Peer Preservation Assessment Program

“It’s good to have an outside entity with a fresh pair of eyes assess one’s program. They see things you don’t and can offer a new perspective for problem solving.”

 – Assessment Site Testimonial


The CWAM Peer Preservation Assessment Program matches trained peer assessors with institutions seeking advice about caring for their collections.  Assessors provide a site visit and follow-up report with practical, customized recommendations for improvement.

Interested in becoming a Peer Assessor?  Please contact our coordinator at


During a 2012-2014 IMLS Connecting to Collections grant, eleven individuals in diverse geographic locations across Colorado trained with professional consultants and became qualified to educate cultural heritage workers about safe conditions for “collections they hold in trust.” The program was administered by Colorado Connecting to Collections (now the Colorado Collections Connection  During the grant cycle, 33 institutions received preservation site-assessments and follow-up reports.

To ensure sustainability, the program transitioned in 2016 to a service offered through the Colorado-Wyoming Association of Museums. Currently, CWAM is focused on continuing the established assessment program in Colorado.  We hope to expand the program into Wyoming soon, as well as train additional assessors in Colorado and Wyoming.  We are also working to develop a long-term financial model that is sustainable and affordable for participating institutions


What an assessment involves:

The assessment is a two-hour visit. Administrative and collections staff should be available during the survey; for smaller sites, board members or volunteers with collections care responsibilities may be asked to participate.  During the visit, the assessor will review institutional collection management and storage practices and collection condition.

Following the visit, each site surveyed will receive a written report of informed guidelines for preservation action, based on the Peer Assessor’s scope of knowledge and specialized training.  The report is designed to help the institution develop preservation policies and expand its knowledge of collections safety and disaster preparedness.

Once they have received the report, surveyed institutions commit to reviewing recommendations with senior management and/or board within three months and developing a preservation action plan within six months.  These steps ensure that the assessment builds and sustains a culture of preservation within the institution.


Cost and Funding Resources

During 2017, assessments will cost $200 per Peer Assessor, to offset costs for time, travel, lodging, and meals.  Payment by check will be made directly to the Peer Assessor by the Requesting Institution upon submission of report.

Thanks to a generous grant from The Greenwood Fund, CWAM can provide financial assistance to Requesting Institutions to support their participation in this program.  This funding is available for a limited time, until funds are spent.  Please contact the Program Coordinator (listed below) for more information.



Currently, Colorado archives, historical societies, libraries and museums that are institutional members of CWAM are eligible to participate in this program.  We hope to expand into Wyoming in the next two years, once we can train more assessors.

To apply for a site assessment, please complete the following form and submit it to  Our coordinator will then contact you.

Click Here for Application

Questions?  Please contact Heather Thorwald, CWAM Peer Preservation Assessment Program Coordinator,