Over 4.8 Billion Artifacts are held in public trust by more than 30, 000 archives, These artifacts embody the richness and diversity of our heritage and include rare books and manuscripts, photographs, documents, sound recordings, moving images, digital materials, art, historic and ethnographic objects, archaeological artifacts, and natural science specimens. Historical societies, libraries, museums, scientific research collections
American museums, libraries, archives, historical societies, and scientific research organizations are visited 2.5 billion times a year.
26% of collecting institutions has no environmental controls to protect their collections from damaging effects of temperature, humidity, and light.
59% of collecting institutions has had their collections damaged by light.
53% of collecting institutions has had their collections damaged by moisture.
59% of institutions have the majority of their collections stored in areas too small to accommodate them safely and appropriately.
65% of our nation’s collecting institutions have experienced damage to collections due to improper storage.
80% of collecting institutions do not have an emergency plan that includes collections, with staff trained to carry it out.
2.6 billon items of historic, cultural, and scientific are not protected by an emergency plan and are at risk should a disaster strike their institutions.
All collections are at risk for catastrophic loss due to disasters ranging from hurricanes and tornadoes to floods from broken water pipes. Institutions that prepare for emergencies dramatically improve the chances that their collections will survive.
80% of institutions do not have paid staff dedicated to collections care.
71% of institutions need additional training and expertise for staff caring for their collections.
70% of institutions do not have a current assessment of the condition of their collections
39% of institutions have a significant backlog in cataloging their collections.
77% of institutions do not specifically allocate funds for preservation in their budgets.
Only 13% of institutions have access to endowed funds for preservation.
Millions of objects are in urgent need of treatment or attention by a skilled, professional conservator if they are to remain available for exhibition and research. Some may not survive without help:
12.6 million black and white photographic prints
2.5 million scrapbooks, albums, and pamphlets
2.4 million botanical specimens
500,000 works of art on paper
95,000 pieces of historic furniture collection.
Even with limited funding, the museum’s staff and volunteers are tackling these projects so their hometown heritage will be preserved.
*Statistical data above used with permission and gathed throught "A Public Trust At Risk: The Heritage Health Index Report on the State of America's Collection."