An introduction to
Collections Reviews

   Paul Fraser Webb
   Consultant
Definition of a Museum


 µMuseums enable people to explore
 collections for inspiration, learning and
 enjoyment. They ar...
The Dynamic Collection
Opportunity Cost
Museum Collections and Sustainability
Nick Merriman (2004)
              Table 2.19 Acquisitions & Disposals from sample
 ...
Acquisitions & Disposals from sample
museums, 1990-2004
N Merriman 2004
Sustainability
Sustainability
Systainability
Dynamic Collections

   Need to enhance use
   Need to get µvalue for money¶ from collections
   Need to guarantee sustain...
Bury ² A Case Study
Why was Bury AGM de-registered?


   Paragraph 4.2.5(e) of the Phase 2
    Registration Guidelines state: ³Decisions to
  ...
Why was Bury AGM de-registered?

   Paragraph 4.2.5(h) of the Phase 2
    Registration Guidelines state: ³Any monies
    r...
Why was Bury AGM de-registered?

   Paragraph 4.2.5(e) of the Phase 2
    Registration Guidelines state: ³Once a
    decis...
Why was Bury AGM de-registered?
   Paragraph 4.2.5(f) of the Phase 2
    Registration Guidelines state:³In cases in
    wh...
Why was Bury AGM de-registered?

   It was not de-registered for selling the
    painting.

   It was de-registered for ho...
Why was Bury AGM de-registered?



³Sell a painting that is not seen to be integral to
           the current collection p...
Objective Opinion

 ³[When disposals are being considered]
 curatorial opinion could be seen as subjective
 and there may ...
A regional response
   Working with the MA to promote the disposals tool kit and ensure its
    effective use

   Promotin...
A regional response

   A methodology
   An officer
   A professional scrutiny panel
   A peer reviewers network
   Money
A regional response

   A Methodology
     Element 1: Curatorial Review
     Element 2: Use
     Element 3: Significance
 ...
A regional response

   A professional scrutiny panel
    The Collections Review Board shall:
    Act as a µsafe environme...
A regional response
A regional response

   A peer reviewers network

     Hub Museums
     National Museums
     Museums with direct DCMS Fun...
A regional response...Funded Projects


                  Salford Museums and
                  Art Gallery


            ...
A regional response...Funded Projects



   Gallery Oldham
   Print Loan
   Collection
   Review
How does this help us?

   Safe environment for discussing difficult
    issues
   Gets underused collections looked at
  ...
Collections Review Seminar Perth 2010 -  Consultant Paul Fraser Webb presentation for MGS
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Collections Review Seminar Perth 2010 - Consultant Paul Fraser Webb presentation for MGS

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Collections Review Seminar Perth 2010 - Consultant Paul Fraser Webb presentation for MGS

  1. 1. An introduction to Collections Reviews Paul Fraser Webb Consultant
  2. 2. Definition of a Museum µMuseums enable people to explore collections for inspiration, learning and enjoyment. They are institutions that collect, safeguard and make accessible artifacts and specimens, which they hold in trust for society.¶
  3. 3. The Dynamic Collection
  4. 4. Opportunity Cost
  5. 5. Museum Collections and Sustainability Nick Merriman (2004) Table 2.19 Acquisitions & Disposals from sample museums, 1990-2004 180,000 160,000 140,000 120,000 100,000 Acquisitions 80,000 60,000 Disposals 40,000 20,000 0 Glasgow Horniman Ipswich Leeds London's Manchester Maritime Transport
  6. 6. Acquisitions & Disposals from sample museums, 1990-2004 N Merriman 2004
  7. 7. Sustainability
  8. 8. Sustainability
  9. 9. Systainability
  10. 10. Dynamic Collections Need to enhance use Need to get µvalue for money¶ from collections Need to guarantee sustainability of collections So, why do we not have a µdynamic collection?¶
  11. 11. Bury ² A Case Study
  12. 12. Why was Bury AGM de-registered? Paragraph 4.2.5(e) of the Phase 2 Registration Guidelines state: ³Decisions to dispose of items will not be made with the principal aim of generating funds´
  13. 13. Why was Bury AGM de-registered? Paragraph 4.2.5(h) of the Phase 2 Registration Guidelines state: ³Any monies received by the museum governing body from the disposal of items will be applied for the benefit of the collections. This normally means the purchase of further acquisitions but in exceptional cases improvements relating to the care of collections may be justifiable.´
  14. 14. Why was Bury AGM de-registered? Paragraph 4.2.5(e) of the Phase 2 Registration Guidelines state: ³Once a decision to dispose of an item has been taken, priority will be given to retaining the item within the public domain and with this in view it will be offered first, by exchange, gift or sale to Registered museums before disposal to other interested individuals or organisations is considered´
  15. 15. Why was Bury AGM de-registered? Paragraph 4.2.5(f) of the Phase 2 Registration Guidelines state:³In cases in which an arrangement for the exchange, gift or sale of material is not being made with an individual Registered museum, the museum community at large will be advised of the intention to dispose of material. This will normally be through an announcement in the Museums Association¶s Museums Journal and other professional journals if appropriate´
  16. 16. Why was Bury AGM de-registered? It was not de-registered for selling the painting. It was de-registered for how it went about it.
  17. 17. Why was Bury AGM de-registered? ³Sell a painting that is not seen to be integral to the current collection policy´
  18. 18. Objective Opinion ³[When disposals are being considered] curatorial opinion could be seen as subjective and there may be benefits in getting opinions objectively scrutinised. There needs to be external evidence that professional guidance and ethics are being followed«[There is a] need to show that decisions are for the good of the museum and collection and not down to the curator¶s personal taste. External scrutiny needs to review Policy, Process and Decision´ Curator in a North West Museum.
  19. 19. A regional response Working with the MA to promote the disposals tool kit and ensure its effective use Promoting peer review of collections in the regions to assist museums¶ focus on their core collections and develop a curatorial overview of collections¶ strengths Developing a regional infrastructure for peer reviews through a greater understanding of and support for regional expertise and research provision. Promoting responsible disposal from museum collections, developing a µsafe environment¶ for the discussion of specific museum disposals and establishing a practice of professional peer review of the mechanism of museum disposal.
  20. 20. A regional response A methodology An officer A professional scrutiny panel A peer reviewers network Money
  21. 21. A regional response A Methodology Element 1: Curatorial Review Element 2: Use Element 3: Significance Element 4: Collections Care Element 5: Museum Context
  22. 22. A regional response A professional scrutiny panel The Collections Review Board shall: Act as a µsafe environment¶ for the museum community to discuss issues surrounding and arising from the disposal of museum objects. To facilitate this the board should act as a µcritical friend¶ to museums. It should help museums develop methods of responsible museum disposal (including promotion of MA¶s Disposals Tool Kit, using peer review, developing criteria for museum disposal, developing methods for assessing significance of objects and collections). It should also review the disposal policies, the procedures and the decisions of museums at the museum¶s request
  23. 23. A regional response
  24. 24. A regional response A peer reviewers network Hub Museums National Museums Museums with direct DCMS Funding
  25. 25. A regional response...Funded Projects Salford Museums and Art Gallery Egyptology Review
  26. 26. A regional response...Funded Projects Gallery Oldham Print Loan Collection Review
  27. 27. How does this help us? Safe environment for discussing difficult issues Gets underused collections looked at Gets specialist opinions Makes qualitative assessments that can balance the financial arguments Gets objective opinions Promotes the dynamic collection OR enhances use
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