Welcome to the Collections Caretaker e-Newsletter from Northern States Conservation Center. The newsletter is designed to bring you timely and helpful content that is pertinent to situations we all encounter in our museum and archives work. Feel free to let us know what topics you would like to see featured in Collections Caretaker or even contribute an article.
In This Issue

The Loan Wolf Shooter
Instructor Spotlight
Featured Course
September Online Courses
October Online Courses
Featured Product
Regional Workshops
Conferences and Meetings
The Lone Wolf Shooter
By Stevan Layne
We have been overwhelmed by recent events, most of which involve an individual (sometimes more than one) acting independently to shoot and kill people they don't know. Several targets have been uniformed police officers. Other targets have been random...firing into crowds...driving a truck into crowds.   The results are the same whether targets are planned or random.   Any place where people gather is a potential target including small museums, libraries, historic sites, or anyplace open to the public.

There's no need to be looking for someone who has been "radicalized."   These kinds of acts have been committed by individuals in society who may be influenced by drugs, alcohol, mental unbalance, or religious fervor.   They have taken place for a long time, and they're not about to stop.   If assault rifles aren't available, there are plenty of other weapons to choose from.   It appears that these events are on the increase, perhaps because our media coverage is more detailed and more frequent. There are some who feel that the media is often responsible for encouraging tragic events by giving these individuals the opportunity to have a larger audience.
If you want to avoid any possibility of exposure to a violent act, stay home, barricade your doors and driveway, board up your windows, and stockpile food and water. Certainly not practical, nor desirable. A more reasonable approach is to make everyone you work with aware of the potential threats and encourage their reporting even rumors of someone with a threatening attitude.   We need to thoroughly screen all regular staff, part-time staff, volunteers, and even contractors.   Criminal histories are the first step.   Don't hesitate to ask about someone's thoughts on the current state of affairs, especially acts of terror. Terrorists are NOT a protected group and you don't have to worry about discriminating against them. Someone who appears to admire violent acts, has access to weapons or seems exceptionally involved with weapons needs to be identified and dealt with in an appropriate manner.   This may include reporting to law enforcement, direct confrontation, or even termination of employment and barring from the property.
Secure your building and its perimeter.   No one should have the ability to enter your facilities without your direct observation or electronic access, preferably both. Package inspection for both staff and visitors is essential. No one wants to change their lifestyle by staying away from public events.   However, a realistic attitude is to use caution and to always look for escape routes from any building, including retail outlets, movie theaters and other public buildings. Do something to give the appearance that your property is secure and the staff alert. Be visible. When sponsoring a special event, assure that security staff or hired police officers are available and alert to threats. Is all of this necessary?   Only when it's necessary.   You may have operated in a vacuum, safe from any threats for your entire history. That has nothing to do with avoiding attacks in the future.   Perpetrators can come from any location, any level of society, any race or religion.   Be suspicious. Be prepared. These comments and recommendations are opinionated, harsh, and may seem unrealistic. They are shared, however, by most of my peers, the experienced law enforcement agencies. Be safe!   Don't hesitate to contact us for additional information.
Stevan P. Layne is the principal consultant and chief executive of Layne Consultants International, a leading provider of cultural property protection advice. Steve is a former police chief, public safety director and museum security director. He is the author of Safeguarding Cultural Properties: Security for Museums, Libraries, Parks and Zoos, and the Business Survival Guide. Steve regularly presents to professional associations and has consulted with more than 400 museums and other institutions. Steve is the founding director of the International Foundation for Cultural Property Protection and responsible for the professional training and certification of more than 1,000 museum professionals. For more information visit his web site Layne Consultants International.
Stevan Layne also teaches the MS107: Introduction to Security course through 
Instructor Spotlight
Paint Your Wagon and Come Along!
By Terri Schindel
As a program of the Museum Training Network (501C3), the Mobile Conservation and Training Lab answers the collections care, conservation services, and educational programming needs of small, rural, and tribal museums, libraries, archives and other entities managing cultural resources. The MTN Mobile Lab delivers on-site services and teaches technical skills so that all participants can increase their skill level, implement professional practices, and complete collection care/preventive conservation projects.
Rich in cultural resources, the Rocky Mountain Region does not have a conservation laboratory that services the area. The MTN Mobile Lab offers museums, libraries, and cultural institutions a way to train onsite both paid workers and volunteers. Additionally, the MTN Mobile Lab offers conservation services and on-site care of collections.
The MTN Mobile Lab is equipped to teach the following topics:
  • Preventive conservation and collections care techniques
  • Care of collections in storage and on exhibit
  • Collections Management
  • Grant writing
  • Planning and creating professional exhibits and utilizing the Mobile Lab equipment
  • Risk assessment and disaster preparedness and response planning (including response and drills)
  • Facilities assessments and environmental monitoring
The MTN Mobile Lab travels spring and fall with the MTN provider/trainer revisiting the host site two times per funded project. Implementing training objectives is a collaborative effort by participants who gain valuable hands-on experience. Home projects are completed 12 to 18 months under the supervision of a conservator.
In 2016 -17' we will be conducting a statewide program in North Dakota, delivering Connecting to Collections 3, (C2C3) a Professional Development and Technical Services program funded by the State Historical Society of North Dakota, in-kind contributions from host institutions, participants and cash donations to
The MTN links recognized experts to train a certain topic and they collaborate with local and regional people to implement home projects. Their participation is determined by a site needs assessment and topic interests. MTN's providers are independent, stand-alone businesses, and they are responsible for their own insurances and travel expenses to the site.
Information about the Museum Training Network, 501c3, Mobile Conservation Laboratory and donating to MTN can be found at 
Terri Schindel, graduated from the Courtauld Art Institute, University of London with a concentration in textile conservation. Since 1988 she has taught disaster preparedness, response, recovery and salvage, collections care and preventive conservation online and in-person to museum, library and archive staff. Ms. Schindel specializes in delivering collections care and preventive conservation workshops to people working in small, rural and tribal museums. She is familiar with the many challenges and lack of resources facing these institutions. Ms. Schindel is committed to maintaining the uniqueness of each museum while ensuring that they serve as a resource for future generations.
Terri teaches two of our Disaster Preparedness courses: MS205/206 Disaster Plan Research and Writing, and MS002 Collection Protection -- Are you prepared?(a short course).
Early Bird Discounts Available for Full Length Courses
An Early Bird Discount is available for anyone who signs up for a full length course from 30 days prior to the start of that course.  
Sign up for a full length course up to 30 days prior to its start and save $100.00!
For our course list or to sign up:  
To take advantage of this discount, you must enter coupon code EARLYBIRD at checkout at

The Early Bird Discount deadline for October courses is September 3, 2016. 
Featured Course: Retail Store Management for Small Museums

Retail stores play central roles in museum operations. Most museum managers and their boards or tribal councils recognize stores' revenue potential. But stores can also help serve the museum's educational mission, support perpetuation and revitalization of traditional arts, and impact audiences beyond the museum's doors. Utilizing expert perspectives and examples from diverse museum stores this course will explain why a museum store should not be just a "gift shop" and will present guidance on inventory management, buying and pricing, retail display, staff training and other administrative issues faced by museum store managers.

Join Karl Hoerig for this interesting and informative course, MS254: Retail Store Management for Small Museums starting September 5, 2016 
September 2016 Courses
September 19 to 23, 2016
Instructor:  Helen Alten
Whenever an object leaves or enters your museum, it should have a dated condition report completed. A condition report is so much more than "good" or "poor." Learn about different types of condition reports, what is essential and what is optional information in each, the function of a condition report, and how to use an online condition assessment tool.
September 5 to 30, 2016
Instructor:  Kimberly Kenney
The United States has more than 17,000 museums, we can only guess at the world's total. While most people think of a museum as a well-staffed, professionally run institution, the vast majority of museums are started and run by people with little or no basic training in museum studies or preservation. Introduction to Museums is designed to change that. The course introduces basic concepts, terminology and the role of various staff members, including curators, registrars and directors. Introduction to Museums is aimed at staff members, board members, interns, volunteers, as well as anyone interested in becoming a museum professional or learning more about the profession.
September 5 to 30, 2016
Instructor:  Helen Alten
One of the great benefits of the 21st century is the abundance of materials for storing and displaying collections. Materials for Storage and Display covers this vast array in detail. Lectures and handouts separate materials by properties: rigid, padding, barrier and attachments. Slide shows illustrate the use of each. The course emphasizes acid-free materials and how to retrofit less appropriate materials. Materials for Storage and Display keeps current with the latest materials available for preservation. Using material testing as a decision making tool is covered. Participants receive notebooks with samples of all of the materials discussed.
September 5 to 30, 2016
Instructor:  Karin Hostetter
Have you done some evaluation but did not get helpful information? Do you wish you could do evaluations, but think it is too hard or too expensive? Do you wonder how to get people to use an offered program more? Evaluations are feasible and easy. This course will help you determine what you really want to know, choose the right process to gather the information, develop meaningful questions, and figure out what the results tell you. Please have a program or text in mind (real or imagined) to work with during the course. Note: this course will not be looking at statistical analysis.
September 5 to 30, 2016
Instructor:  Karl Hoerig
Retail stores play central roles in museum operations. Most museum managers and their boards or tribal councils recognize stores' revenue potential. But stores can also help serve the museum's educational mission, support perpetuation and revitalization of traditional arts, and impact audiences beyond the museum's doors. Utilizing expert perspectives and examples from diverse museum stores this course will explain why a museum store should not be just a "gift shop" and will present guidance on inventory management, buying and pricing, retail display, staff training and other administrative issues faced by museum store managers.
October 2016 Courses
October 17 to 21, 2016
Instructor:  Diana Komejan
As we march boldly toward the 22nd century, artifact collecting includes that most fragile of materials - plastic. Not only is it in our collections, but it is used to house our collections, too. What problems have you seen? What problems have others seen? What materials are best? What can we, as caretakers, do to minimize long-term damage? Join Diana in this mini-course for discussing care and deterioration of plastics. Bring any questions you have about plastics in your museum.
October 24 to 28, 2016
Instructor:  Karin Hostetter
What do you do with collection objects that no longer belong in the scientific collection but are too good to throw out? What do you do with the donations that just don't quite 'fit?' Use them in education collections. Their value as educational objects for the public is immeasurable.
October 3 to November 11, 2016
Instructor:  Karin Hostetter
Nearly every museum develops exhibits, but how can we improve communication with visitors while taking care of our objects? Exhibit Fundamentals explores exhibits from idea to final installation in a variety of settings. Topics include exhibit theory, the role of the museum's mission, creating a timeline, accessibility and script writing. Also covered are design elements, installation techniques, object safety and security, visitor safety and evaluations. Each student develops an exhibit plan for his or her museum.
October 3 to November 4, 2016
Instructor:  Sue Near
Sound business practices are critical for a museum to fulfill its mission. Sounds like vegetables, right? Museum management is complex. A museum exists to preserve collections and educate, but it is also an institution that must employ sound business practices while being accountable to the public as a non-profit organization. Instructor Sue Near teaches participants how to administer a successful museum efficiently and effectively. Participants will engage in discussions about the changing cultural climate and its effect on museum operations.
October 3 to November 11, 2016
Instructor:  Kimberly Kenney
Acquiring and holding collections impose specific legal, ethical and professional obligations. Museums must ensure proper management, preservation and use of their collections. A well-crafted collections management policy is key to collections stewardship. Collections Management Policies for Museums and Related Institutions helps participants develop policies that meet professional and legal standards for collections management. Collections Management Policies for Museums and Related Institutions teaches the practical skills and knowledge needed to write and implement such a policy. The course covers the essential components and issues a policy should address. It also highlights the role of the policy in carrying out a museum's mission and guiding stewardship decisions. Participants are expected to draft collections management policies.
October 3 to November 11, 2016
Instructor:  Tom Bennett
Sprucing up your exhibits with safe, effective, inexpensive mounts can be easier and more fun than you thought. With a few tools, good technique and a bit of practice, you will be well on the way to presenting your objects in their most interesting light, with an eye on long-term safety and security. Design and Construction of Exhibit Mounts presents the basics of mountmaking for the small to medium-sized museum including tools, techniques and materials. Be prepared to construct mounts during the course. Students will be sent a list of materials and tools to acquire before the course commences. Come along and exercise your creative side while doing the collection a world of good.
October 3 to November 28, 2016
Instructor:  Helen Alten
Safeguarding collections and protecting staff and visitors is one of hte most important functions of a cultural institution. Course introduces students to disaster preparedness, response and recovery of cultural collections for all types of potential hazards. The components of incident preparedness and response are explained with examples from the instructor's experience in recovery of cultural collections, including small to large situations with fire, flood, high winds, and earthquake. After an institutional plan is written, the next step is to train staff in prevention, proper staff actions during an event, and post-event recovery. This course complements Disaster Plan Research and Writing, taught by Terri Schindel.
Featured Product

Saving the Twentieth Century: The Conservation of Modern Materials

Edited by David W. Grattan.

This book focuses on preservation issues related to compact discs, computers, spacesuits, aircraft, plastic dolls, etc. and explains the processes of deterioration, the history of technology, and case studies of specific problems.
440 pp.

Regional Workshops
Where you can find some of our instructors in 2016:

Stevan P. Layne

  • Aspen, CO, August 28-31, 2016
  • Hosted by ASIS International and sponsored by the ASIS Cultural Properties Council, Orlando, FL, September 13, 2016
Terri Schindel
  • Disaster Preparedness and Response Planning and Drills, Aug. 15 -19, Bonanzaville, ND
  • Collections Care/Preventive Conservation, Aug. 22-26, at Sargent County Museum, Forman, ND
  • Preventative Conservation, Care of Collections in Storage and Storage Planning, Aug 29 to Sept 2, Prairie Village Museum, Rugby, ND
Conferences and Meetings
International Foundation for Cultural Property Protection, Aspen, Colorado
August 28-31, 2016
American Association of State and Local History, Detroit, Michigan
September 14-17, 2016
Alberta Museums Association, Calgary, Alberta
September 15 - 17, 2016
Oklahoma Museums Association, Bartlesville, Oklahoma
September 21-23, 2016
Western Museums Association, Phoenix, AZ
September 25-28, 2016.  
Southeastern Museums Conference Charlotte, NC
October 10-12, 2016
Mountain-Plains Museums Association, Oklahoma City
October 23-27, 2016

National Association for Interpretation, Corpus Christi, Texas 
November 8-12, 2016
New England Museum Association, 2016 Annual Conference, Mystic, CT
November 9-11, 2016

Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections, Denver, CO 
June 18-24, 2017

Society of American Archivists, 2017 Annual Meeting, Portland, OR
July 23-29, 2017 
American Association for State and Local History, Austin, TX
September 6-9, 2017
Southeastern Museums Conference, 2017 Annual Meeting, New Orleans, LA 
September 11-13, 2017

International Foundation for Cultural Property Protection, New Haven, CT
September 17-20, 2017

Western Museums Association, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Dates TBA 
New England Museum Association, 2017 Annual Conference, North Falmouth, MA
October 25-27, 2017
National Association for Interpretation, Spokane, Washington
November 14-18, 2017

Society of American Archivists, 2018 Annual Meeting, Washington, DC
August 12-18, 2018

Western Museums Association, Tacoma, WA
Dates TBA 
Southeastern Museums Conference, 2018 Annual Meeting, Jackson, MS
October 8-10, 2018
National Association for Interpretation
Dates and location TBD
November 2018
National Association for Interpretation, Denver, Colorado
November 12-16, 2019

Submissions and Comments
How to submit an article or upcoming workshops for inclusion in the Newsletter:  
If you would like to submit an article, notice of an organizational meeting or upcoming workshop for an upcoming Collections Caretaker Newsletter, send your submission to .  
We are always looking for contributions to this newsletter. Submission deadline is the 10th of each month. 
Have a comment or suggestion?   
Northern States Conservation Center (NSCC) provides training, collection care, preservation and conservation treatment services. NSCC offers online museum studies classes at in Collections Management & Care, Museum Administration & Management, Exhibit Practices and Museum Facilities Management.
Helen Alten, Director
Peggy Schaller, Publications Manager