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Insufficient preservation and protection of important Norwegian museum collections - Doc. No. 3:9 (2002-2003)

At several public museums in Norway, the storage conditions are unsatisfactory. Many collections are poorly protected against environmental factors that can cause damage. Measures that have been taken to protect the collections against theft and disaster are also insufficient. As a result, the prospect of satisfactory long-term storage of the collections has been diminished.
Published 9/16/2003 1:00 PM

This is evident from Document no. 3:9 (2002-2003) Riksrevisjonens undersøkelse av bevaringen og sikringen av samlingene ved fem statlige museer (”The Office of the Auditor General’s study of the preservation and protection of the collections at five public museums”), which was submitted to the Storting (Norwegian Parliament) on 16 September 2003. The study include the Museum of Cultural Heritage and of Natural History at the University of Oslo, the Bergen Museum, the National Gallery and the Museum of Archaeology, Stavanger.

Many collections are stored under conditions that give insufficient protection against environmental factors that can cause damage, such as unfavourable inappropriate climate, damaging lighting and biological decomposition. Moreover, the measures to protect the collections against theft and destruction from causes such as fire, water damage or natural disaster are often insufficient.

Storage conditions and security measures are consistently better at the National Gallery and the Museum of Archaeology, Stavanger, which are under the supervision of the Ministry of Culture and Church Affairs, than they are at the university museums, which are under the supervision of the Ministry of Education and Research.

The study also reveals that there are weaknesses in the management of the museums. Among other things, the university museums have not been sufficiently systematic and methodical in their management of the work of preserving and protecting the collections, and the reporting to the university administration and the ministry has been inadequate.

In their comments on the study, both the Ministry of Education and Research and the Ministry of Culture and Church Affairs maintain that it will not be possible to correct many of the most significant deficiencies without considerable investment in the building stock. Nevertheless, the Ministry of Education and Research states that it is possible to correct a number of the weaknesses that have been demonstrated through measures that can be implemented within current economic constraints. The Office of the Auditor General emphasises the importance of initiating measures to improve storage conditions and further emphasises that the ministries have overall responsibility for ensuring that the collections are preserved and protected in an appropriate manner.


The document can be downloaded from www.riksrevisjonen.no, or ordered from
Akademika bokhandel, tel. +47 22 11 67 70.
 

Riksrevisjonen, Storgata 16, P.O. Box 8130 Dep, 0032 Oslo, Norway

Phone: +47 22 24 10 00

Org.nr: 974 760 843