The Department of the Interior (DOI) is second only to the Smithsonian Institution in holding natural and cultural objects in trust for the American public. With over 180 million objects and documents, Interior's collections run the gamut from art to zoology. Museum collections are held by all of the Department's bureaus and the Office of the Secretary.

The Department recognizes the importance of museum collections to its missions and is committed to the stewardship of these resources. DOI stewardship responsibilities include establishing policies and procedures for managing museum collections that meet the highest standards of the museum profession.

The Interior Museum Program (IMP) provides oversight, advocacy, training, and assistance to bureaus and offices in managing museum collections and associated records within the framework of the Department's policies and standards.

The IMP supports cooperative efforts among DOI bureaus, other Federal agencies, and non-Federal partners to manage museum collections for maximum benefit to the public and the Department.

The IMP is managed by the Office of Acquisition and Property Management (PAM). This is because museum property is a subset of Federal personal property. IMP staff work with the Interagency Federal Collections Alliance (IFCA) to promote "best practices" in the management of Federal museum collections held in Federal units and non-Federal institutions. See notes and abstracts from IFCA sponsored conferences (under Conference Information).

Interior Museum Program staff led an interagency working group that developed guidance to raise awareness regarding hazards that may exist in museum collections. These hazards may be inherent, or due to past treatments with pesticides or other chemicals. The working group researched answers to some of the most frequently asked questions on this topic. Departmental policy was updated to ensure that users of Interior museum collections are notified of the potential hazard. The prescribed notification form is designated DI-3320.

The Interior Museum Property Committee and the Executive Program Committee, made up of representatives of each of the bureaus in Interior, provides oversight assistance to the program.

In December 2009, the DOI Office of the Inspector General issued a report, Department of the Interior Museum Collections: Accountability and Preservation. The IMP staff in collaboration with DOI bureau curators, are working hard to address the Inspector General's recommendations. Activities include revising policy, ensuring inventories are conducted in DOI museum facilities and non-DOI facilities that house DOI collections, finding DOI collections in non-DOI facilities, and conducting site reviews of both DOI and non-DOI facilities in order to assess their compliance with Department policy, review museum property management procedures, and provide technical assistance.