Heritage Health Index

A Public Trust at Risk: The Heritage Health Index Report on the State of America’s Collections, was published in December 2005 and concluded that immediate action is needed to prevent the loss of 190 million artifacts that are in need of conservation treatment. The report made four recommendations:

  • Institutions must give priority to providing safe conditions for the collections they hold in trust.
  • Every collecting institution must develop an emergency plan to protect its collections and train staff to carry it out.
  • Every institution must assign responsibility for caring for collections to members of its staff.
  • Individuals at all levels of government and in the private sector must assume responsibility for providing the support that will allow these collections to survive.

Results of the Heritage Health Index, the first comprehensive survey to assess the condition and preservation needs of U.S. collections, attracted major media attention. The full report with appendices, selected data, and a downloadable PowerPoint presentation are posted on this Web site. With support from The Henry Luce Foundation, Heritage Preservation has also produced an analysis of Heritage Health Index data on American art collections.

A Public Trust at Risk provides an excellent opportunity for institutions to educate governing boards, local and state decision-makers, and community funders about the preservation of collections.

The Heritage Health Index was a project of Heritage Preservation, in partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services, a federal agency.