This differentiates it from an archive or library, where the contents may be more paper-based, replaceable and less exhibition oriented, or a private collection of art formed by an individual, family or institution that may grant no public access.
A museum normally has a collecting policy for new acquisitions, so only objects in certain categories and of a certain quality are accepted into the collection.
The process by which an object is formally included in the collection is called accessioning and each object is given a unique accession number.
Museum collections, and archives in general, are normally catalogued in a collection catalogue, traditionally in a card index, but nowadays in a computerized database.
Transferring collection catalogues onto computer-based media is a major undertaking for most museums.
All new acquisitions are normally catalogued on a computer in modern museums, but there is typically a backlog of old catalogue entries to be computerized as time and funding allows.Read more