Stock-take project

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The Technisches Museum Wien has a very large inventory of exhibits dating as far back as the 18th century. Those exhibits are only made available for museum purposes once they have been listed on its inventories and catalogued in terms of location.

In the 1990s the Technisches Museum was cleared out in preparation for its complete overhaul. The collections were relocated to several sites. Between 2000 and 2003 the Museum began working on gathering its depots on two sites in Vienna. In doing so it laid the ground for the start of its stock-take project. Another key prerequisite was the electronic acquisition of all the historical inventories of its older collections (some 150,000 data records).

In 2003 the go-ahead was given for the large-scale project of cataloguing the entire inventory of exhibits in a database to international standards. A complete acquisition on such a scale had never been undertaken since the Museum’s founding. The project comprises three teams dedicated to the legislative mandate of collecting, preserving and presenting. First the data is acquired and the objects catalogued complete with designation, dimensions, photograph and location. The exhibits then undergo basic cleaning before their storage is optimised. Once they are on the inventory all the objects can be searched and retrieved in the database using a defined standard. What’s more they are now stored in a better state than they were prior to the start of the project.

As part of the stock-take process a number of exhibits are handed over to depot restoration for further preservation measures. Some objects have to be restored using substances that are now banned, such as asbestos. Investments have already been made in the depot equipment to improve storage conditions, e.g. by integrating mobile rack installations.

The aim of the project is the complete acquisition of all the exhibition objects. It is set out over a period of many years and, depending on the available resources, should be completed by 2020.
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