Online Course: Collections Management (Winter 2021)

  • Registration Closed

Session FULL

Please note the Winter Session of Collections Management is now full. If you would like to be placed on the waiting list for the Winter Session, email Visit our 2021 course schedule for upcoming sessions of this course.

An AASLH Small Museum Pro! Online Course

Course Description 

This eight-week course will introduce participants to the professional principles and practices in the management of museum collections. Topics will include collections development, registration and record keeping with an emphasis on the development of Collection Policies and Procedures and what it means to be intellectually and physically responsible for museum objects.

At the beginning of the course participants will be asked to select five objects from their museum to work with throughout the eight weeks. During the course, participants will be working on a collection management policy draft, and conducting some management tasks with their mini-collection objects. 


SESSION DATES: January 25 – March 21, 2021

COST: $195 AASLH Members / $295 Nonmembers

OPEN REGISTRATION: October 1, 2020 - January 11, 2021 ; 30 participant limit

Course Logistics

FORMAT: Online, instructor-led, weekly-paced course

LENGTH: 8 weeks

PARTICIPATION STYLE: Four one-hour online chats, participation is expected for at least two chats - chat schedule to be determined by the instructor at the start of the course - if you are unable to attend a chat you can read the transcript and then post your thoughts/questions in the General Forum; weekly readings and assignments; final course assignment. Students should expect to spend approximately 2-5 hours per week on the course.

MATERIALS: Required Textbook: Things Great and Small: Collections Management Policies, Second Edition, by John E. Simmons, 2017. Optional Resource: Registration Methods for the Small Museum, Fifth Edition, by Daniel B. Reibel, 2017. (Texts are NOT INCLUDED with your registration. You must order the book separately from the book seller of your choice. A discount code is provided after registration.)

CREDIT: Successful completion of this course (80% or higher) will earn one credit toward the Small Museum Pro! certificate from AASLH.

Participant Outcomes

By the end of this course participants will:

  • Develop a detailed draft of a Collections Policy
  • Identify a collection of objects
  • Develop a standardized set of registration records and forms including inventory, catalog, accession, and loans
  • Learn about various registration numbering systems and how to mark objects appropriately
  • Discuss issues related to collections strategies, mission, purpose, and scope of collections
  • Develop a broader understanding of legal and ethical concerns of managing collections

Who Should Take This Course

This course is a beginning level course designed for professional staff and volunteers of historical organizations and libraries with historical collections who have little to no experience with collections management. This course requires participants have access to museum collections to successfully complete this course, either as a staff member, volunteer, or intern.

How to Register

Click here for instructions on how to register yourself or another user for this event. 

Dr. Erin Richardson

Online Course Instructor

Dr. Erin Richardson facilitates museums’ and cultural organizations’ capacity for mission delivery, particularly relating to art and artifact collections. With over 20 years of experience working with museum communities at Five Colleges, Inc in Amherst, MA, Fenimore Art Museum and The Farmers’ Museum in Cooperstown, NY, among other organizations, she founded Frank & Glory in 2018 to assist museums in solving long-term collection problems so that they may effectively serve their communities. Clients include the American Numismatic Society, New Brunswick Museum (Canada), Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, and The Olana Partnership. Her research and writing centers on how New York State’s unique chartering policy for museums affects organization health. Richardson holds a PhD in Leadership and Policy from Niagara University, a MA in Museum Studies from the Cooperstown Graduate Program and a BA in American Studies from the SUNY Geneseo. 

Components visible upon registration.

Click here for instructions on how to register yourself or another user for this event. 

Cancellations/Refunds for online continuing education (webinars and online courses) must be submitted in writing via email or mail. Cancellations made prior to the start date for the online course or the day of the webinar will be given a full refund. No refund will be given after the start date for the online course or on/after the day of the webinar. Registrants may transfer their registration to another person. Registrations cannot be transferred between courses or course sessions. AASLH is not responsible for cancellations that were mailed or emailed but never received.

If you have any questions, please contact AASLH Programs staff at 615-320-3203 or