Five Core Documents

Every museum should have in place and keep up to date, these five core documents for the ethical and professional management of their institution.  See examples below and more information from the American Alliance of Museums.  See also the Progressing Toward Sustainable Small Cultural Organizations series offered by the Iowa Museum Association.

(1) Mission Statement
(2) Institutional Code of Ethics
(3) Strategic Plan
(4) Disaster Preparedness/Emergency Response Plan
(5) Collections Management Policy

Leadership & Governance Resources

Hewison, Robert and John Holden.  The Cultural Leadership Handbook: How to Run a Creative Organization (Gower Pub., 2011).

BoardSource -  Visit Board Source for examples of:
Board Member Orientation Packet Checklist
Board Member Job Description
Board Member Self Assessment Matrix

Nonprofits and Unpaid Interns - recent legal rulings.

The Fair Labor Standards Act Salary Basis Increase has been put on hold and will NOT go into effect on December 1, 2016.  Information below and here.
Vesterheim Bylaws
(Adobe PDF File)
2016 Overtime Law Summary
(Adobe PDF File)
Overtime and Nonprofits
(Adobe PDF File)
The resources provided on this page are examples that may or may not serve the particular needs of your museum.  These resources are not endorsed or warranted by the Iowa Museum Association.  These resources are provided solely for your information and convenience.  

Management & Planning

Long term and strategic planning
Space Utilization
Facility Management

Risk Management - Courtesy of the Virginia Association of Museums

Making Historic Properties Accessible by Thomas C. Jester and Sharon C. Park, AIA, US Department of the Interior, National Park Services, Cultural Resources, Heritage Preservation Services, Preservation Brief #32.

Genoways, Hugh H. and Lynne M. Ireland.  Museum Administration: An Introduction. (Rowan Altamira, 2003).

Herskovitz, Robert, Timothy Glines and David Grabitske.  Building Museums: A Handbook for Small and Midsize Organizations.  (Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2012).
Risk Management
(Adobe PDF File)

Stewardship of Collections

The National Trust Manual of Housekeeping (The National Trust, 2006).

Buck, Rebecca A. and Jean Allman Gilmore, eds., The New Museum Registration Methods (American Association of Museums, 1998).

IRS Publication 561.
Museum staff and volunteers cannot appraise donations for tax purposes, nor may they appraise items as a service for the donor, nor may they hire an appraiser for the donor. IRS Publication 561 specifically prohibits both donors and the receiving institution from appraising items for donation purposes. 

Iowa Law - Chapter 305B Museum Property Act
CFHS Collections Policy
(Adobe PDF File)
Temporary Custody Reciept
(Adobe PDF File)
Outgoing Loans
(Adobe PDF File)

Audience & Engagement

Magnetic: The Art and Science of Engagement by Anne Bergeron and Beth Tuttle.  The AAM Press.


Silos & Smokestacks National Heritage Area Interpretation Manual


DeWitt, Brydon M.  The Nonprofit Development Companion (John Wiley & Sons, 2011).

Marketing and Public Relations - American Alliance of Museums