Courier courses at MTAB
Published in 2008
MTAB arranges courses for couriers travelling with artefacts from Swedish museums. This course is aimed at museums lending artefacts to and borrowing artefacts from Sweden.
The course includes contract writing, packaging and types of artefact, transport methods, the job of the courier and preparations prior to travel.
We spoke to Mari-Louise Franzén, head antiquarian and assistant unit manager at the Museum of National Antiquities and the person responsible for the museum’s borrowing and lending activities, and asked her a few questions.
What are the criteria of the Museum of National Antiquities which couriers have to observe when the transport artefacts? – The Legal, Financial and Administrative Services Agency and the Swedish Arts Council issue standards and recommendations for lending operations, which we adhere to. We consult antiquarians, curators and our security manager whenever we lend out an artefact. The number of couriers is assessed on the basis of the cultural historical value of the artefacts and on how extensive the loan is.
What kind of couriers do you have? – We have two professional groups that act as couriers, antiquarians and curators, both for paintings on wood and an archaeological curator. The person who travels with the artefacts on loan varies in each individual case, depending on the condition of the artefacts in question. The antiquarian often travels with the items which we lend out, and then a curator is present when the artefacts are packaged up and transported back to us.
What is the most important job of the courier? – This is a very responsible job where the courier has to follow the artefacts from door to door and maintain constant contact with the shipping company and its agents in the various countries. It is necessary to be flexible and come up with solutions “on the hoof” if problems occur.
Do you have any courses of your own for couriers? – There are no special courses or training arrangements. Initially, couriers have to tag along with experienced couriers as assistant couriers. This is like a kind of trainee arrangement. We also update our knowledge regularly at administrator meetings and study the policies issued by organisations such as ICOM, the International Councils of Museums.
What do you think of the MTAB course? – This is a good way of increasing understanding and knowledge between ourselves, especially for our new employees. Moreover, it is always good to meet in person the administrators at MTAB with whom we maintain close contact by telephone and to have a chat about our procedures. We were also kept up to date on changes to the rules for transportation by air and the criteria for wooden goods in the crates in which we ship the museum’s artefacts.