A guide for determining what is and what is not appropriate for your collection
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- It is not possible to adequately care for everything that people will offer.
- There may be other archives in your network that are better suited to hold some items.
- Items in your collection should align with your mission and/or vision statement.
General Items to Exclude
- No financial records, bills, or items with Social Security numbers.
- Widely published materials (e.g. magazines, books, newspapers) can often be found online.
- Hard to store formats (e.g. perishable food, large paintings) may not be safe or appropriate.
Evaluation Strategy Tips
- Collect as much information about the items as possible, whether digital or physical.
- Develop a collection development policy that helps donors understand how items are appraised.
- Consult with local experts (historians, anthropologists, etc.) who are able to help authenticate items.
Questions about Evaluating Artifacts? Just ask R.U.S.S.
- Relationship: How is this item connected to others materials in this collection?
- Uniqueness: Can the item be easily found in other collections?
- Significance: What is the source of the item and what timeframe does it cover?
- Serviceability: How usable is the item for research and functional for display?