Collections Care & Management

Care and Preservation

The collection being perhaps the Museum’s greatest asset and reason for existence, we care for it according to strict museum standards. Most of the Mystic Seaport collection resides in storage where it is housed according to type and size of object. Accordingly, all large figureheads or small ship models are stored together. Also, we make collection storage as secure and environmentally stable as we can, striving to strictly control and monitor access to safeguard the collection from loss. To prevent or mitigate object deterioration, we seek to maintain stable temperature and humidity conditions and prevent pest infestations wherever the collection lives. Collection management staff keep the storage areas clean and orderly to enhance preservation, facilitate access and retrieval, and inspire respect for the objects.


The two primary systems used to catalog and manage the collections are Voyager and Mimsy XG. We create MARC records in our Voyager integrated library system for books, manuscript items, periodical titles, items in the sound and film archives, and maps and charts. Manuscript and some Ships Plans Collections are also represented by collection-level records. Relevant records include links to online finding aids and digital images that are among our 24/7 electronic resources. Items in the Art and Objects, Photography and Ships Plans Collections are cataloged in Mimsy XG, a robust collections management system used to document and describe artifacts in a wide range of formats. We monitor and adhere to current library, museum and archival standards, including MARC, EAD, DACS, AACR2/RDA, and use established thesauri such as LCSH and AAT. Other tools include vessel and subject authority databases used to coordinate creation and use of headings across collections.