Policies & Plans

This page provides introductory information on how to develop and maintain a collections policy for your museum, create accession forms, and loan forms.


Creating a Collections Management Policy:

The California State Parks system offers a downloadable guide for writing a Scope of Collections Statement.

The American Alliance of Museums offers a complete guide on Developing a Collections Management Policy.

From Connecting to Collections, a webinar on “Essential Elements of a Collections Management Policy.”

For examples of collections policies, check out the State of Delaware Department of Historical and Cultural Affairs Collections Policy, the collections policy of Aurora Regional Fire Museum in Aurora, IL, the collections plan for the Hale-Byrnes House, operated by the Delaware Society for the Preservation of Antiquities, in Newark, DE, and the collection development policy for Michigan State University Museum’s Great Lakes Quilt Center.

The Greater Southwest Historical Museum also offers an excellent example of a collections management policy.

This source from the Museum & Galleries of NSW is a template of a collections policy, including explanations of the different elements of a policy, examples, and useful fill-in-the-blank sections. Although it was created in Australia, it is still a useful starting point for a small museum collection policy.

Accession Forms

The Ellsworth Historical Society in Maine has a deed of gift form, a cooperative agreement form, and donation information form.

Here are some templates of accession forms from the Illinois State Museum. Included are catalog, condition report, deed of gift, and donor questionnaire forms that cover a range of materials to assure that you receive legal, provenance, and condition information about an object as it enters your collection.

This cataloging manual for small museums by Museums Australia, has a terrific outline of considerations and procedures for cataloging collections.


Need to return those items you have on extended loan from another institution? These sample return letters, one citing limited space another citing increased insurance costs, from the Brandywine River Museum will help.