NPS Museum Handbook
    What is the Museum Handbook?
    It is a reference guide on how to manage, preserve, document, access and use museum collections.

    There are three parts to the NPS Museum Handbook:
    Part I, Museum Collections
    Part II, Museum Records
    Part III, Museum Collections Use

    NPS Museum Handbook with Quick Reference 23.8 MB (PDF includes all three parts of the Museum Handbook)
    PDF includes quick reference and keyword search ("find") across entire Museum Handbook (Part I, II, and III)

    NPS Museum Handbook Quick Reference
    (PDF includes Quick Reference Only)

    The NPS Museum Handbook, Part I, Museum Collections

    It focuses on standards and procedures of preventive care for musuem collections with information on:

    • Preservation and conservation
    • Emergency planning
    • Handling and shipping objects
    • Integrated pest management
    • Security and fire protection
    • Storage buildings, equipment and techniques

    It also includes numerous appendices on techniques for the preservation of specific types of materials found in museum collections including:

    • Archeological objects
    • Cellulose nitrate film
    • Ceramics, glass and stone
    • Leather and skin objects
    • Metal objects
    • Paintings
    • Paper objects
    • Photo collections
    • Textiles
    • Wooden objects

    The NPS Museum Handbook, Part II, Museum Records

    It provides guidance on documentation and accountability for the following types of objects:

    • Archeology
    • Ethnography
    • History
    • Archival and manuscript collections
    • Biology
    • Geology
    • Paleontology

    It addresses the following topics:

    • Accessioning
    • Cataloging
    • Inventorying
    • Marking objects
    • Record photography
    • Incoming and outgoing loans
    • Deaccessioning

    The NPS Museum Handbook, Part III, Museum Collections Use

    It addresses the following topics:

    • Evaluating and documenting museum collections use
    • Legal issues
    • Publications
    • 2-Dimensional reproductions
    • 3-Dimensional reproductions
    • Special uses of museum collections
    • Using museum objects in exhibits
    • Furnished historic structures
    • Research
    • Guidance for planning research space
    • Reference interview process

    For additional information, click here to email, or write to:

      National Park Service
      Museum Management Program
      1849 C Street, NW, Room NC230
      Washington, D.C. 20240

Museum Management Program