During your visit to the museum, you will likely share information with staff about the collection items and associated records. Collection records often include catalog records, accession records, and conservation reports [link to sample records in appendix]. The accuracy and amount of information in collection records varies from one museum to another, from one part of the collection to the next, and from item to item.

When working with museum staff, everything you share during the visit might become part of the museum’s permanent records. For example, museum records may include photos taken of you in collections storage areas, a story you shared about a collections item, or a transcript of the audio recording of your meeting with staff. Ask questions and talk with museum staff to reach an agreement regarding access to the information you share. With your permission, museums might use information and images from your visit for educational, noncommercial purposes such as publications, research, websites, social media, and exhibits.

Museums retain much of their documentation as digital files. Digital technology raises many questions and issues regarding access, ethics, and appropriate uses.

Let the museum know:

If you want to review and/or edit the information and comments you shared before they become part of the museum’s permanent records.

If you want to restrict any of the information you shared.

If you want the museum to provide you with copies of the notes, photographs, audio, and video recordings generated during the visit.

If you plan to make your own recording using video, audio, and/or photos.

If the museum is unable to limit access to parts of its records, this might influence what you decide to share.

About these guidelines

This project was funded by the Anne Ray Charitable Trust with additional support from the National Museum of the American Indian.

Guidelines Project Credits

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