Handling with care : processing special materials for exhibitions

This thesis examines how art non-profits process loaned objects for temporary and traveling exhibitions in the context of special or toxic materials. Safety guidelines, emergency planning, and proper registration procedures for exhibitions in both museums and art non-profits are examined through a literature review and a survey of content experts. The survey results indicate that a lack of implementation of safety guidelines and procedures exist in art non-profits, and that training to ensure staff safety is limited. It is concluded that art non-profits need to learn more about how to integrate museum safety practices and procedures into their practices; should make use of Safety Data Sheets (SDS); and must provide better training to ensure the protection of the health of staff involved in processing, unpacking, and installing exhibitions. Finally, recommendations on improving art non-profits’ safety protocols and awareness of occupational health are presented.