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Collections should be managed in a way which ensures their continuing relevance, sustainability and accessibility. A review can help enhance collections either through better use at your museum or by disposal, transfer or loan of the collection to an appropriate alternative location. It can identify ways of freeing up resources and reassigning them to manage and improve the core collections.
Our primary aim is to rationalise the collection through disposal of objects with no local provenance and conservation of important objects, thus freeing up storage space and enabling new displays. This will:
• Strengthen the core collection.
• Establish the significance of the collection in both National and International terms.
• Raise the profile of the collection.
• Enhance accessibility for both visitors and researchers.
• Enable our long term aim of applying for Recognition if this is seen to be valid.
We used the Renaissance East Midlands Significance Review Framework as our guide for the process.
By cross referencing the specialist reports it was possible to make informed decisions on which objects should be conserved and which should be put forward for disposal. The remainder of the grant will go towards carrying out some of the conservation recommendations.
This project has been extremely useful on many levels. A collections review was necessary because we recognised that we did not have enough information to base such important decisions on. We know that the collection is important but how could we prove this internally to our governing body and externally to potential funders.
The review has enabled us to plan long term for the future of the collection including issues such as:
• The condition of the collection.
• What to conserve and what to dispose of.
• How important is the collection nationally and internationally?
If we are not aware of how important some artefacts are, then how can we promote them to others and make them more accessible to the public?
• Feeding into forward planning for long term sustainability of the collection within its current wartime building.
By gathering information through a review we can go forward with our ambition of applying for Recognised Collection status for our wartime collections.
Effective Collections has given us a fantastic opportunity to really look at the collection in depth and pay for expert reports and advice which otherwise we would not have been able to afford. This has enabled us to make important and informed decisions on the future of artefacts in the collection.
This project is a good example of work which is applicable to all types and sizes of organisations. It sits comfortably within the new National Development Strategy Aim 1 which is ‘to maximise the potential of our collections and culture’.
Such projects improve and ensure the long-term sustainability of collections through care and preservation and responsible acquisition and disposal.
Orkney Arts, Museums and Heritage are following good practice by implementing the stages of review and are taking all necessary steps to ensure public accountability will be a feature of their project.
The project has not yet had wider promotion within the public domain. A committee report will be presented to the Orkney Islands Council in June 2012, highlighting the objects that are being put forward for disposal.
Once this had been discussed by the Council (our governing body), there will be a press release promoting the project in full. It will clearly state the findings from relevant parts of the reports and explain the disposal process for the public.
No final evaluation until the project is completed, but at every stage of this project so far we have internally evaluated the information and related it to other reports to help guide the project onto the next stage.
For information on the project contact Janette Park, Curator on email@example.com
For more information on Collections Review, Disposal and Loans please go to MGS Collections Development web pages.
1st Aug 2011
6th Jun 2012
Orkney Arts, Museum and Heritage
Who else took part?
Various reports were commissioned and undertaken by the following experts:
• Collections Condition Survey – Jeanette Pearson BSc (hons), Cons Cert, ARC (August 2011)
• Significance Review – Nick Hewitt, Head of Attractions and Collections, Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust (October 2011)
• Engineering Conservation Assessment of Steam Crane – J S Mitchell, Accredited Conservator Restorer, Industrial Heritage Consulting Ltd (Feb 2012)
• Conservation – Will Murray BSc, Dip Cons, ARCH, ARC, Artefact and Preventive Conservator, Scottish Conservation Studio (planned for summer 2012).
The Museums Association Effective Collections Fund