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ICS Sydney - International Conservation Services

preservation needs assessments


What is a Preservation Needs Assessment?


A Preservation Needs Assessment provides clear guidance for the future management of museum and other significant collections. It is an important document for museums and other collecting institutions. Basically, a Preservation Needs Assessment evaluates the policies, practices and environmental conditions of a museum, with the aim of identifying factors which may have an adverse affect on the future preservation of a collection. It will look at the physical condition of a collection and the suitability of current housing, display and storage facilities.

In addition to identifying factors that may affect the preservation and future condition of a collection, a Preservation Needs Assessment provides recommendations for the development of a conservation program.

Some areas that are looked at as part of the Preservation Needs Assessment are (and please note that this is not an exhaustive list):

  • The building (how well it houses the collection)
  • The environment within the buildings where any collection material is stored, housed or displayed
  • The general condition of the collection                                                                                                                            
  • Display conditions
  • Storage conditions
  • Security and access issues   

Why does my organisation need a Preservation Needs Assessment?


Despite the best intentions of those responsible for them, many collections are displayed, stored and managed in ways which are not consistent with current best practice. Sometimes the curators and staff are aware of the shortcomings in display, storage or management of their collections; at other times they are not.

A Preservation Needs Assessment assesses a broad range of factors associated with the management, conservation and environmental conditions of the collection. It provides recommendations to improve collection management practices or environmental conditions in order to ensure the longevity of the collection.


How much does a Preservation Needs Assessment cost?

It depends. Typically, a Preservation Needs Assessment will cost in the range of $3,500-$4,000 (ex. GST) depending on the size of the collection being assessed. Travel and accommodation costs will also need to be considered. If you would like a quote, or any further information, please feel free to contact us.

The National Library of Australia's Community Heritage Grants program often provides funding to community organisations to carry out Preservation Needs Assessments.          


Ok, I think my organisation needs a Preservation Needs Assessment. What happens now?

You can request a quote for a Preservation Needs Assessment, or you can contact us to discuss any concerns you may have about your collection. We would be happy to answer your questions or provide you with further information about either the Preservation Needs Assessment process, or any of our other services.

  PNA - Wollondilly

Where can I go for further information or funding?

If you would like further information about Preservation Needs Assessments, you can:

If you would like to apply for a grant to fund your Preservation Needs Assessment, visit the National Library of Australia's Community Heritage Grants page, which contains information about who can apply for funding, how you apply and how much you can apply for. The Museums and Galleries NSW website also contains information on grant funding.