Lots of Accredited museums have collections that contain some paper-based or digital material but usually this is part of a museum collection. Some museums contain archives. There’s a distinction between the two - Melinda talked about an archive as a function and that’s a good way of thinking about it. For all museums, other than recognised Places of Deposit – it’s a choice about whether to participate in the archive scheme. For some museums it will be a very positive development of advice, guidance and recognition of their wider purpose. There is really useful information on the TNA website including an information sheet – what is an archive. We are just about to add complementary information to the Accreditation pages on the ACE website. Museums that are places of deposit will need to as AA replaces the PoD inspection regime.
Archive service Accreditation has been developed to align with Museum Accreditation and it shares the same focus on organisational health, collections and stakeholders and their experiences. It is really good to see Accreditation for archive services now as a reality and I am optimistic that it will be as successful as the museum scheme in helping to raise standards and advocate for the work of collecting organisations in the UK for users now and well into the future. This is an opportunity – it’s an exciting development. This is the first joint communication that we’ve done about the scheme and we need your feedback on whether its clear that the schemes are complementary and which organisations they are relevant for. If it isn’t – or if there is any other feedback that you want to pass on – and please do, we are too close to this. Contact details on final slide.
Archive Service Accreditation - a new standard for heritage collections
Melinda Haunton and Isabel Wilson
Open Culture 3 July 2013
Why a new standard?
• Change in the sector: changes in governance, localism
• Digital becoming BAU for preservation and access
• Developmental not single-point assessment
• A robust framework to facilitate forward planning, improving
procedures and policy and reducing organisational risk
• Aiming at viability and visibility of services
What are archives and why are they different?
• Definition – a function not a medium
• Name for both collections and organisation
• Terminology is awkward: scheme refers to
‘archive service’ – a broad term for organisations holding archive
collections and providing a user offer
• Material has unique and irreplaceable evidential significance in
individual items - so closed stores, research access, digitisation
• User experience is primarily
exploration not exhibition
Developing the standard
• Sector co-creation
• A ‘destruction document’
• Webinars, workshops and forum debates
• Lessons learned
• Piloting across the UK: large and small, museums and libraries,
specialists, businesses and local authorities
• Three modules:
- 1. Organisational Health
- 2. Collections
- 3. Stakeholders and their experience
• Requirements under each module:
- 1. Mission, governance, planning and resources (premises,
finance and workforce)
- 2. Policies, plans and procedures for collections (development,
information and care)
- 3. Access and engagement with the service’s identified
Spot the difference?
• ‘Stakeholders’ – broader than users
• ‘Community’ definition
• Archive sector standards as appropriate
• Private sector eligible – the archive sector mixed economy
• Peer review introduced
Ownership and implementation
• Governing committee recruited across the sector
• Peer reviewers used in some home nations
• Published June 2013, applications live summer 2013, anticipated
roll-out of at least 4 years
• You’re the experienced ones – if you have archive colleagues,
help them out!
• Future developments?
Must include digital-only archives
Might include levels (did not test well)
Should include closer working and sharing with museum
What about museums with archives?
1. Some museums hold archives and are approved places of deposit
2. Some museums and archives are integrated services
3. Some museums have archives
4. Lots of museums’ collections contain some archival type material
How do the two Accreditation schemes interlink?
• Structure and ethos is the same
• Branding will be complementary
• Exploring data sharing
• Memorandum of understanding for joint working
Find out more:
Footcase, Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology. Photo:
UCl, Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology
Senior Manager Quality & Standards
Programme Manager (Archive Service