Canadian Museum of History loses 800-plus artifacts

A report published by Canada’s auditor general this August found the Canadian Museum of History has lost more than 800 artifacts, which are missing from its inventory, while the national museum in Gatineau, Qué., has no plans to remedy the issue.

The Office of the Auditor General of Canada, headed by Karen Hogan, published the report on Aug. 10 to examine the museum’s management practices. The audit found a “significant deficiency” in the museum’s conservation practices, including the lack of a robust inventory management system. According to the report, more than 800 artifacts were declared missing between 2012 and 2022. More than 300 artifacts were improperly stored while thousands more had no source information.

The report, which identified issues with more than 15,000 artifacts altogether, found a “lack of regular and systematic reviews” of electronic security access among staff to locations such as vaults and other storage units.

“These findings matter because proper conservation and safeguarding help maintain historical artifacts for future generations, which is a fundamental component of the corporation’s mandate,” reads the report.

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