Collections Management & Practices; an AASLH Workshop Comes to Bryn Mawr College

Collections Management & Practices

July 11-12, 2013
Bryn Mawr, PA

Host: Bryn Mawr College

Cost: $270 members/$345 nonmembers; $40 discount if fee is received by June 5.

Participants will learn about their institution’s responsibility toward its collection, the necessary policies and procedures, and the best practices of collection management. During lively group discussions and hands-on activities, participants will become familiar with current issues and trends to better understand how collections fit within the context of history organizations. Participants will explore other topics including the role of collections in exhibition and interpretation, the basic steps of collections management from acquisition to disposal, professional standards and ethics, conservation on a shoe-string budget, as well as learning about the multitude of resources available for collections preservation.

Who Should Attend:
This workshop is targeted to new professionals and dedicated volunteers with responsibility for collections.

What Participants Said: “Structured well–time to get to know each other, time to interact about specific problems.” “Particularly enjoyed the participation exercise, followed by practical ideas.” “The thinking through of problems with mission statements, pest problems, and interpretation was helpful.” “I was able to see the ‘big picture’ instead of focusing on my own small concerns.”

StEps Connections:
This workshop may help institutions achieve the standards in the Mission, Vision, and Governance, Management, and Stewardship of Collections sections of AASLH’s StEPs program.

Travel Information:
Bryn Mawr College is just outside of Philadelphia. More information will be coming soon.


Dr. Vicki L. Berger has been a faculty member of the American Association for State and Local History for the long-running Collection Care Workshop for several years. Berger retired from North Carolina state government service in 2003. She served as Curator of Costume and Textiles and Collections Management Section Chief at the North Carolina Museum of History. During that time, she developed and taught Introduction to Museology, the beginning graduate level public history course, at North Carolina State University. Since moving to Phoenix, AZ in 2003, she has worked at the Arizona Historical Society Museum at Papago Park and the Phoenix Museum of History. In addition to her AASLH service, Berger is active in several professional organizations. She is Secretary of the International Council of Museums (ICOM) Costume Committee and travels internationally to participate in the annual meetings. A long-time board member of the Costume Society of America, Berger co-chaired the 2009 national symposium which was held in Phoenix, AZ. She also serves on the boards of the Central Arizona Museum Association, Museum Association of Arizona, and the Costume Society of America Southwest Region. She and costume colleague Sally Queen published Clothing and Textile Collections in the United States: A CSA Guide in 2006. Berger earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the University of Arizona and her Ph.D. at Florida State University.

Helen Alten, is the Director of Northern States Conservation Center and its chief Objects Conservator. For nearly 30 years she has been involved in objects conservation. She completed a degree in Archaeological Conservation and Materials Science from the Institute of Archaeology at the University of London in England. She has built and run conservation laboratories in Bulgaria, Montana, Greece, Alaska and Minnesota. She has a broad understanding of three-dimensional materials and their deterioration, wrote and edited the quarterly Collections Caretaker, maintains the popular website, was instrumental in developing a state-wide protocol for disaster response in small Minnesota museums, and is always in search of the perfect museum mannequin. She has published chapters on conservation and deterioration of archeological glass with the Materials Research Society and the York Archaeological Trust, four chapters on different mannequin construction techniques in Museum Mannequins: A Guide for Creating the Perfect Fit (2002), preservation planning, policies, forms and procedures needed for a small museum in The Minnesota Alliance of Local History Museums’ Collection Initiative Manual, and is co-editor of the penultimate book on numbering museum collections (still in process) by the Gilcrease Museum in Oklahoma. Helen Alten has been a Field Education Director, Conservator, and staff trainer. She began working with people from small, rural, and tribal museums while as the state conservator for Montana and Alaska. Helen currently conducts conservation treatments and operates a conservation center in Charleston, WV and St. Paul, MN.

Tentative Agenda:

The workshop will begin with registration at 8 a.m. on Thursday and conclude at 5 p.m. on Friday. Click here for a copy of the 2011 workshop agenda. Please note that this agenda is subject to change. A final workshop agenda and participant materials will be distributed at registration.

To register: