- 3.2.1 Accession number

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1- My museum’s accession number format does not correspond to any of those shown in the cited resource documents. Should we alter the accession numbers on our objects?

No! In general, it is better to avoid changing your numbering system and renumbering your collections. Doing so is a long and costly process and is bad for the objects, and can be a source of mistakes. Don't forget that the key thing about an accession number is that it be unique to each object, and that  it enable all the documents referring to an object to be linked to it.

 

2- There are several object numbering formats that have been used by different curators. The register therefore includes numbers in different formats. Should we standardize, by choosing one format and applying it to the objects that don’t have it, which would mean adding a number to each object concerned, and making the necessary change in the register and on all documents pertaining to the object?

No. As stated above, the important thing about an accession number is that it be unique to each object, and that it enable all the documents referring to it to be linked to it. If this objective is attained, it doesn’t matter if the numbers are not in the same format. Nevertheless, in future keep to a single format and describe it in the Procedural Manual, in order to perpetuate this choice for future generations of curators.

 

3- We have been using an accession number format, but we would like to change it. Do we have to renumber all the currently numbered objects?

No, again as stated above, the important thing about an accession number is that it be unique to each object, and that it enable all the documents referring to it to be linked to it. If you really need to change the accession number format, it is not necessary to alter the old numbers. Begin your new numbering system with new acquisitions, and explain in your Procedural Manual why you changed the format and what the new format is.

 

4- Our Accession numbers contain the initials of the museum/department which the objects belong to. Is this a mistake?

No, this is perfectly acceptable.

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