Collections > Buildings > Systems


Recognize that building systems are distinct yet interrelated components of the collection — and that a building's physical, functional, and cultural integrity and performance is vital to conservation and interpretation of all collections.

Through documentation, assessment, treatment and interpretation it is helpful to develop an integrated approach to, and stewardship of, the buildings systems: their interrelationship, design, assembly and construction, use, performance, maintenance — and physical, functional, and cultural integrity.

Develop and implement a systems-based collections stewardship system by which the work on any material, element, assembly, and system:

  • conforms to pertinent preservation standards;
  • is conducted in concert with other collections needs; and
  • through stewardship, guided and approved by conservators.

Mirror the nature of these systems— and the benefit of their coordinated stewardship — through collaborative departmental efforts, trans-disciplinary teamwork and decision-making, and cost-effective and collective-sensitive prioritization and preservation.

The objective of this approach is to develop an understanding of how the systems of the buildings integrate to protect themselves and other collections. Seemingly insignificant problems in one system may contribute to failures in other systems, eventually posing a risk to the entire structure and the collections.

For example: a failed gutter, combined with a poorly sloped site, will eventually weaken the foundation by allowing water to enter the basement (as is the case in some structures). This, in turn, will increase humidity in other parts of the building through the process of rising damp. Therefore, it is imperative that each building system be monitored regularly, and problems or deficiencies corrected immediately.


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