Managing your collection

When your collection starts to grow, you will eventually want to find a way to manage it all. When was the last time you checked your collection for their condition? Do you already own a certain type of jewellery that is offered to you? Believe me, there will be a point in time when you do not know all your pieces by heart anymore! Here are a few things to keep in mind when managing your collection.

1 Purchase details

Always keep track of your purchases. Save the invoices from online sales in a collection folder and note down the prices you paid (and in which currency) when buying in real life. If the invoice does not contain a photo, describe the item. Keeping records of your purchases is important for provenance issues later: you will be able to prove that you bought the item from a trustworthy dealer, an auction house or that you acquired it yourself on your travels. A photograph of the happy moment after the sale with the object in view is not only a wonderful memento, but also helps your memory.

2 Object details

Photograph, weigh and measure your object and write these measurements down. Photograph the item from various sides, front and back: this will also help you in case of unexpected theft or loss. Find comparisons in your reference library or online, and note down in which book or article, on which page there is more information on your object.

3 Organize it all

For smaller collections, you can easily start by keeping an Excelfile with purchase and object details. Give each item its own unique number and place that number also in the filename of both invoice and photographs, so they are easily connectable. An Excelfile has the advantage you can import it in a database later. Working with a database is also a good option from the start, when you know you set out to really assemble a collection. And if you want to start professionally, here are some free museum collection software packages you may want to check out:

Collective Access

Collection Space

Omeka