PastPerfect Museum Software Version 5.0 by PastPerfect Software, Inc. - Profile


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This information was accurate as of January 2018. For more information or to request updated information, please contact the vendor directly.

Product name

PastPerfect Museum Software Version 5.0

Vendor name

PastPerfect Software, Inc.

Vendor overview

Website URL

Head office

Exton, Pennsylvania, United States
Year founded: 1996
Telephone number: 800-562-6080
Fax number: 610-363-7845
Contact person: Brian Gomez, vice-president

Canadian/North American office

Exton, Pennsylvania, United States
Year founded: 1996
Telephone number: 800-562-6080
Fax number: 610-363-7845
Contact person: Brian Gomez, vice-president
  • Product overview

    Product description

    PastPerfect 5.0 is the most affordable and most utilized collection management software on the planet. Sold as an inexpensive desktop solution, PastPerfect 5.0 is an all-in-one package that combines Objects, Photos, Archives, and Library catalogs as well as Accessions, Loans, Exhibits, Online Public Access, and even Contacts, Membership, and Fundraising Management.

    Disciplines supported

    • Objects: Archaeology, Art, Geology, History, Natural History
    • Photos: Documentary and Art
    • Archives: Archive Collections, Maps, Music Collections, Oral History
    • Library: Book and Research Collections
    • Contacts Management and Fundraising
    • Membership, Dues, and Volunteer activities

    Product launch date

    PastPerfect 5.0 was released in January 2010.

    Product history

    PastPerfect 2.0 was released in 1998, and was followed by Version 3.0 and 4.0 in 2002 and 2005 respectively. PastPerfect 5.0 was expanded and released in 2010, and is updated several times per year. As of fall 2017, our current version is 5.0E7. With each release, new features and additional cataloging capabilities have been added.

    Future development

    Frequent updates are provided to PastPerfect clients at no charge. These updates address usability issues submitted by the PastPerfect Community. As our flagship product, it will receive a major overhaul in the near future after the release of our new Web Edition software.

    Demo version

    A trial version can be downloaded from our website. The trial version is free and functions just like the real software, but is limited to 200 records. Upgrades, such as Multimedia, are enabled in the evaluation version and the trial never expires.

  • Support

    Support methods

    • On-site
    • Online
    • Chat
    • Email
    • Phone

    Support language(s)


    Support availability and hours

    9:00-5:30 Eastern Time, Monday-Friday, and special hours by appointment.

    Support fees

    Annual Support Service is optional. Prices are charged either per single user or per network of 10 users.

    Client support network

    There are several client networks that are based on both locality and collection type. These networks work independently of our company, though we encourage their use and feedback.


    Training classes are held quarterly via webinar. We offer on-site training by request.

    System updates and maintenance

    Updates are distributed free of charge as frequently as monthly. These updates offer new features as well as software fixes and are easily downloaded and installed from our website.

  • Cost


    Complete pricing in USD is available at our website:

    PastPerfect Version 5.0 is a lifetime license and requires no annual fees. Optional upgrades can be added at any time and include:

    • MultiMedia Upgrade
    • Network Upgrade for 5 Users
    • PastPerfect Online (web based public access)

    Maintenance costs

    No ongoing maintenance or licensing costs. Updates are free of charge. Major upgrade releases of the software do cost money and are released every 3-7 years.

    Additional fees

    Annual Support is optional. Online hosting of PastPerfect Online is also optional.

  • System specifications

    Operating systems supported

    Modern Windows Operating Systems (Windows 7, 8, 10, etc.).

    Underlying database

    Microsoft Visual FoxPro 9.0.


    PastPerfect 5.0 is a Windows based program.

    Hardware requirements


    • Intel Pentium 4, 2 GHz+ processor
    • 3 GB RAM for Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8/8.1, and Windows 10
    • 17 inch colour monitor (minimum 1024x768)
    • CD/DVD-recordable drive
    • High-speed Internet access

    Staff requirements

    No technical staff is required for setup or support. Most PastPerfect administrators and users are museum professionals with limited technical experience.

    Plug-ins and/or modules available

    PastPerfect Online (Web Based Public Access) is the popular way to create a searchable collections based website. It is developed and supported by PastPerfect. Inventory Manager is also available to help organizations manage and perform their inventory processes. Additional products and information are available at our website.

    Third-party requirements


    Microsoft Word for letter writing capability within the software.


    Not applicable.


    Yes, using Windows features and additional software for accessibility.


    PastPerfect offers custom views with customizable fields and can be altered by the user. New features and additional databases are created by PastPerfect when clients submit ideas that would prove helpful to the museum community.

  • Web integration capabilities

    Cloud functionality

    PastPerfect 5.0 is a desktop/Local Area Network solution, but utilizes cloud functionality for its public access component, PastPerfect Online.

    Server location
    AWS Northern Virginia.
    Security protocols
    Public Access HTTPS.
    Typical or average uptime
    Over 99.9%.
    Back-end maintenance procedures and downtime
    Typically less than an hour per month and typically done outside of normal business hours.

    Browsers supported

    All modern browsers.

    Web-based access for data entry

    No. PastPerfect Online is a surrogate database designed to provide public access to collections, while protecting the museum's data from unauthorized web access. PastPerfect Web Edition is offered as our online data entry solution and will be released in 2018.

    Web publishing platform

    PastPerfect is capable of publishing collections data to the web through both Virtual Exhibit and PastPerfect Online. Virtual Exhibit is a tool used to create small HTML based curated exhibits of artifacts. PastPerfect Online is a fully functional research portal for PastPerfect records. Detailed information about these products can be found on their website. Clients have full control over the records and the fields that are published online.

    Linked open data functionality

    We continue to provide interoperability between repositories associated with DPLA, state level aggregators, and more by developing custom export tools for each repository.

  • User groups and security

    User profiles

    Each user can have a user profile with specific permissions based on their group. Multiple users can access the program and edit records in the same catalog, but not the same exact record. Records are locked when being edited by a user on the network.

    User groups

    Security is set up for ten different groups that can each have an unlimited number of users. One of those groups is the Admin group.

    Visitor profiles

    Some organizations choose to create a "Visitor Group" to allow public access to the PastPerfect program.


    With a basic network license, PastPerfect can be installed and used on five workstations. With an Unlimited license, PastPerfect can be used by 25+ workstations on a network.

    Audit trails and/or edit history

    PastPerfect retains data regarding when a record was last updated and by whom.

    Offline access

    PastPerfect is a desktop software and does not require web access to function.

    Privacy features

    Not applicable. Privacy and security of data is part of the institutional network setup.

  • Data migration and stability

    Import formats

    PastPerfect offers custom conversion services to import data from all types of legacy software. Free quotes are provided by our staff. In addition, users can import from FoxPro, dBase, Excel, and ASCII.

    Export formats

    FoxPro, dBase, Excel, ASCII, XML, Dublin Core XML, and custom exports are accessed directly through the user interface. Users have full control over their exports.


    PastPerfect uses zip compression to backup up to local and remote drives as well as optical media. PastPerfect can be backed up to many cloud based storage solutions. By default, PastPerfect saves the last thirty backups on each workstation. Users are prompted to make backups when they exit the program.

  • Standards and schemas

    Metadata schemas

    PastPerfect exports Dublin Core XML and other custom export formats by request.

    Data content standards (cataloguing rules)

    PastPerfect incorporates many of the fields required for a variety of different standards, then focuses the export to make that data available to larger repositories.

    Vocabulary standards

    Nomenclature 3.0 is included and an upgrade to Nomenclature 4.0 is available. All other vocabulary provided by an array of authority files that can be manipulated by the user.

    Local terminology lists

    Customizable by the user, these vocabularies are provided by an array of authority files.


    Not applicable.

  • Data entry and content

    Media upload/linking

    Media files of all types can be attached to PastPerfect records for all four catalogs, contacts, accessions, and more. Images can be uploaded in batch by selecting a folder and highlighting image files.

    Media formats supported

    All types of files, no restrictions on size or type.

    Data entry features

    Copy and paste
    Yes, using keyboard shortcuts.
    Search and replace
    Yes, using Global Update and Catalog Lists. Also, several automatic global replacement based changes to some authority file entries like people's names.
    Yes, customizable by the user to select which fields are checked for spelling. By default, we use an English dictionary and words can be added or removed by users.
    Bulk cataloguing
    Yes, ability to add a range of Object IDs and create records based on a template.
    Batch edit
    Yes, for most fields using Catalog Lists, Inventory Manager, or Global Update.
    Batch location change
    Yes, by way of Query, Catalog Lists and Inventory Manager.
    Duplicate record search
    Yes, standard reports allow for easy reporting and assistive cleanup of duplicate records.
    Template record
    Yes, each user can identify their own template record for each catalog.
    Date selection and formats
    Yes, most date formats are available for selection in setup.
    Mandatory fields
    PastPerfect has a few mandatory fields (Object ID, Object Name) and users can expand mandatory requirements by locking fields to Authority File Verification.
    No response.

    Spreadsheet editing view

    Yes. Similar to a spreadsheet view, PastPerfect 5.0 has "Browse" that allows users to view and edit most of the fields in what looks like a spreadsheet presentation. These views are customizable and can be locked to reduce errors associated with this type of data entry.

    Geographic mapping

    Yes, fields are available for point-based geographical mapping of both addresses and georeferenced positions.

    Multilingual fields

    PastPerfect 5.0 uses English labels and instructions. We suggest users who wish to have multilingual capabilities make use of the custom fields in the program. These fields can be renamed with non-English labels and support an extended character set.


    Yes, PastPerfect Barcode Printing Upgrade allows users to create and scan labels to simplify navigating to digital records and improve the accuracy of inventory projects. QR codes can be generated from the program for artifacts. No specific plug-ins or additional equipment are required.


    Yes, labels of all kinds can be generated with PastPerfect 5.0 using both pre-built reports as well as Report Maker reports. All labels can also be customized.

  • Search and reporting

    Types of search supported

    • Field Search: Search any field for any term.
    • Keyword Search: Cross catalog and cross field searching.
    • People and Search Terms Search: Facilitates topic and genealogical related queries.
    • Lexicon Search: Determine the number of specific types of artifacts in the collection.

    Boolean queries
    Yes, Boolean AND/OR is available as well as more complex parenthesis order based Boolean phrasing used for field searching.
    Query any field
    Yes, each catalog has a find and a query function allowing records to be searched on any field in PastPerfect.
    Sort query results
    Yes, simply clicking the display field title will re-order the results by that field.
    Saving search results
    Yes, both queries and reports can be saved for future reporting or modification.
    Filter search results
    Yes, both through the query and the catalog list sections of the program.
    SQL-based search
    Not applicable.
    Export search results
    Yes, both through the query and the catalog list sections of the program. Search results and reports can be saved to Excel with either standard or extended fields.
    Free-text (Google) searches
    Yes, both simple and advanced when mixed with Boolean commands and wildcards. Additionally, users may setup this feature to add or remove fields that are indexed for this type of searching.
    Search result views
    Yes, screen views and reports can be customized by the users to meet their needs.

    Multilingual searching

    Not fully supported at this time.

    Report styles included

    PastPerfect uses over 350 preprogramed reports that include a variety of address labels, barcode labels, catalog cards, full sheet reports with images, value reports, location reports, repatriation, and more. Each of these reports has a standard layout and the ability to customize two different layouts of the report form. Additionally, each of these reports can be saved as PDF.

    Report customization

    Most organizations use our custom form options to modify their own forms, though annual support customers often receive assistance from the support team. All standard reports, of which there are several hundred, can have two different custom layouts. Report Maker Reports are also fully customizable by the user.

    Report program

    PastPerfect has prebuilt reports that meet most user needs. In addition, each of those reports can be customized using our built-in form editor. Our Report Maker tool is also built-in allowing organizations to create their own custom reports for each area of the program.

  • Museum functions

    Collections management function overview

    PastPerfect is a relational database designed with screens that allow easy data entry and access to all aspects of a collection. From Temporary Custody, through Deaccession, the entire life cycle of an artifact can be tracked and searched. Temporary Custody holds items that are being considered for accession or loan. The Accessions view connects items with donors and records information about the gift. Loans tracks the incoming and outgoing loan of artifacts and the relative paperwork associated with those functions. Individual catalogs for Objects, Photos, Archives, and Library capture the specifics of each artifact and its movements over time. Deaccession tracks the items that are no longer considered part of the collection.


    Registration and proper cataloging of all types of items is at the heart of what PastPerfect is all about. We use hundreds of fields across the catalogs to help document everything from provenance to appraisal history over the course of an artifact's stay within the institution.


    PastPerfect tracks several types of acquisitions including incoming loans, temporary custody, and accessions. These records can then be connected to the contact record of the donor. The software uses Microsoft Word to automate and generate the forms and correspondence critical to professional standards.

    Inventory management

    Besides the basics of recording what has moved where, PastPerfect also offers an Inventory Manager upgrade that allows users to print reports and inventory large numbers of artifacts based on their current location. This upgrade includes Barcode Printing, allowing organizations to further reduce their cataloging efforts while increasing the accuracy of their inventory procedures.

    Internal tracking

    Each catalog record has seven fields to describe the item's home storage location as well as seven fields to describe the temporary location. Any change to one of these fourteen fields triggers an automatic capture to location history. Location and update history are unlimited in PastPerfect and provide a complete picture of who has moved what, where, and when.

    External shipments

    Outgoing loans has fields specifically designed to track shipment and carrier information. Fields for shipping dates, insurance, carrier, and crate list on the Shipping & Insurance screen help track external movement of items.


    PastPerfect has fields, forms, and tables dedicated to Art, History, Geology, Natural History, Maps, Oral History, Music Collections, Archaeology, and more. In addition, Custom areas of the catalogs allow organizations to customize a section of each catalog to their own specific collection needs.


    An unlimited number of condition reports, as well as a section designed for maintenance scheduling is included with the PastPerfect basic program. Condition reports, as well as MultiMedia links can be used to include images and documentation of conservation work. In addition, we suggest using notes and custom fields to further describe conservation treatments and concerns.

    Curatorial research

    Searches of all types, querying nearly every field in every area of the database, can be performed within or across all catalogs. This includes Keyword Search, Field Search, People Search, Search Term Search, and Lexicon Search. In addition, PastPerfect includes its own built-in Report Maker allowing most fields and all related data to be printed or exported on demand.

    Publications and printed material

    PastPerfect has the ability to track associated publications, notes on associated material, as well as relational links between associated records.

    Rights management and reproduction

    Each catalog record has copyright and legal fields as well as the ability to select the appropriate copyright description from the site.

    Risk management and valuation

    Each record in PastPerfect has information to track status, value, last assessment, insurance value, insurance policy and more. In addition, Loans and Accessions can also record values and insurance information.


    PastPerfect has an Exhibits section, which tracks future, current, and past exhibits. Fields such as humidity, location, visitor traffic, and cost/revenue, as well as exhibit history for each artifact allow a user to see what items have been or will be on display.

    Loan management

    Both Incoming and Outgoing Loans are included with the base product. Loans can be tracked and maintained on the macro level with simple descriptions of the items in the loan, or far more in depth with each loaned item being represented inside of the PastPerfect catalogs of Objects, Photos, Archives, and Library.


    Deaccessions is a catalog in PastPerfect that facilitates the management of the deaccession process and maintains permanent records for the items that were previously part of the collections. Fields such as reason, deaccession date, and authorization help maintain transparent and complete deaccession data.

    Digital asset management

    Many of the features associated with DAMS based functionality, presentation and storage are contained in PastPerfect with the inclusion of the PastPerfect MultiMedia Upgrade. Each catalog record can have up to 999 discovery images attached. In addition, each record can have an unlimited number of associated digital files attached and stored within the PastPerfect software; thus allowing everything from Oral History recordings to detailed condition reports to be digitally housed and accessed through a single program. By adding PastPerfect Online, many of these digital assets can be accessed via the Web.

    Additional features and functions

    Contacts, Membership, Donations, and Fundraising solutions are built into the basic package at no additional cost and are integrated with the collections management side of the software allowing users a complete picture of a patron's interaction with the museum.

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