About CTCo

Connecticut Collections has three main components:

    The Collections Management System

    CTCo is a standardized state-of-the-art collections management system that offers open access,  multiple descriptive vocabulary languages, and cataloging for a full range of collections housed in most cultural institutions, history organizations, and museums, such as: objects, tools, artwork, photographs, ephemera, diaries, letters, manuscript and archival collections, textiles, household implements, and more. The backend relational database for organizational use allows you to specify storage locations, log provenance information, track loans and donations, import and export data, produce individualized reports, and carry out other important internal collection functions.

    CTCo is a customization of Collective Access, an open source software tool for managing and publishing museum and archival collections. Some of its features include:

    • Cloud- and web-based: the system operates on any modern web browser.
    • Controlled vocabulary: comes pre-configured with several cataloging standards including Getty Art &  Architecture, Library of Congress, and more.
    • Reporting: tools to export collection data to spreadsheets or PDFs.
    • Batch editing: to provide flexible transformation and seamless data updates.
    • Resources: free online documentation and technical support from the developers and CTCo staff

    Want to try it out for free? We maintain a Connecticut Collections Sandbox where you can log in to a system populated with sample data and play around to see what the database can do. Email Diane Lee and Dana Meyer at ctco@clho.org for information about how to access the Sandbox.

      The Public Portal

      Researchers, students, teachers, and history enthusiasts are able to browse collections or search for specific kinds of artifacts, photographs, artwork, and other items using keywords, geo-reference points, object types, time period, and so on.  Visit our current public portal at ctcollections.org

      The Digital Preservation Solution

      In collaboration with the Connecticut Digital Archive (CTDA), Connecticut Collections is rebuilding a crosswalk between the two projects so that items shared on the public portal will also be published in the CTDA online and preserved in the state's preservation repository. Simply input your institutions collection data into your CTCo management system and mark the record for ingest into the CTDA, and your collection will be digitally preserved and discoverable within the archive.

      Advantages of CTCo


      If you're accustomed to only being able to access your collections database from one computer on-site, you know how limiting that can be. Because it is cloud-based and securely accessible from any web browser, CTCo allows you to call up your collections database from anywhere. And because you can create additional user logins for free, multiple people you designate can access the database simultaneously. This makes it possible for volunteers or interns to catalog or enter data from home or on-site at the same time, or for you to look things up quickly without going to the office.


      One of the greatest advantages of being part of CTCo is the ability for you to choose to make your collections more discoverable online—even to people who don't know about you yet. Our public portal makes your collections searchable not just on their own, but alongside other Connecticut collections. This means that researchers and other members of the public can find your materials before even knowing they exist. Instead of having to go directly to your website, they can search statewide collections all at once through the public portal, discovering more records in one place. Many online collections management systems allow you to make your materials publicly searchable, but they remain an island unto themselves. With CTCo, you can have a landing page for your own collections, while also making those collections accessible through the portal as a whole.

      Discoverability goes beyond the CTCo public portal. Our software connector to the Connecticut Digital Archive (CTDA) automatically makes your publicly available collections searchable through the CTDA as well. And since the CTDA is Connecticut's hub for the Digital Public Library of America, that means that, with no additional work or additional cost to you, all publicly available records in your system are searchable through multiple content hubs across the country. This means more visibility for your collections—and your organization—not just here in Connecticut but around the globe.


      For most organizations, CTCo offers more features for less money, compared to similar systems like Past Perfect Online. Our annual fees are billed on a sliding scale based on your organization's annual budget, and start at just $300 a year for institutions with budgets under $50,000. There are no extra costs/ hidden fees for additional users, or the number of records you have, or to make collections items searchable online.

      Preservation and Backup

      It's hard to keep up with all the trends and standards in digital preservation. With CTCo, you don't have to—just leave that to us. Our software connector to the CTDA provides long-term digital preservation for all your collection records, not just those that are designated as publicly searchable. We also maintain a backup of the entire system in the cloud, and are in the process of setting up a redundant backup server of our own.

      What It Costs

      From the outset, CTCo was designed to be a powerful and affordable collections management option, particularly for small and mid-sized organizations. We do not make a profit on this service—all our fees go directly toward the costs of running the system, including server space, backup systems, the public portal, ongoing maintenance and development, technical support and training, and staff and contractor time. 

      Annual Fee

      The yearly subscription costs are based on your organization's annual operating budget.

      Budget up to $50,000: $300

      $50,001 to $100,000:   $500

      $100,001 to $200,000: $1,000

      $200,001 to $500,000: $1,500

      $500,001 and above:   $2,500

      Migration Fee

      If you are moving from another system, such as Past Perfect or a custom database, or if you have existing collections data in spreadsheets that you will want to bring into the system, you will be charged an additional, one-time fee to cover the cost of the migration. This is a pass-through fee we pay directly to the software developer.

      Migrations can run from $1,000 to $7,000, depending on the complexity of the data mapping. If you are interested in migrating data, please contact us at ctco@clho.org for an estimate.

      Grant Funding

      Thanks to a Partnership Grant from CT Humanities and an Archives Collaboratives Implementation Grant from the National Historical Records and Publications Administration, CLHO currently has a limited amount of funds available to help defray migration expenses for organizations joining CTCo in 2022, 2023, and 2024. These funds will be allocated annually in an equitable manner, with an emphasis on lowering the bar to participation for the greatest number of organizations.

      All CTCo fees—both annual and migration—are eligible expenses for most CT Humanities grants, including Connecticut Cultural Fund Operating Support Grants and SHARP Grants. If you have questions about eligibility, please contact CTH grants staff directly.

      What You Get

      Each participating institution automatically receives the following:

      • A dedicated collections management database for their organization, with the ability to create as many user logins as you wish
      • 250 GB of storage for data and associated media files (additional storage is available for an additional cost)—no limits or fees based on the number of records
      • The ability to share any portion of your collection online through our public portal when you choose to
      • Training on how to use the system, including introductory training for staff/volunteers/other system users and ongoing training and support, both in-person and online, and the CTCo user manual
      • Technical/help desk support directly from CLHO
      • Access to the CTCo user forum
      • CTCo's monthly e-newsletter

      How to Join

      Connecticut Collections brings in new organizations on a regular basis. Get in touch with us at ctco@clho.org and we will work with you to determine if it is best for you to migrate data from an existing system, or start with a fresh blank system.  We will be taking on five migrations twice a year. Blank systems will be done on a rolling basis four times a year.
      Keep in mind, if you are migrating data, the process will take longer, depending on its complexity. 

      This is not a competitive process; the application is designed to help us understand your organization, your collections, and your needs so that we can ensure a smooth transition to the system.

      Interested in Applying?

      The application process has changed.  Please contact Diane and Dana at ctco@clho.org to request a consultation (virtual or onsite) to learn more about the application process at any time.  

      We look forward to hearing from you!

      Participating Institutions

      Connecticut Collections is the collections management system chosen by over 30 museums, historical societies, libraries, archives and special collections, ethnic and community organizations, and municipal collections across Connecticut. New organizations join each year, so our community and user base is always growing. Our current members are:

      • Avery-Copp House Museum (Groton)
      • Avon Historical Society (Avon)
      • Amity & Woodbridge Historical Society (Woodbridge)
      • Barnum Museum (Bridgeport)
      • Bethany Historical Society (Bethany)
      • BHistorical (Statewide)
      • Brookside Farm Museum (East Lyme)
      • Cheshire Academy (Cheshire)
      • Connecticut Daughters of the American Revolution (Statewide)
      • East Lyme Public Library/ East Lyme Historical Society (East Lyme)
      • Eric Sloane Museum (Kent)
      • East Windsor Historical Society (East Windsor)
      • Enfield Historical Society (Enfield)
      • Fairfield Museum and History Center (Fairfield)
      • Farmington Historical Society (Farmington)
      • Finnish American Heritage Society (Canterbury)
      • Frederick Gunn School Archives (Washington)
      • Friends of Westport Public Art Collections (Westport)
      • Glebe House Museum & Gertrude Jekyll Garden (Woodbury)
      • Hamden Historical Society (Hamden)
      • Harriet Beecher Stowe Center (Hartford)
      • Henry Whitfield State Museum (Guilford)
      • Housatonic Museum of Art (Bridgeport)
      • Hotchkiss School Archives & Special Collections (Lakeville)
      • Jewish Historical Society of Fairfield County (Stamford)
      • Jewish Historical Society of Greater New Haven (New Haven)
      • James Merrill House (Stonington)
      • Jillson House Museum/ Windham Historical Society (Willimantic)
      • Katharine Hepburn Museum (Old Saybrook)
      • Killingworth Historical Society (Killingworth)
      • Ledyard Historical Society (Ledyard)
      • Madison Historical Society (Madison)
      • Mansfield Historical Society (Storrs)
      • Mark Twain House & Museum (Hartford)
      • Mattatuck Museum (Waterbury)
      • Middlesex County Historical Society (Middletown)
      • New London Maritime Society (New London)
      • Newtown Historical Society (Newtown)
      • Norwalk Historical Commission (Norwalk)
      • Old New-Gate Prison & Copper Mine (East Granby)
      • Portland Historical Society (Portland)
      • Preston Historical Society (Preston)
      • Prudence Crandall Museum (Canterbury)
      • Railroad Museum of New England (Thomaston)
      • Seymour Historical Society (Seymour)
      • Sharon Historical Society (Sharon)
      • Stratford Historical Society (Stratford)
      • Wallingford Historic Preservation Trust (Wallingford)
      • Wallingford Historical Society (Wallingford)
      • Weston Historical Society (Weston)
      • Westport Museum for History and Culture (Westport)
      • Wilton Historical Society (Wilton)
      • Windsor Historical Society (Windsor)
      • Unionville Museum (Unionville)
      • U.S. Coast Guard Academy Library Special Collections and Archives (New London)

      Connecticut League of Museums
      Central Connecticut State UniversityDepartment of History
      1615 Stanley Street
      New Britain, CT 06050
      (860) 832-2674

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