RISK ASSESSMENT OF COLLECTIONS IN EXHIBITIONS AT THE CANADIAN MUSEUM OF NATURE
GARNET MUETHING, ROBERT WALLER, & FIONA GRAHAM
This paper has presented an application of the Cultural Property Risk Analysis Model to the collections on exhibit at the VMMB. The risk assessment provided well documented and thoughtful estimates of current risks to collections on display and it guided the decision-making processes for the VMMB Renewal Project. The project involved the quantification of a comprehensive list of risks and resulted in a list of high priorities. The project also identified a number of other issues, such as deficiencies in the current documentation system, and produced a comprehensive documentation of conditions at a specific time.
The results of the risk assessment provided the Conservation section with evidence to support arguments for improvements in the exhibit environment and helped to prove the need for continual consultation with the Conservation staff throughout the renovation project as well as during the development of new exhibitions. It also provided a means for Conservation staff to communicate with museum staff in other departments, improving awareness of conservation issues with our museum collection. We are confident that the results of the risk assessment will be the mitigation of many of the current risks to the museum collection on exhibit, an improved environment where we can display more of our collection, and documentation that will allow us to periodically update and reassess the situation in the exhibits and set our priorities accordingly.
The authors are grateful to the many CMN staff who contributed their experience in evaluating risks.