CAP Program Glossary

Accession - An accession is an object or collection of objects accepted into the permanent collection of a museum. Accessioning is the formal and legal process of adding the object to the collection.  

Born Digital - Materials whose originals were created in digital form.

Building Assessment - A survey of the physical structure(s) of a museum. Provides information about issues such as zoning, accessibility, mechanical and electrical systems, etc.

Catalogued - An object is catalogued when information about that object is recorded. May include information such as title, creator, materials, dimensions, provenance, photographs, etc.

Collections - The objects or species of historical, artistic, scientific, or cultural significance in the museum’s custody that a museum holds in trust for the benefit of the public.

Collections Care - Collection care includes the preservation, development (growth, enrichment, etc.) and use (display, research, etc.) of collections.

Collections Management Policy - A written document outlining how an institution will manage their collection. May include the institution’s policies regarding collections related issues such as collection access, accessions, authentication, collections care, deaccessions, ethics, emergency preparedness, loans, etc.

Condition Report - A written and/or visual document of an object’s condition including identifying information about the object, as well as a detailed account of the type, extent, location, and date of any damage, former repairs, visual documentation such as photographs or diagrams, name of the examiner, and the date of the report.

Conservation - Conservation is the profession devoted to the preservation of cultural property for the future. Conservation includes examination, documentation, treatment, and preventive care, supported by research and education.

Conservation Assessment - A general assessment of a small- or mid-sized institution’s collections, buildings, and building systems, as well as its policies and procedures relating to collections care. The assessment observes current conditions and identifies problems, as well as suggests steps that can be taken to improve moving forward.

Conservation Plan - An institutional plan to improve collections conservation.

Conservator - A professional whose primary occupation is the practice of conservation and who, through specialized education, knowledge, training, and experience, formulates and implements all the activities of conservation in accordance with an ethical code such as the AIC Code of Ethics and Guidelines for Practice.

Data Logger - An apparatus that documents environmental conditions such as humidity and temperature at fixed increments over a long period of time. 

Deaccession - The formal and legal process of removing previously accessioned objects from the listed holdings of a museum’s permanent collection.

Disposal - The process of physically removing an object from a collection.

EIN - Employer Identification Number. The IRS assigns this 9-digit number to organizations for use on tax returns. 

Emergency Preparedness Plan - A museum emergency preparedness plan focuses on preventing, preparing for, and mitigating the damage from events that endanger people and collections.

Environmental Monitoring - Tracking environmental conditions such as relative humidity, temperature, light, air pollution, and pests as part of long-term preservation efforts.

Ethnographic artifacts - Cultural objects that provide information about the people by whom they were created or used.

Herbarium - Dried plant specimens preserved for reference and study.

Inventoried - Inventoried objects are objects whose basic identifying information and physical location is recorded.

Preservation - The protection of cultural property through activities that minimize chemical and physical deterioration and damage and that prevent loss of informational content. The primary goal of preservation is to prolong the existence of cultural property.

Preservation Plan - An institution’s plan to improve preservation of their site.

Site - The entire complex including land, buildings, and exhibition areas that make up a museum.  

Structure - The physical building(s) that make up a museum.  

TIN - A Taxpayer Identification Number is often used synonymously with Employer Identification Number - the 9-digit number assigned to organizations by the IRS for use on tax returns.