Recommended Publications

Rights & Reproductions: The Handbook for Cultural Institutions, Edited by Anne M. Young
Coming soon! Summer 2015
The Rights & Reproductions: The Handbook for Cultural Institutions will be the first comprehensive resource to focus solely on the rights and reproductions guidelines, established standards and emerging best practices at cultural institutions. This forthcoming publication will be co-published in 2015 by the Indianapolis Museum of Art and American Alliance of Museums. With intellectual property laws and rights and reproductions methodologies ever-changing with new technologies, this digital publication, produced using the Online Scholarly Catalogue Initiative (OSCI) Toolkit platform, will be a living document that can be updated to remain current with trends and best practices.
A preview of the Handbook is available here.

The New Museum Registration Methods, 5th edition, Edited by Rebecca A. Buck and Jean Allman Gilmore
An all-new version of the “bible of museum registrars,” this long-awaited volume contains contributions by over 60 museum registrars and other professionals in the field. It covers documentation, collections management, registration processes, administrative responsibilities, risk management, and ethical and legal issues.  An AAM publication.

A Legal Primer on Managing Museum Collections, 3rd Edition by Marie C. Malaro
This book offers the only comprehensive discussion of the legal questions faced by museums as they acquire, use, and refine their collections. Marie C. Malaro is an attorney, former legal advisor to the Smithsonian Institution, and the former director of the graduate program in museum studies at George Washington University. She is also the author of Museum Governance: Mission, Ethics, Policy.
Available from

Museum Forms Book, Third Edition, edited by Kenneth D. Perry
The Texas Association of Museums is pleased to offer the Third Edition of The Museum Forms Book.  From loan forms to copyright agreement, this compilation of over 400 forms is an important reference book for museum professionals wanting to evaluate and redesign their own record-keeping procedures.

Art in Transit:  A Handbook for Packing and Transporting Paintings, by M. Richard, Marion F. Mecklenburg, and Ross Merrill, Publisher: National Gallery of Art, 1991, 172 pages, ring bound
Table of contents:
1. Assessing Risks
2. Transit Climate Conditions
3. Temperature Protection
4. Relative Humidity Protection
5. Shock and Vibration Hazards
6. Shock Protection
7. Vibration Protection
8. Packing Cases
9. Role of the Courier
10. Glossary
Available as a free .pdf file from:

Collection Conundrums: Solving Museum Registration Mysteries, by Rebecca Buck and Jean A. Gilmore, provides guidelines for investigating the oddities found in every museum collection – objects without record, identification or sometimes even a location – and determining what to do. This new volume contains essential information for museums large and small, new and old. The text offers solutions to the problems of old loans, undocumented objects found in collections, items lost in inventory, supplementary collections and more, as well as guidelines on how to keep problems from occurring in the first place. Features a history of registration methods and the standards for collection documentation and care, along with sample documents such as loan agreements, co-tenancy agreements, storage agreements and deed of gift. Recommended for everyone involved in collections planning and management.

On the Road Again: Developing and Managing Traveling Exhibitions, by Rebecca A. Buck and Jean Allman Gilmore
Organizing a traveling exhibition for the first time or the tenth time? This publication covers all you need to know about touring an exhibition to multiple venues. Part 1 examines developing the show concept, assigning duties to staff, setting a budget, determining fees, negotiating contracts, crating and shipping, and much more. Part 2 is comprised of brief case studies from the field – everything from dealing with foreign customs officials to transporting objects through a tornado. Features sample documents, including contracts and a loan agreement, and a bibliography. Appropriate for staff at all types of museums, particularly those at small and midsize institutions.

Steal This Handbook! A Template For Creating a Museum’s Emergency Preparedness Plan
This handbook covers all aspects of emergency preparedness, response and recovery and includes both major disasters and everyday, potentially dangerous situations. Chapters deal with:  how to organize an emergency plan, standards for collections care and museum operations mitigating the effects of an emergency, procedures to follow during, immediately after, and in recovery from an emergency, stabilization techniques for damaged collection materials and buildings, detailed appendices including resource lists, incident forms, and collection priorities. This spiral bound handbook, 250 pages in length, was written by the Ozark Group for Emergency Preparedness. Why start from scratch when you can Steal This Handbook…well, almost.  A Southeastern Registrars Association Publication.

Basic Condition Reporting: A Handbook, Edited by Marie Demeroukas,
1998, third edition, revised and expanded
This edition contains a variety of basic condition reporting forms. Essays are on a wide assortments of objects and material: archaeological artifacts, basketry, ceramics and glass, ethnographic collections, furniture, metals, natural history specimens, paintings and frames, paper, photographs, plastics, sculpture, skin and leather, textiles This spiral bound handbook, 150 pages in length, was written and reviewed by Southeasten Registrars Association members, registrars and other museum professionals. Packed with valuable resource information, it will serve as a practical guide for anyone who cares for museum collections. Printed in part with funds from Royal and Sun Alliance USA, this is the new definitive work on condition reporting.

Nomenclature 3.0 for Museum Cataloging: Third Edition of Robert G. Chenhall’s System for Classifying Man-Made Objects, by Paul Bourcier, Ruby Rogers, and the Nomenclature Committee, Series: American Association for State and Local History (AASLH),  AltaMira Press,  Cloth 0-7591-1193-6 / 978-0-7591-1193-6. 
New edition, with over 5,000 new terms suggested by individuals who work with special collections. It provides a practical, specific framework for the description of objects by grouping terms hierarchically according to function.   Nomenclature 3.0 is a much-expanded edition of Robert G. Chenhall’s system for classifying man-made objects, originally published in 1978. The Chenhall system is the standard cataloging tool for thousands of museums and historical organizations across the United States and Canada. In this third edition, three new hierarchical levels of terms allow for more precise definitions of objects and their functions. Every classification and object term has been reviewed and revised as needed by a professional task force appointed by AASLH. AASLH has developed a free online community for all users and potential users of Nomenclature 3.0.^DB/CATALOG.db&eqSKUdata=0759111936

Museum Handbook
A reference guide on how to manage, preserve, document, access, and use museum collections, published by the National Park Service, Museum Management Program.  The Museum Handbook is now available online.

Conserve O Grams: Technical Leaflet Series
Short, focused leaflets about caring for museum objects, published by the National Park Service, Museum Management Program.

Registrars on Record: Essays on Museum Collections Management, Edited by Mary Case
This volume chronicles registrars’ daily challenges and registration best practices, provides historical perspectives on the profession, and conveys the excitement of working with a wide range of museum collections.  Experienced registrars write about policy development, legal issues, and new technologies.  An AAM publication.

Courierspeak: A Phrase Book for Couriers of Museum Objects, by Cordelia Rose
The only sourcebook of its kind, Courierspeak is a multilingual, pocket-sized reference on protecting and caring for art and other precious materials during transit. Both a training tool and manual, this book provides a step-by-step guide to courier practices. Key phrases are provided in six languages—English, French, German, Japanese, Russian, and Spanish—and are illustrated with lighthearted cartoons by Anna C. Blofield.
[Out of print, copies may be available from]

Beyond Fingernail Polish III Handbook This handbook includes updated information from Beyond Fingernail Polish I and II along with new information from the workshop, “The Numbering of Objects for Museums, Historical Houses and Private Collections,” presented by Helen Alten, Northern States Conservation Center, AAM Annual Meeting in Portland, Oregon, May 22, 2003. It includes new sections on labeling plastics and bar-coding. It is designed to assist collections staff in making informed choices when marking and labeling collection objects. (162 pages with a 9 page bibliography) Sponsored by the RC-AAM. Contact Devon Pyle-Vowles at to order.