Beyond regress: museum records management in Zimbabwe

  • Forget Chaterera Midlands State University-Department of Ar-chaeology, Cultural Heritage and Museum Studies and University of South Africa, Department of Information Science
Keywords: Documentary heritage, Records management, Museum records, Col-lections management, Records manage-ment policy, Records procedures manual, Records surveys, records appraisal


Although museums are information centres, it has been observed that they do not have records management procedures, systems and programmes in place. The situation owes its existence to the absence of records managers in museums and a negative attitude towards records management issues by museum practitioners. In Zimbabwe’s five National Museums, records are created and kept at departmental levels with no records management guidelines in place. Such behaviour compromises the museum’s operational needs, collections management and threatens the role of museums as information centres. Through observations, interviews done with Regional Directors and questionnaires distributed to head of departments at all the five national museums that are found in Zimbabwe; the study concluded that the absence of professional records management practices leads to uncoordinated systems, poor preservation strategies and restricts the ability of a museum to innovate. This paper sought to demonstrate the need for professional museum records management practices without which the collections found in museums will become a meaningless box of material culture and the security of collections will be threatened, thereby compromising the position of museums as information centres.

Journal Identifiers

print ISSN: 1012-2796