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Day III: Managing and Digitalizing the Collections in Small Museums


Minna Karvonen and Tapani Sainio, Finland

pdf M Karvonen T Sainio EMAC (1.13 MB) [PDF]

CV Minna Karvonen

Minna Karvonen is Secretary General at the Ministry of Education and Culture, Finland. Before joining the Ministry she worked as Head of Development at the National Board of Antiquities, Finland. She took a master's degree in comparative literature, philosophy and sociology at the University of Helsinki in 1993.

CV Tapani Sainio

Tapani Sainio works as planner for the National Digital Library project. He has studied ethnology, new media and social science history. Previously he has worked at the National Board of Antiquities and University of Helsinki.

Abstract: Europeana and National Digital Library -project

The Ministry of Education and Culture launched the National Digital Library project in 2008. A total of 100 members from 35 organisations are participating in the project.

The remit of the project is to improvethe prerequisites for general access to information as well as for educational and research purposes, to support the arts and creative work by enhancing the digitisation of the most essential materials in libraries, archives and museums, and to ensure the availability and long-term preservation of digital cultural heritage material.

The project aims at creating a common public interface for the electronic information resources in memory organisations and for their online services. The public interface will be deployed in 2011. The project will also include a plan, to be completed in the summer of 2010, for the long-term preservation of electronic cultural heritage materials.

The most essential materials of Finnish memory organisations will also be available on the European Digital Library, Europeana.


Mieke Van Doorselaaer and Anette Gaalman, The Netherlands

pdf Doorselaaer Gaalman EMAC (6.39 MB) [PDF]

CV Mieke van Doorselaaer

1958, historian

- museum advisor for the Province of East Flanders, a regional government in the Dutch-speaking part of Belgium, since september 1998

- co-initiator of MovE (Musea Oost-Vlaanderen in Evolutie/Museums of East Flanders in Evolution)

- specializations: registration and documentation, research in museums, SPECTRUM, financial support of museums under the museum legislation

CV Anette Gaalman

1960, art historian

- museum advisor for the Province of Noord-Brabant, a regional government in The Netherlands, since June 2001

- co-initiator of Thuis in Brabant, portalsite for heritage data in the province of Noord-Brabant; coordinator of the participation of Thuis in Brabant in the European project Europeana Local

specializations: registration and documentation, digitalization, quality management, SPECTRUM, museum accreditation

Abstract: Europeana Local: the gateway to Europeana for regional heritage data

In many countries, regional and local authorities stimulate and facilitate the collective digitalization of heritage information of individual institutions, such as museums and archives. This is also the case in several provinces of Belgium and The Netherlands. Two examples of regional heritage portals from these countries are and

The first one is part of the so-called MovE-project, which means ‘Musea Oost-Vlaanderen in Evolutie’(Museums of East-Flanders in Evolution). In this project many museums in the province of East-Flanders in Belgium participate in the creation of one central database with photographs and descriptions of their museum objects, which is (in part) publicly available on the internet. The second one, Thuis in Brabant (which means ‘at home in Brabant’) brings together heritage data from museums, archives and historical societies in the province of Noord-Brabant in The Netherlands.

On the European level there is the initiative of creating a portal for European heritage data: Data of national museums, archives and libraries of many European countries are aggregated in this portal. Of course it would be very interesting for the future of Europeana to be able to present a wider range of heritage data, and not only those of the national bodies. Because it would be very difficult to organize the individual participation of each museum, library or archive, the idea for the Europeana Local project was born. Europeana Local aims at harvesting the data of regional portal sites to present them within Europeana.

Both the MovE-project (together with another Belgium partner, Erfgoed Plus) and Thuis in Brabant are participants in the Europeana Local project. Once the harvesting of data from these regional aggregators for Europeana has succeeded, other regional portal sites will be able to present themselves within Europeana, according to the approved model.


Arno Stam and Bibi Bodegom, The Netherlands

pdf A Stam B Bodegom EMAC (1.01 MB) [PDF]

[] More information on the Collectie Gelderland, in English

CV Arno Stam

Arno Stam (1953) is museum advisor on registration & documentation at Gelders Erfgoed in The Netherlands. He studied history of art and is now working together with many museums in Gelderland in trainings, advisory work and projects like

Abstract: The challenges of digitalising and making collections of small museums in Gelderland available for the audience


Gelders Erfgoed is a museum advisory board in the province of Gelderland (Guelders) in the Netherlands. Gelders Erfgoed gives advice and training to museum employees on topics in the cultural heritage sector, for example on preserving collections, organizing exhibitions and on documentation of collections. Every year Gelders Erfgoed organizes trainings and workshops how to document the collections of museums and historical societies.


These educational activities and personal advisory work resulted in standardization of documentation (use of the Art and Architecture Thesaurus: AAT), use of standard collection management systems (for Holland this means The Museum System or Adlib Museum) and increase in digitalization of museum collections.

Gelders Erfgoed created a project, called IGEM (Internet Gelderse Musea), a website for museums to show their collections on the internet, through an on line collection database. Created in 2001, the website was initially meant for small museums with small budgets. It started with 5 participating museums and not more than 2,000 objects. The website stimulated museums to improve their object data, to use International standards and thesauruses like the AAT and to work together on these subjects.

The cooperation attracted more museums in the following years. IGEM grew to about 20 participants and ca. 30,000 objects on show. The ideas on collection databases on the internet gradually changed. The possibilities of collections on the internet as being interesting for other than specialist audiences became more common. This gave reason to hold a survey, realized in 2006 and 2007. The results of the questionnaires and interviews confirmed these ideas. 50% of the visitors of IGEM visited the website for other reasons than “research” or “work”. Another important result was that these visitors had some difficulties to find the objects, presented behind a traditional search form.

Therefore, in March 2009, IGEM was presented under a new name and with a new design: The goal of the website shifted towards an exploratory visit of the collections of the now 27 collaborating museums from Gelderland, suitable for the “normal” audience.


Susanna Pettersson, Finland

pdf Susanna Pettersson EMAC (141 KB) [EMAC]


Dr. Susanna Pettersson, Head of Development at the Finnish National Gallery, has specialised in museum history and collection studies. She has published widely on the subject and has edited a number of books; the latest of which are Tulevaisuuden taidemuseo (The Future Art Museum) 2009 and Suomen museohistoria (Finnish Museum history) 2010. She’s been working with collections mobility issues since 2005 being the chair of the long term loans working groups 2006-2007 and 2008-2010. She’s also a WP-leader of the CM2.0 project and the editor-in-chief of Collections Mobility Handbook (2010).


Helka Ketonen, Finland

pdf Helka Ketonen EMAC (698 KB) [PDF]


Helka Ketonen is Senior Adviser at the Finnish National Gallery. Currently also working on a Ph.D. in Art History, Helsinki University. Previously she has worked as a Museum and Cultural Heritage Expert at UNESCO Hanoi Office, Senior Curator at Kiasma and as a Museum Director at Lönnström Art Museum. She has studied art history, cultural anthropology and archaeology at the University of Helsinki and the University of Georgia, USA.

Abstract: Art Museum collections – developing tools and co-operation between Finnish art museums

In my presentation I will introduce two different programs by the Finnish National Gallery, Community Relations and Development Department (Kehys), which support collection management practices among art museums in Finland.

1) A pilot program for developing good practices for long term loans has been running since 2006 between the Finnish National Gallery and three regional museums: what have we learned from these three different approaches and what can be recommend for the future cooperation among museum collections.

2) Cataloguing Art Collections. This manual for art collections was written among the collection management curators, research and conservators staff in the Finnish National Gallery and published online by Kehys in 2009. There was a need to synchronise cataloguing terminology as well as practices regardless which technical choices museums have made. Special focus was on contemporary collections, art photography and conservation issues, where synchronising was most urgent and needed.


Leon Smets and Judith Tegelaers, Belgium and the Netherlands

pdf L Smets J Tegelaers EMAC (4.35 MB) [PDF]

Abstract: Climate-network: New environmental guidelines and how to bring them up to museums?

Climate Network

Three years ago a consultative group on new apprehension and guidelines about the museum climatic environment was launched in the Netherlands, and shortly afterwards in Flanders, called ‘the climate-network’. The founding organizations – in Holland: the ICN, the national service for the government properties, the National Contact of Museumadvisors, the national service for the cultural heritage, the National Inspectorate for the heritage and the Technical University of Eindhoven, and similar institutions and organizations in Flanders  – already had a long tradition in counseling on climate issues. Firstly the consultative panel has formulated the basic assumption which was seen as important: the ASHRAE standards (2007 American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers), not to focus solely on the collection, but also on the building, often an historical monument. Within short term the first outcomes of the consultative meetings appeared: a congress, a publication and a guide to practice climate measurement. 

New environmental guidelines and how to bring them up to museums?

Since more than three decades already, museumadvisors endeavor to inform and educate collection managers in museums in order to implement the ideal museum environment in their exhibition spaces and stores. But what is the ideal climatic environment for the preservation of collections? What are the requirements? The publication by Garry Thomson ‘The Museum Environment’ is already more than 30 years the reference work. The tight requirements were the worldwide accepted standards hitherto. These target standards however make stringent demands on the museum climate and are decisive criteria for loan traffic. In reality they are difficult to achieve and often lead to a sky-high energy bill. The new insights and guidelines recently published in the Netherlands (‘Klimaatwerk’ or Climate Custom-made) supply a more realistic approach for the museum environment, based on a better knowledge of the (reaction of) materials, the acceptance of certain risks and the appraisement of the (historic) building and the collection items. Our presentation elucidates these new guidelines and discusses how to put this new approach across to the museums.


Rebecca Schoeters, Belgium

pdf Rebecca Schoeters EMAC (1.17 MB) [PDF]


Rebecca Schoeters (1975)

degree in history and archaeology

working experience:
museumconsultant for the province Flemish Brabant since march 2002 with brief interlude (september 2009 till february 2010) as project officer 'collection storage' for the province East Flanders.

Abstract: Developing a collection storage policy in Flanders

Since may 2008 the new cultural heritage decree of the Flemish Community is in force. It stipulates amongst other things that the provinces are best placed to assume a control rol in the problems of collection storage and therefore asks them to moderate the issue.

Each province accordingly has made up a cultural heritage policy plan with strategic goals concerning collection storage and by extension collection management. Based upon this policy plan an agreement is concluded between each provincie and the Flemish Community. To implement the provisions of the agreement each province receives a grant and in the future employment grants will be available. The exact impact of the policy plan varies by province, but the principles are much the same.

First of all collection storage can't be considered as a separate given. Good (or bad) collection storage  is closely related to registration and documentation, the acquisition policy, and the overall maintenance and management of collections. Therefore, the provincial collection storage policy doesn't only deal with the installation, conversion or construction of physical collection storage building, but also - and especially - with the collection management of museums, local history societies, church boards, archives, ...

Secondly improvement of the level of collection storage on location is the first aim of each province. External collection storage shall only be an alternative if storage on the spot really is'nt possible. One is convinced that a lot of the collection storage problems of small (and even big) institutions can be solved by increasing the expertise of the employees, by introducing better storage equipment and methods, and especially by improving the collection policy. The latter also implies collection mobility and applying selection criteria.

This belief is supported by research in different provincies on the needs and expectations of collection managers (museums, local history societies, church boards, archives, ...). Research has indicated that collection-owners prefer to keep their collection as long as possible on the spot. They are reluctant towards transferring (part of) their collection to an external collection storage building.

This is partly explained by the contextualization of their objects and the fact that they  like to keep their collection within reach. But the fact that there hardly exists external collection storage building in Flanders at the moment also plays a role.

The latter also implies that it is a rather unexplored area for the provinces. There are also several directions possible. That's why there exist different preferences and each province at this moment operates in a different way: some create their own collection storage building, others will co-operate with collection caring institutions such as accreditated museums.

Important however is that the procedures for different models of this kind of collection storage models are drawn by all provinces together. There are 3 different models determined namely a joint model, a transit model and an emergency model. For each model is a process developed by an inter-provincial working group.

There is also an inter-provincial working group active who is working out a listing of points of management for a good collection storage. By the end of 2010 there should be a booklet that helps employees preparing policy decisions concerning collection storage.

There has been some work done, but there remain different challenges for the near and distant future:

- how can we create more awareness of the museums and other collection owners on good collection storage and consequently on applying a sound collection policy

- how can we achieve and apply selection criteria for different kind of cultural heritage

- which is the best solution for collection storage models, namely the joint model: setting by material or thematic, a regional or centralized location, ...

- what is the most efficient way of cooperating with new players in the field such as centers of expertise

- which staff profile is best fit best for future employees within the collection storage policy

- and in particular, how do we museumadvisors tune in with these developments


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