Date of Graduation

Winter 12-16-2016

Document Access

Project/Capstone - Global access

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Museum Studies


College of Arts and Sciences


Museum Studies

First Advisor

Stephanie A. Brown


Natural history museum collections are an invaluable learning tool for audiences of many ages. However, learning experiences can be hampered if collections are poorly managed. Inconsistent object numbering systems, scant information associated with a specimen, and differences in records management styles of individuals in the same organization all stem from the lack of collections management standards set forth by some institutions. Natural history museums historically manage their collections in a decentralized manner, with each collections department responsible for its own objects, managing records as the staff sees fit. This report advocates for the unification of collections in natural history museums in order to centralize accessioning methods and optimize record entry. By means of a literature review, project proposal, and action plan, the report argues that unification of collections in natural history museums will enable them to meet their missions of public education.