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Friday, May 30 • 2:50pm - 3:10pm
(Case Studies in Sustainable Collection Care Session) Securing The Future of Collections in Zimbabwe’s National Museums through Preventive Conservation: The Case of Zimbabwe Military Museum

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The overall aim of the paper was to establish sound preventive conservation practices to ensure the protection of the collections for posterity.
The objectives of the paper were:
  1. To examine the museum’s policy on preventive conservation
  2. To assess the storage of collections in store rooms
  3. To assess the museum’s regulation of micro-environmental conditions in store rooms
  4. To assess the museum’s housekeeping practices in store rooms.
  5. Data collection instruments used included desktop survey, interviews and observations. The results of the study indicated that the museum has no policy that addresses issues of preventive conservation. Rather it has a draft paper on collections management prepared by its parent organisation, the National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe (NMMZ) which is yet to be adopted as a policy. However, the draft paper is not clear on how issues of preventive conservation should be addressed. Additionally, the storage conditions are poor as evidenced by makeshift storage structures used in housing the collections. Besides that, micro-environmental conditions within storage areas are not regulated and the problem has been worsened by poor housekeeping practises which saw most collections on shelves affected by dust and pests. It was recommended that the museum should invest in preventive conservation efforts to secure the future of its collections. This is particularly important as there is no a qualified conservator at the museum to carry out remedial conservation on deteriorating collections. Moreover, preventive conservation is cheaper in the long run compared to remedial conservation which requires the services of qualified conservators which the museum lacks. Another recommendation given to the museum was that it should institutionalise preventive conservation by making it part and parcel of the job description of museum staff. This will act as a constant reminder to museum staff about the need to be proactive on preventive conservation thereby ensuring best practices in collections care. Finally, it was also recommended that the museum should formulate a policy on preventive conservation which gives guidelines and standards on issues of preventive conservation thereby leading to a prolonged life span of collections.

Session Moderator(s)
avatar for Sarah Nunberg

Sarah Nunberg

Conservator, The Objects Conservation Studio, LLC
Sarah Nunberg, principal of The Objects Conservation Studio, LLC, has been working as a conservator since 1989. She specializes in conservation of archaeological, ethnographic, decorative and contemporary art, treating objects made of wood, ceramic, stone, metal, glass, skin, leather... Read More →

avatar for Davison Chiwara

Davison Chiwara

Lecturer, Midlands State University
I have a passion in the conservation of cultural property. I am very much interested in preventive conservation. I hold an Honours Degree in Archaeology plus a Masters Degree in Museum Studies. I also have a Post Graduate Diploma in Tertiary Education. I have presented research papers... Read More →

Friday May 30, 2014 2:50pm - 3:10pm PDT
Grand Ballroom A