Risk Management > Introduction
Asset and Risk Management
Risk Management includes the identification and management
of the Museum's assets first before a risk management plan is
fully developed. Here assets are not restricted to the physical
assets of the Museum's collections and the financial assets.
These also include intangible assets addressed under Stewardship.
These intangibility assets include the Museum's intellectual
capital including its organizational information, knowledge,
and management practices; the stakeholder capital; and the valued-added
capital of the collections, augmented through research, conservation
and interpretation. These, too, must be managed. While these
are addressed, the focus of this section involves an assessment
and resources for risk management of the interior spaces and
elements of the buildings.
Ideally, the Museum is able to practice proactive conservation
and risk management to reduce the need for non-preventive treatment,
and reduce the level of intervention necessary to mitigate physical
and cultural loss caused by risk and correct the underlying
For-profit enterprises work toward increasing their assets
through risk management practices, which reference to the adage,
"No risk: no reward," implying a recognition of risk
yet associating greater levels of risk with increasing need/result
of economic reward for shareholders.
For museum stewards, greater risk to the collections can not
be justified by greater economic reward. The principles and
equation must be different, yet also result in increasing reward
to the stakeholder value of the collections.
For museum stewards the applicable adage is:
"Know risk. Know reward."
Here, knowledge of risk management practices will help reduce
risk while concurrently increasing the reward to stakeholders:
- Staff, working for the Museum as a knowledge-based learning
organization, who are trained in risk management, and play
a proactive, participatory role in stewardship with an understanding
of their performance-based responsibilities and rewards.
- The public, as stakeholders, who are engaged with value-based
Society activities, which include active, ongoing interpretation
of risk management through collections stewardship and preservation
- Review and incorporate added methodologies for risk management,
including those developed by the Canadian Conservation Institute
(see below, under Resources.)
- Identify tangible and intangible assets that are at risk.
- Inventory the physical assets (the collections), including
an identification of the risks posed to specific/related collections.
- Assess in the context of Museum plans and policies, including
a Information and Communication Management System.
- Identify and assess the underlying cause of the risk, not only
the resulting conditions/pathology.
- Understand and formalize the relationship between risk and
change, with a monitored organization-wide risk-management framework
to ensure consistency of approach.
- Understand and quantify (as some risks, in combination, are
synergistic) combinations of risks and their interaction.
- Define specific risk threshold levels.
- Identify the severity of specific risk, assessed in terms of
loss (economic, cultural, etc.) and probability or likelihood
- Integrate risk management with the goal of enhancing "stakeholder"
value by shifting responsibility for risk management away from
compliance to proactive, organization-wide holistic stewardship,
and its interpretation to an engaged public.
- Develop a response strategy that favors preventive conservation
to minimize the need for physical intervention to treat objects.
- Identify risks that are in control and that can be
- Identify risk that are beyond control and little can
be done to manage them. Develop contingency, triage, mitigation
and response plans.
- Address severity, which is the sum of its impact assessed
in terms of collections and financial loss, and the probability
or likelihood of occurrence.
- Develop management or response plan, with five options:
- Transfer the risk(and/or risk management) by transferring
it to a third party that is in a better position to manage
- Avoid the risk by taking a different course of
- Reduce the risk by taking action that minimizes
its impact or probability.
- Place some contingency in place that allows the
Society to cope with the complications of risk, should it
- Accept the risk and its consequences.
for Preservation of Museum Collections, Canadian
The Framework for Preservation of Museum Collections
outlines various methods that can be used to avoid or control
potential deterioration to museum objects. This online version
is based on the popular wall chart available from CCI.
The rows list nine agents of deterioration that affect
museum objects, and include the type of damage that each
can cause. The first five agents (direct physical forces;
thieves, vandals, and displacers; fire; water; and pests)
are widespread throughout the world. The last four agents
(contaminants; radiation; incorrect temperature; and incorrect
relative humidity) are of particular concern to museums.
The agents are listed in rough order of importance according
to their potential for damaging artifacts. Each term chosen
describes a destructive agent. For example, "temperature"
in and of itself does not cause damage, but 'incorrect temperature'
"The columns present three different levels at which
the agents of deterioration can be controlled: Building
Features, Portable Fittings, and Procedures. Building Features
and Portable Fittings are listed separately because they
usually have different budgets and personnel, and because
they are dealt with at different times in the life of a
museum. Building Features and Portable Fittings are further
subdivided by location of artifacts: on display, in storage,
or in transit. The Procedures column outlines actions that
can be taken by staff or contractors once the building features
and portable fittings are in place.
A 19-video series on preventive conservation. Each chapter
is the script of one of the videos. Subjects include an
introduction to preventive conservation, storage, the condition
report, relative humidity and temperature, the care of textiles,
protecting objects on exhibit, emergency and disaster planning,
and closing a seasonal museum.
Framework for the Preservation of Museum Collections Wall
Chart, published by the Asociaciòn para la Conservaciòn
del Patrimnio Cultural de las Américas and the Library
of Congress, under licence from the Canadian
Conservation Institute. Available at Preventive
Conservation and the Care of Collections.
This chart outlines various methods that can be used to
avoid or control potential deterioration of museum objects.
The rows list nine agents of deterioration (direct physical
forces: thieves, vandals, displacers; fire; water; pests;
contaminants; radiation; incorrect temperature and incorrect
relative humidity), while the columns present three different
levels at which the agent deterioration can be controlled:
the building (architectural or engineering elements), portable
fittings (items or modifications that are generally purchased
on an operating budget), and procedures (actions that can
be carried out by museum staff). The procedures column outlines
actions that can be taken.
Damage and Decay, Volume Three (Light and Ultraviolet
Radiation, Humidity and Temperature, Biological Pests, Dust
and Pollutants, Common Deterioration Processes), reCollections:
Caring for Collections Across Australia, Commonwealth of Australia
on behalf of the Heritage Collections Council (2000).
Rayner, Jenny. Managing Reputational Risk. New York:
John Wiley & Sons, 2003. [Amazon]
This book shows how any organisation can apply simple risk
management principles to build stakeholder confidence and
safeguard and enhance reputation. It positions reputation
and its associated threats and opportunities where they
rightfully belong: in the domain of the board room, at the
heart of good corporate governance, leading-edge strategy
development, effective risk management, corporate responsibility,
comprehensive assurance and transparent communications.
It illustrates, through numerous examples of good - and
not so good - business practice, the importance of respecting
and nurturing reputation as a critical intangible asset.
It demonstrates how mastery of reputation risks can enable
an organisation to be seen as responsible and responsive,
as well as equipping it to meet the challenges that lie
Herman, Melenie , George L. Head, Toni E. Fogarty, and Peggy
M. Jackson. Managing Risk in Nonprofit Organizations :
A Comprehensive Guide, John Wiley & Sons, 2003. [Amazon]
This book explains and defines risk management, especially
as it applies to nonprofits. It provides comprehensive guidance
on such topics as identifying risk, prioritising risk, selecting
appropriate risk management techniques, implementing risk
management techniques, monitoring risk management, and financing.
Frame, J. Davidson. Managing Risk in Organizations : A
Guide for Managers. Jossey-Bass, 2003. [Amazon]
This book offers a proven framework for handling risks
across all types of organizations. In this comprehensive
resource, the author examines the risks routinely encountered
in business, offers prescriptions to assess the effects
of various risks, and shows how to develop effective strategies
to cope with risks. In addition, the book is filled with
practical tools and techniques used by professional risk
practitioners that can be readily applied by project managers,
financial managers, and any manager or consultant who deals
with risk within an organization.
Borge, Dan. The Book of Risk. New York: John Wiley
& Sons, 2001. [Amazon]
In this book, one of the most highly regarded industry
experts illuminates the delicate process of making decisions
in an uncertain world and helps both lay people and professional
risk managers understand the role of "risk-management"
in their work, their lives, and their businesses. This book
will enable professional risk managers to truly grasp the
concepts behind their tools, and it will enable their clients
(investors) and their coworkers to understand them as well.
Handy and easy-to-read, this book provides a down-to-earth
look at an exciting field that has practical applications
Schreider, Tari. Encyclopedia of Disaster Recovery, Security
& Risk Management. Crucible Publishing Works, 1998.
Crucible Publishing Works announces the release of the long
awaited second publication from disaster recovery and risk
management expert Mr. Tari Schreider. The Encyclopedia of
Disaster Recovery, Risk Management & Security is a 300+
page spiral bound manual, which provides over 2,000 pieces
of research on the subjects of disaster recovery, risk management
and security. The Encyclopedia is a comprehensive reference
guide organized by easy to follow icons allowing quick navigation
to areas of specific interest.