PastPerfect 5.0

PastPerfect 5.0 on desktop

Desktop software for all your museum management needs.

PastPerfect 5.0 is the affordable desktop solution that combines collection and contact management into one easy‑to‑use software. With PastPerfect 5.0, you can streamline the acquisition and loan processes, catalog artifacts, produce custom reports and forms, track donations and memberships, create mailings, send emails, and much more.

For PastPerfect 4.0 users, the Version 5.0 Upgrade offers hundreds of new features. Your data, images, and media records, as well as installed add‑on options, will carry over into the upgraded program. To learn more about what's new in Version 5.0, visit the Introduction to PastPerfect 5.0 page.

Version 5.0 runs on Windows operating systems including Windows 11. Specific system requirements can be found in the Hardware Requirements article on our Knowledge Base. 

Free Evaluation Software

Our free evaluation, preloaded with demo data, contains all of the features and functions of the full Version 5.0 program, including optional add-ons.

Screenshots & Intro Videos

Explore PastPerfect Version 5.0 through sample screen images and short, introductory videos.

Compare with Web Edition

Read about key differences between Version 5.0 and Web Edition to determine which PastPerfect program is the best fit for your organization.

Feature Overview

Collection Management
PastPerfect 5.0’s built-in tools and forms make managing collections easy. Document collections of all types and sizes using the Objects, Photos, Archives, and Library catalogs, with fields specific to each type of collection based on common standards and practices.

Contact Management
Record memberships, financial gifts, pledges, and volunteer hours for the contacts who interact with your organization. Send emails, produce bulk mailings, and print letters, envelopes, and labels easily through the use of Contact Lists.

Research & Reporting
Search your collections in a variety of ways, including by keyword, query, and search term. Group, organize, and manage your records with Catalog Lists. With over 300 built-in and customizable reports as well as Report Maker, generating reports is straightforward and robust.

Security & Backups
Keep your data safe with built-in security features and backup utilities. Control user access to areas of the program and select functions. Protect your hard work by backing up your data and images to a local hard drive, CD/DVD, or removable drive.

Multimedia Upgrade
Attach multiple images from a scanner, digital camera, or files already on your computer to each catalog record with the MultiMedia Upgrade. Supplement your records with additional media, such as PDFs, audio and video recordings, links to web pages, and more.

Network Upgrade
Access PastPerfect from multiple workstations on your network by giving staff simultaneous access to the program with the Network Upgrade. Accelerate data entry and create a more efficient workflow. Several licensing levels are available to fit your needs.

Online Access to Collections
PastPerfect Online enables you to expand your audience to thousands of new visitors by building a fully searchable, online collections database using your existing PastPerfect 5.0 records.

Inventory Manager Upgrade
Achieve your goal of an organized collection with Inventory Manager. Quickly produce customizable checklists and worksheets, print barcode labels for easy tracking, and globally update your inventoried records.


Institutional Members of the American Association for State and Local History (A​A​S​L​H) receive a 20% discount on the majority of PastPerfect products and services.

Product Standard A​A​S​L​H
PastPerfect 5.0 $870 $696
PastPerfect 5.0 Upgrade $375 $300
Add‑on Product Standard A​A​S​L​H
Multimedia Upgrade $385 $308
Network Upgrade 2‑5 Users $515 $412
Network Upgrade 6‑10 Users $900 $720
Network Upgrade 11‑25 Users $1240 $992
Network Upgrade 26+ Users $1650 $1320
Inventory Manager Upgrade $295 $236
Barcode Printing Upgrade $125 $100
Nomenclature 4 Upgrade $40 $32
Training Series (3 CDs + User Guide on CD) $119 $119
Training CDs (each) $39 $39

A full price list for Version 5.0 and all available add-on features can be found on our pricing page.

Add‑on Features

Multimedia Upgrade

The MultiMedia Upgrade for PastPerfect 5.0 links your digital assets to catalog records. With this optional add‑on feature, you will have the ability to attach images as well as audio, video, PDF files, and more to your PastPerfect records. With the easy‑to‑use MultiMedia Wizard, managing your multimedia files is a snap.

Attach multiple images to records by selecting existing image files or acquiring images directly from a scanner or digital camera. PastPerfect supports the attachment of BMP, JPG, PCX, PNG and TIF image files. MultiMedia also gives you the ability to link to MS‑Word documents, MS‑Excel files, PDF files, web pages, audio files, video files, large archival images and any other file type.

This is the tool you need to organize the digital assets associated with your collection.

Image storage: Images can be stored on your hard disk or network file server. Using compressed formats such as JPEG you can store as many as 200,000 images on a 20GB hard drive.

This feature is also available for PastPerfect Version 4.0.

Network Upgrade

Networking promotes increased efficiency, effectiveness, and access to some of your museum's most valuable data.

The Network Upgrade allows you to install the program on multiple workstations and share access to common data files residing on the main computer or network file server. Changes saved at one workstation are immediately seen by all users.

PastPerfect is designed to run on both peer-to-peer and client-server networks.

For PastPerfect to operate as a network program you will need:

  • The Network Upgrade
  • A network operating system such as Windows 10 or Server 2012
  • 100 Mbps network throughput speed

WARNING: Running PastPerfect on a wireless network is not recommended. Wireless networks can be problematic due to lower transfer rates and frequent network interruptions. Please contact the support office before installing on your wireless network.

Peer‑to‑peer (P2P) refers to network communications that bypass servers and allow computers to directly communicate with each other. While administrators normally prefer that all information access be handled by servers for security and control reasons, some network administrators choose the P2P concept because it reduces the traffic load on busy centralized servers, making P2P a viable networking concept.

Please note: For any users or workstations to attach images or multimedia files to records, you will need to have the MultiMedia Upgrade unlocked.

This feature is also available for PastPerfect Version 4.0.

PastPerfect Online

Expand your museum’s audience to millions of internet users by sharing your collection items through PastPerfect Online.

Inventory Manager Upgrade

Inventories are an essential part of managing collections. With PastPerfect’s Inventory Manager Upgrade, you will have the tools you need to accomplish successful collection tracking projects. This add‑on product makes it simple to create inventory lists, print barcode labels, track collections electronically, and ensure accurate records.

With Inventory Manager, you will have the ability to easily:

  • Generate Inventory Lists
    • Automatically generate targeted lists based on catalog, status, collection, or last inventoried date. Lists can include or exclude items on loan or exhibit.
    • Build sampling lists that randomly select a fixed number or percentage of your collection.
    • Print customized inventory worksheets that enable staff and volunteers to efficiently locate and document collections away from the computer. Check out these samples:
  • Record Inventoried Items
    • Scan barcodes or manually create a list of Object IDs with your laptop, tablet or smartphone.
    • Import your inventory list, then update the items’ records using global update features.
    • Produce instant reports of items “found in collection” that have yet to be cataloged electronically.
  • Reconcile Your Collection
    • Quickly update inventory information in PastPerfect with a few mouse clicks.
    • Globally change home or temporary locations with the Catalog List Manager.
    • Maintain an inventory history on each catalog record to better track and protect your collection.

Please note: You will need to be at the 5.0B3 update or higher to use this upgrade. If you'd like to include images on your barcode labels or inventory worksheets, you will also need to have the MultiMedia Upgrade.

Barcode Printing Upgrade

PastPerfect’s Barcode Printing Upgrade takes your museum to the next level of inventory control and tracking. Barcoding is a proven technology that can eliminate keyboard data entry errors and has many applications in the museum setting, from artifact marking and tracking to inventory control.

In addition to printing labels for your collection items, you can also print the PostNet and Intelligent Mail formats used by the US Postal Service to encode zip code information for automatic mail sorting.

Hardware Requirements: You will need a good printer and barcode scanning device. Barcode labels can be printed on any standard high quality laser or inkjet printer. To ensure that the labels can be easily read with the scanner, they should be printed at 600 dpi or higher. Scanners come in three basic styles, the wand, CCD, and laser. The laser is the best because it can scan labels from a distance of one or two feet. The CCD (Charged Coupled Device) scanners work from a distance of about 1" or less. The wand style scanners are the most economical to purchase, but are not recommended.

Please note: If you'd like to include images on your barcode labels, you will need to have the MultiMedia Upgrade. The Barcode Printing Upgrade is included with the Inventory Manager Upgrade.

Training CDs

Become a PastPerfect expert while learning at your own pace! We offer three training CDs that cover everything from collections and contacts management to researching and reporting on your PastPerfect data. They’re great for orienting new volunteers or as a refresher for experienced staff members.

Learn more about Training CDs

Nomenclature 4 Upgrade

Upgrade your existing lexicon with the updated and expanded Nomenclature 4.0 for Museum Cataloging.

Originally published in 1978, Robert G. Chenhall’s system for classifying human‑made objects is the standard cataloging tool for thousands of museums and historical organizations across North America.

For this fourth edition, hundreds of new terms have been added, and every category, class, sub‑class, and object term has been reviewed and revised as needed by a professional task force appointed by the American Association for State and Local History.

Please note: You will need to be at the 5.0D8 update or higher to use this upgrade. The update is available for free to download at our Software Updates page.

Looking for a hard copy of Nomenclature 4.0?
Order Nomenclature 4.0 directly through Rowman & Littlefield for a 20% discount. Use promotion code 4M17NOMCL at the checkout for 20% off – this offer includes e-book and cannot be combined with any other discount offer.

Nomenclature 4.0 for Museum Cataloging: Fourth edition of Robert G. Chenhall's System for Classifying Man‑Made Objects by Paul Bourcier, Heather Dunn, and the Nomenclature Committee. A A S L H Book Series. This ELECTRONIC VERSION is under license from Rowman & Littlefield subject to the terms of the license. © 2015 Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group, Inc.

Support Services

With our PastPerfect desktop software, you can opt into our Annual Support service or choose to pay for support per incident. Purchasing Annual Support means that any of your PastPerfect users can contact our support team an unlimited number of times throughout the year. Our support team can be reached by email, toll‑free call, or live chat. Annual Support gives you peace of mind by providing your staff and volunteers unlimited access to our friendly and helpful staff.

Learn more about Support Services