Description: U.S.Fish and Wildlife Service  126 FW 3, Planning, Inventory, and Reports

FWM#:    325 (new)
Date:        October 7, 1997
Series:      Library and Museum Services
Part 126:  Museums
Originating Office:  Division of Refuges  

3.1 Planning and Surveys. Service units responsible for managing museum property must complete the following planning documentation and surveys. Planning affecting museum property requires the involvement of appropriate curatorial staff and discipline specialists to ensure that preservation standards are fully addressed.

A. Service Museum Property Plan. This plan provides a long-range management framework to bring the Service into full compliance with Departmental, legal, and regulatory requirements. This plan is prepared and reviewed annually by the Service Designated Authority to ensure the accuracy of its objectives and is based upon survey information reported in response to the procedures in this chapter. The plan, approved by the Director and submitted to the Department upon request, provides a general timeframe for accomplishing identified tasks and funding estimates for correcting management deficiencies.

B. Unit planning. Each Service unit responsible for managing museum property must develop or be covered by a plan that discusses the scope and nature of its collection; documents the types, numbers, and status of materials in its collection; and, addresses management problems and actions needed to correct deficiencies associated with its collection. Unit planning must address the following elements:

(1) Scope of collection statement. Defines the purpose of the unit's museum property, sets the parameters of collecting activities, and discusses appropriate uses of the collection. The unit's scope of collection statement must be signed by the unit manager, reviewed by the appropriate designated authority, and approved by the Region's Museum Property Administrator (see paragraph 1.6F). Under certain circumstances, a unit's scope of collection statement may be addressed as part of a Regional plan, such as when a unit is responsible for managing only archaeological collections on long-term loan to a non-Service institution.

(2) Collection management plan.

(a) The collection management plan states problems associated with the management of the collection; describes, sets priorities, and provides cost estimates for needed corrective actions; and identifies who is responsible for initiating necessary work. A unit must have its own collection management plan if it is responsible for a sizeable museum collection that is maintained to meet the unit's management objectives. Otherwise, the unit's plan may be covered by a Regional plan or the collection must be transferred to another Service unit or non-Service facility that meets the standards described in this chapter.

(b) A unit's collection management plan must also address emergency planning that identifies vulnerabilities to collections from earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, and other catastrophic events and describes steps to respond to such emergencies. Units may address emergency management planning for their collections as part of other Regional or unit management plans as well.

C. Surveys. Unit surveys are tools to assess the condition of collections and their management status.

(1) Museum property survey. A unit must complete a museum property survey documenting the status of its collection management documentation, describing the types and number of objects by disciplinary category held by the unit, documenting the number of objects managed by a non-Service repository on a long-term loan, and providing a list of non-Service facilities managing the unit's collection (or portion thereof). Unit museum property surveys must be reviewed at least annually and updated when significant changes in the status of collections have occurred using the information outlined in the table found in Exhibit 1.

(2) Units are encouraged to use the Department's Checklist on the Preservation, Protection, and Documentation of Museum Property as a tool to assess the condition of collections and help in identifying documentation, accountability and preservation weaknesses that are measured against the Department's standards. Refer to 411 DM, Volume 1, Appendix E, of the Department's Museum Property Handbook for a copy of the checklist.

(3) Units should complete a conservation survey of their collections to record environmental conditions, the condition of museum property, and determine and plan for necessary conservation treatment. Conservation surveys are valuable tools for recording baseline data for assessing changes to collections over time. Units are required to complete conservation surveys when responsible for museum property that is particularly sensitive to environmental conditions, valuable, or that has been on display for an extended period of time.

3.2 Reports. Museum Property Administrators and unit managers are responsible for preparing and submitting the following reports covering each fiscal year.

A. Museum Property Survey Report. Each unit responsible for managing museum property must submit an updated copy of its museum property survey described in paragraph 3.1C(1) to the appropriate Regional Museum Property Administrator at least every 5 years commencing in 1998 or whenever significant changes in the size and condition of the unit's collection have occurred.

B. Museum Property Management Summary Report. Regional Museum Property Administrators will submit a regional museum property summary report for units under their jurisdiction to the Service's Museum Property Officer by December 15 of each year covering the previous fiscal year's activities. The format for the table that is part of the summary report is found in Exhibit 1.

3.3 Compliance Reviews. Regional Museum Property Administrators will conduct regularly scheduled reviews of regional museum property programs and operations of units on a 4-year cycle to ensure compliance with Federal Property Management Regulations and consistency with 126 FW 1-3 and 310 FW 1.7. The Service Museum Property Management Officer will conduct regularly scheduled reviews of the museum property management program and operations of Headquarters and Regional Offices on a 4-year cycle. If funds are not available for the purpose of conducting onsite reviews, questionnaires may be used in lieu thereof.

3.4 Inventory.

A. Inventory. Personal property (including museum property) inventories of Service units are required by 410 DM 114-60.3 and 411 DM 3.4. As part of an annual inventory process, unit managers will physically verify, or verify in writing, the presence and condition of museum property listed in their inventory for property located in both Federal and non-Federal repositories. Depending upon the size, complexity, and location of collections, museum property inventories may be conducted simultaneously with Regional personal property inventories required under 310 FW 3. Unit managers are required to conduct an annual museum property inventory using the following criteria and established Regional reporting and accountability standards.

(1) A 100% inventory of all controlled museum property is required, unless the appropriate designated authority has approved an exception and an alternate plan for units responsible for large amounts of controlled museum property.

(2) A random sample inventory of all other cataloged museum property is required, unless the collection has fewer than 250 cataloged objects or specimens, in which case a 100% inventory is required.

(3) A 100% inventory, by accession number, of all accessioned but as yet uncataloged museum property is required, unless the collection has 25 or more uncataloged accessions, in which case a random sample may be used.

(4) A 100% inventory of all museum property may be required if the inventory of property indicates that a substantial loss has occurred or a significant number of items are unaccounted for.

(5) A 100% inventory or a certification is required whenever the designation of accountability for museum property changes.

Unit managers must submit a copy of their completed inventories to the Museum Property Administrator for review and verification within a time frame established by each Regional Office. Museum Property Administrators are responsible for comparing unit inventories against Regional museum property surveys and records to ensure accuracy and make corrections.

B. Mandatory Inventory Requirements. All inventories completed under 3.4 A. must verify the following:

(1) item count

(2) the location of the museum property

(3) accuracy of the documentation

(4) accuracy of object number(s) wherever it occurs

(5) condition of the object

C. Inventory Reconciliation. Museum property is subject to the same annual inventory reconciliation as described in 310 FW 3.5, except that museum property records are not reconciled to a general ledger account. Museum property found during the inventory, but not previously listed in the inventory records, must be accessioned and/or cataloged and added to the inventory in accordance with 411 DM 2.3F and 2.3G. Units will initiate the following actions for missing or damaged museum property:

(1) Process Reports of Survey (DI-103) in accordance with 410 DM 114-60.8. Note, however, that the dollar value threshold cited in 410 DM 114.60.8 does not apply to museum property.

(2) Deaccession museum property, if appropriate, when the Board of Survey has completed its work.

(3) Units may wish to request an investigation by the Department of the Interior Inspector General in accordance with 355 DM 2 and 410 DM 114-60.811.

D. Board of Survey Qualifications. The membership of Boards of Survey must include qualified individual(s) possessing the appropriate background and experience relevant to the category of museum property being surveyed.

E. Inventory Certifications. Service Museum Property Administrators will certify in writing by October 31 of each year to the Museum Property Management Officer that physical inventories of museum property have been completed and reconciled annually for each Region in accordance with paragraphs 3.4 A, B, and C above. (See 310 FW 3.6 and 410 DM 114-60.304).

3.5 Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act Inventory. Museum Property Administrators are responsible for maintaining an inventory of applicable museum property objects under their control as required by 43 CFR 10. This inventory should be treated as a separate inventory from the annual museum property inventory required under paragraph 3.3.A, but must be consistent with the provisions of this Part and 43 CFR 10. At a minimum, the NAGPRA inventory must address the following categories of information for each set of human remains or object:

A. Name of responsible Service unit.

B. The item (human remains, associated funerary object, etc.).

C. The item's accession number.

D. The item's catalog number.

E. A brief description of the item.

F. The geographic area where the item was excavated, removed, or acquired.

G. Information on the acquisition source of the item.

H. A summary of results of consultation with representatives of culturally affiliated tribes, etc. in relation to the item.

I. A summary of evidence used to determine the cultural affiliation of human remains or an associated funerary object.

For additional information about this policy, contact the Division of Visitor Services and Communications. For information regarding this Web page, contact Krista Bibb, in the Division of Policy and Directives Management. 

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