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Accessioning and Cataloguing: PastPerfect. By Rachel E. Coleman. Things to keep straight. Donor (the person donating an object or a group of objects) Accession (a single donation – it might be only one object, or it might be a large number of objects) Individual Object

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Accessioning and cataloguing pastperfect

Accessioning and Cataloguing: PastPerfect

By Rachel E. Coleman


Things to keep straight
Things to keep straight

  • Donor (the person donating an object or a group of objects)

  • Accession (a single donation – it might be only one object, or it might be a large number of objects)

  • Individual Object

  • Accession Number (number given to an individual accession, i.e. 2009.10)

  • Catalogue Number (number given to an individual object, i.e. 2009.10.03)


The process

The Process

Following Rachel Coleman as she accessioned and catalogued an accession this past summer


Initial contact
Initial Contact

1. A man named Jack Shropshire contacted Maria, expressing interest in donating an engine.


Decision to accept
Decision to accept

2. Maria and Michael talked, and decided that they would accept the engine.


Informing of acceptance
Informing of Acceptance

3. Maria sent a letter informing Mr. Shropshire that they would accept his engine and giving him instructions regarding sending it to the Museum.


My turn
My Turn!

4. Maria then gave me all of the information Mr. Shropshire had given her about the engine, and told me that I would take over from there.


After receiving the donation sending the deed of gift
After Receiving the Donation:Sending The Deed of Gift

5. When the Museum received the engine in the mail, I sent Mr. Shropshire a letter informing him of his engine’s arrival. This letter included two copies of the deed of gift for him to sign, legally placing the engine into the Museum’s care.


January 27, 2009

Dear Mr. Shropshire

The spitfire engine that you are donating to the Museum arrived safe and sound on Monday, June 2nd. Thank you for honoring us with this donation and for taking the time to see that it was mailed to us safely.

Since the engine’s arrival I have been working on the process of cataloging it in our collections. To finish this process I have included with this letter two copies of the Deed of Gift form. This is the form that legally transfers ownership of the artifact to the Museum. Please sign both copies and return them to me in the provided envelope. Once I receive them I will sign them and mail one back to you for your records. If you have any questions, please feel free to call me at (765)-287-1256 ext. 508 or e-mail me at [email protected]

Thank you again for your donation of the spitfire engine. The Museum is dependant on generous donations such as the one that you are making. With your donation you are helping secure the story of model aviation for generations to come.

Sincerely,

Maria K. VanVreede

Registrar

National Model Aviation Museum


Donor and accession files
Donor and Accession Files

6. I created a donor file for Mr. Shropshire, and an accession file for the donation. I recorded the accession in Maria’s accession book, and gave the accession an accession number.


Things to do on paper
Things to do on paper

  • Accession Book – each accession is recorded as it comes in: accession number, date received, date processed, catalogue numbers included in the accession.

  • Donor File – this folder contains information on each donation that the donor has made, and all communication between the donor and the museum.

  • Accession File – this folder contains a copy of the catalogue files for each object in the accession, along with additional research, etc., that there may be on any of the objects.


Things to do on computer pastperfect
Things to do on Computer (PastPerfect):

  • Accession Record – this includes information about the accession and is linked to the donor record, and to the catalogue records for each object in the accession.

  • Donor Record – this includes information about the donor and is linked to the accession record for each donation.

  • Catalogue Record – this includes information about an individual object, including description, storage location, condition, etc, and is linked to the record for the accession it is a part of.


Accession record in pastperfect
Accession Record in PastPerfect

7. I created an accession record in PastPerfect. I entered information about the donation and connected the record to Mr. Shropshire’s already existing Donor Record.


Creating an accession record
Creating an accession record

  • Accession Number

  • Donor (and donor information – address, etc)

  • Short description of each item in the accession, along with their catalogue numbers

  • Dates: first contact, donation’s arrival, etc.

  • Who entered this record

  • PastPerfect will generate a deed of gift and form arrival and thank you letters from the information you enter in this record.


Creating a donor record
Creating a donor record

  • Once you have entered in all of the donor information (address, etc) once, you need not do it again, even if you have another accession from the same donor.

  • When you click to view the donor information, the program will list all of the donations he has made, along with their accession numbers.


Catalogue record in pastperfect
Catalogue RecordIn PastPerfect

8. Next, I gave the engine a catalogue number and created a catalogue record in PastPerfect for the engine.


Creating a catalogue record
Creating a catalogue record

The PastPerfect catalogue record will include:

  • Collection (this category will thus link all items in a given “collection”)

  • Object ID (catalogue #)

  • Source (donor)

  • Credit Line (if the person who actually owned the item died, and his wife wants to donate it, this line would give him credit)

  • Home location (where the item lives permanently)

  • Object name, Category, and Subcategory (This is a way of organizing all objects across all museums so that searches, etc, are easier)

  • Other Name (this is only filled in if another name will make the item more searchable to the museum possessing it)

  • Dimensions

  • Image

  • Description (very brief and to the point)

  • General (this section records what the item is made of, when it was used, and other general information)

  • Legal/Related (Legal = any legal issues. Related = any objects that are intimately related to it)

  • Condition (detailed record of the objects condition when it arrived, and at varying points since)

  • Location (has the item been removed for cleaning?)

  • Notes (any additional information needed)


Classification
Classification

  • Museums that use paper records only often record the catalogue record on a 5X8 card and then file the cards by their classification (chair, teapot, etc).

  • Today, museums use a universal system of nomenclature, thus eliminating confusion.

  • Today, many museums use computerized databases like PastPerfect. These allow for searching and organizing objects by thier classification, thus serving as a more efficient version of the old paper card file.


Important information
Important information

  • It is critically important to make sure to fill out the catalogue record completely and accurately. Anything important to know about the object should be recorded. It is the catalogue record that makes the object valuable; without it, the object would have no provenance or meaning.


Tagging and storage
Tagging and storage

9. I attached the engine’s catalogue number with a paper tag and wrote the number on the engine with a pencil. I thenplacedthe engine in storage.

Different museums use different systems for tagging. Some use paper tags, others paint or draw the number on the object, etc. It often depends on the nature of the object.


Completing the deed of gift
Completing the deed of gift

10. When I received the signed deeds of gift in the mail from Mr. Shropshire, I had Maria, as registrar, sign them both.


Thank you letter
Thank you Letter

11. I then sent one copy of the deed of gift back to Mr. Shropshire, along with a thank-you letter and a pamphlet of information about becoming a Museum Patron.


Dear Jack Shropshire:

Thank you again for donating your model engine. This engine is an excellent addition to the museum's collection, because we only have two Anderson Spitfires in our collection at the moment, and neither is this specific make. As part of our program for preserving aeromodelling artifacts, items are rotated on and off exhibit to give the item a chance to rest. Because of this I can not promise that the engine will be on permanent display, but it will always be available to researchers in our storage area.

If you have some time in the near future, I would appreciate it if you could possibly write down some information on the history of the engine. Having this type of information in the files for the objects helps us and researchers when performing research and writing exhibit labels. Anything that you feel is important for us to know about the item can also be sent to me to place in the file. If you have any questions, please contact me at 765-287-1256, ext. 508.

Enclosed with this letter is the final copy of the Deed of Gift form. Please keep this form for your records. Also enclosed with this letter is an application for the Museum's Patron program. This program offers several benefits for you, and directly supports the Museum as we work to preserve the history of model aviation.

Thank you again. It is only with the help of generous people like yourself that the museum is able to succeed.

If you are ever in the Muncie area, please visit the Museum and say "hello."

Sincerely,

Maria K. VanVreede

Registrar


Filing the information donor file
Filing the information: Donor File

12. I placed the other copy of the deed of gift into the donor file along with a copy of the arrival letter and thank you letter and the original correspondence Maria had had with Mr. Shropshire about the engine.


Filing the information accession file
Filing the information:accession file

13. Finally, I placed a copy of the deed of gift into the accession file along with a copy of the catalogue record and other information we had about the engine.


The final result
The Final Result:

  • Accession # and Catalogue #

  • Accession Book

  • Donor File

  • Accession File

  • PastPerfect:

    • Accession Record

    • Donor Record

    • Catalogue Record


For safekeeping
For Safekeeping

  • I gave a copy of the engine’s catalogue record and accession record, both printed off of PastPerfect, to Maria to send elsewhere for safekeeping in case something happens to PastPerfect and the paper records kept in the museum.




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