Safety First: A Canada-Wide Survey


Purpose of this Survey
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 Purpose of this Survey

How safe is your small museum, archive or historic site? Is your institution compliant with profusion of government standards and codes designed to protect your staff, your visitors, your artifacts and your physical facilities? Do you have a health and safety handbook, and regular staff training for day-to-day and emergency procedures? Does your staff have a clear grasp of the risks inherent in certain artifacts and in the materials used to treat and clean them? Do you feel that you could do better in any of these respects?

A document like the Standards for Community Museums in Ontario rightly points to the necessity of formalized health and safety policies, but it offers little guidance as to precisely how one might bring a small institution in line with the latest museum practices or federal, provincial and municipal regulations.

In our search for readily-accessible models of policies and procedures appropriate for a small museum setting we have found some good sources in certain areas of museum administration. For instance the Collections Management Policies and Procedures Manual for the historical society in Keswick Ridge, NB (PDF) is exemplary for its its scope, its concision and its clarity of organization. If your institution complies with a comparably sound handbook, then you will likely be in good shape when it comes to such things as standards for governance, collecting, exhibition and storage.

We have found no such readily-accessible handbook in the domain of healthy and safety. And most of the useful information that does exist is dense or over-specific. Based on our researches and our conversations with small museums administrators, we find that what’s needed are sound and clearly-stated policies and procedures tailored to your institution’s physical fabric, artifacts, activities, clientele and budget. Given that there are thousands such institutions throughout Canada with similar needs, it makes sense to begin by producing some general health and safety guidelines that will set you on that path.

To produce the desired handbook we will require information about the nature of collections and levels of health and safety preparedness in small museums, archives and historic sites throughout Canada. If you’re an administrator at one such institution we hope you can take a few minutes to participate in the survey below. As soon as we’ve taken stock we will summarize the result and help institutions find the information they need.

We require survey applicants to submit the institutional name and contact information. This helps us to ensure that you are who you say you are; to avoid duplicate entries; to understand regional needs; and to contact you with any further questions or updates as appropriate.

We will protect the confidentiality of all survey results. These will be stored on secure servers, and will only be accessible to the Small Museums team. Unless you have requested that we not contact you, email addresses may be used to ask for clarification or provide you with updates.

Thank you for your attention, and for any information you can provide.

UPDATE: Some respondents have indicated that they were exited from the survey after hitting enter. To avoid this please do not hit enter, and be sure to navigate using the scroll bar to the right of the survey box.

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