2.1 Accession number



The Accession number identifies each object in the collection in a unique way. It will never be given to any other object. It is the key to accessing all documents comprising the museum’s documentation system, because it allows each object to be linked to the documents referring to it.
It should be attached to the object.

Existing online resources (English):

Aide mémoire for Documentation in museums, n° 1, The accession register, § : Accession number, EPA-ICCROM.
The “Accession number” paragraph of this resource provides two accession number formats currently in use, as well as the steps to follow for numbering items comprising several parts.
Aide mémoire for Documentation in museums, n° 2, Brief guide to the manual marking of objects, EPA-ICCROM.
Practical advice for marking or labeling objects.
Labelling and marking objects, CIDOC.
Clear and comprehensive resource, with practical information on how to mark and label objects. Easily printable.
Placing registration numbers on paintings and sculptures, CCI notes (Canadian Conservation Institute), n° 1/5, Ottawa, 1994.
Application of acquisition numbers on textiles, CCI notes (Canadian Conservation Institute) n° 13/8, Ottawa, 1994.
You will find practical information on marking and labeling objects.
Numbering, Collections Link.
Useful resource which explains the various possible formats of accession numbers.
Running a Museum: a Practical Handbook, Patrick J. Boylan (Ed.), UNESCO-ICOM, p. 21-22.
The paragraph on Numbering and marking of objects in the collection (p.21-22) gives general information on how to mark an artifact.

In French:

Inventorier des collections de musées, § LES SECRETS DU NUMÉRO D’INVENTAIRE, Ministry of Culture, France.
This resource makes reference to the DMF (Direction des Musées de France) standards, particularly in relation to the columns of the Accession register. The accession number format described here is the three-part format. At the bottom of the document you will find the basic procedure to follow for affixing the accession number to the object. In French only.

In Spanish:

Lina Nagel Vega. Editora. Manual de Registro y Documentación de Bienes Culturales. DIBAM, GETTY. Chile. (2008).
Luis Caballero Zoreda. "La documentación museológica". Boletín de la ANABAD, Tomo 38, Nº 4, (1988), pags. 455-496.
Luis Caballero Zoreda. "A propósito del sistema de documentación para museos". Boletín de la ANABAD, Tomo 33, Nº 3, (1983), pags. 493-500.


If these resources become unavailable, you will be able to find some of them on the EPA website. They were captured in March 2009 and checked in January 2011. You can find the Spanish resources on the ILAM website. They were captured in November 2009 and checked in January 2011.

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