis”
http://www.nps.gov/archeology/cg/fd_vol7_num4/index.htm (the curation crisis)

NPS Midwest Archaeological Center useful summary link on sources on archaeological curation
http://www.nps.gov/history/mwac/reference_materials/curation_info/curation_info.htm

Florida Keys national marine Sanctuary, permit guidelines for deaccession/transfer of artifacts
http://floridakeys.noaa.gov/sanctuary_resources/deaccession_transfer.html

Illinois State Museum, link on collections-note in particular they highlight the deaccessioning of 600 boxes of artifacts (most being FCR)
http://www.isas.illinois.edu/collections/index.shtml

Maxwell Museum Collections management policy, including deaccessioning criteria
http://www.unm.edu/~maxwell/arch_collections_policy.html

National Park Service Doc on managing Archaeological collections
http://www.nps.gov/archeology/collections/index.htm