What Next for Stored Collections?

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Museums are moving increasingly to open up their stored collections for access and use by the public. This presentation, part of a series for the UK Museums Association, looks at the organisational and policy challenges and opportunities they are experiencing.

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  • Blythe House, the Science Museum store in London – just before public tours of the store began
  • Blythe House, the Science Museum store in London – just before public tours of the store began
  • Blythe House, the Science Museum store in London – just before public tours of the store began
  • Blythe House, the Science Museum store in London – just before public tours of the store began
  • Blythe House, the Science Museum store in London – just before public tours of the store began
  • Blythe House, the Science Museum store in London – just before public tours of the store began
  • Blythe House, the Science Museum store in London – just before public tours of the store began
  • Blythe House, the Science Museum store in London – just before public tours of the store began
  • Blythe House, the Science Museum store in London – just before public tours of the store began
  • Blythe House, the Science Museum store in London – just before public tours of the store began
  • Blythe House, the Science Museum store in London – just before public tours of the store began
  • Blythe House, the Science Museum store in London – just before public tours of the store began
  • Blythe House, the Science Museum store in London – just before public tours of the store began
  • Blythe House, the Science Museum store in London – just before public tours of the store began
  • Blythe House, the Science Museum store in London – just before public tours of the store began
  • Blythe House, the Science Museum store in London – just before public tours of the store began
  • Blythe House, the Science Museum store in London – just before public tours of the store began
  • What Next for Stored Collections?

    1. 1. WHAT NEXT FOR STORED COLLECTIONS? Nick Poole, Chief Executive, Collections Trust 27.01.09
    2. 2. “ Memory feeds imagination,” said Amy Tan, and if a nation has a collective memory, this is it. There are things here that exist nowhere else on earth.” Look what we’ve got in store The Guardian, 2 nd September 2004
    3. 3. Making stored collections more accessible is a good thing in principle.
    4. 4. In practice, there’s a long way still to go...
    5. 5. We need to find ways of raising the public and media perception that the ability to use collections in store is part of the national museums offer...
    6. 6. We need to understand what ‘use’ of stored collections means, how it benefits the user and how it benefits our museums...
    7. 7. We need to change our working practice based on a clear understanding of what kinds of ‘use’ we want to support and promote.
    8. 8. We need to raise awareness among funders of the range of activity relating to the use of collections in store and the need to support it.
    9. 9. We need to understand how material in store can be used to support the needs of the research community of which we are part.
    10. 10. We need to get to grips with the ways in which technology may be able to help us with some or all of the previous points...
    11. 11. <ul><li>Marketing </li></ul><ul><li>Policy </li></ul><ul><li>Practice </li></ul><ul><li>Advocacy </li></ul><ul><li>Research </li></ul><ul><li>Technology </li></ul><ul><li>Individually: </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Access to stored collections’ as a product </li></ul><ul><li>Using the museum’s Marketing Strategy </li></ul><ul><li>Working with the Marketing Team </li></ul><ul><li>Nationally </li></ul><ul><li>Embedding use of collections in in store within other initiatives with a national profile, such as ‘Night at the Museum’ & ‘Stories of the World’ </li></ul>
    12. 12. <ul><li>Marketing </li></ul><ul><li>Policy </li></ul><ul><li>Practice </li></ul><ul><li>Advocacy </li></ul><ul><li>Research </li></ul><ul><li>Technology </li></ul><ul><li>Individually: </li></ul><ul><li>Incorporating uses of stored material in access policies </li></ul><ul><li>Nationally </li></ul><ul><li>National Museums Strategy </li></ul><ul><li>Museum Accreditation Scheme </li></ul><ul><li>Access to Designated collections </li></ul>
    13. 13. <ul><li>Marketing </li></ul><ul><li>Policy </li></ul><ul><li>Practice </li></ul><ul><li>Advocacy </li></ul><ul><li>Research </li></ul><ul><li>Technology </li></ul><ul><li>Individually: </li></ul><ul><li>Deciding to promote access to your stores </li></ul><ul><li>Managing & developing the collection accordingly </li></ul><ul><li>Nationally </li></ul><ul><li>Promoting use of stored material in national standards (BSI PAS 197) </li></ul><ul><li>Providing information about the different ways in which stored material is being used (Collections Link) </li></ul><ul><li>Building on the UCL research </li></ul>
    14. 14. <ul><li>Marketing </li></ul><ul><li>Policy </li></ul><ul><li>Practice </li></ul><ul><li>Advocacy </li></ul><ul><li>Research </li></ul><ul><li>Technology </li></ul><ul><li>Individually: </li></ul><ul><li>Advocating the use of material in store to colleagues & management </li></ul><ul><li>Nationally </li></ul><ul><li>Advocating the use of material in store to other organisations, such as MLA, DCMS, Arts Council, National Trust, English Heritage etc. </li></ul>
    15. 15. <ul><li>Marketing </li></ul><ul><li>Policy </li></ul><ul><li>Practice </li></ul><ul><li>Advocacy </li></ul><ul><li>Research </li></ul><ul><li>Technology </li></ul><ul><li>Researchers use a variety of methods to find out about objects that might be relevant to their research. </li></ul><ul><li>Most researchers are unaware of the online catalogues that have been, and are being developed by museums and other organisations. </li></ul><ul><li>Researchers believe that there is a lack of consistency in the arrangements that different museums make for direct access to objects. </li></ul>Discovering Physical Objects: Meeting Researchers Needs Research Information Network Report, 2 nd September 2004
    16. 16. <ul><li>Marketing </li></ul><ul><li>Policy </li></ul><ul><li>Practice </li></ul><ul><li>Advocacy </li></ul><ul><li>Research </li></ul><ul><li>Technology </li></ul><ul><li>Individually: </li></ul><ul><li>Identifying the range of research uses for your collections </li></ul><ul><li>Engaging with the research community </li></ul><ul><li>Nationally </li></ul><ul><li>Responding to the recommendations of the Research Information Network report </li></ul>
    17. 17. <ul><li>Marketing </li></ul><ul><li>Policy </li></ul><ul><li>Practice </li></ul><ul><li>Advocacy </li></ul><ul><li>Research </li></ul><ul><li>Technology </li></ul><ul><li>RIN Recommends... </li></ul><ul><li>Get catalogues online quickly </li></ul><ul><li>Provide clear and open policies on access </li></ul><ul><li>Clarify the quality of catalogues </li></ul><ul><li>Deal with backlogs </li></ul><ul><li>Include images and context </li></ul><ul><li>Talk to researchers </li></ul><ul><li>Connect museum databases with each other </li></ul><ul><li>Connect them to library and archive databases </li></ul><ul><li>Get them into Google </li></ul><ul><li>Work together </li></ul>
    18. 18. <ul><li>Marketing </li></ul><ul><li>Policy </li></ul><ul><li>Practice </li></ul><ul><li>Advocacy </li></ul><ul><li>Research </li></ul><ul><li>Technology </li></ul><ul><li>Individually: </li></ul><ul><li>Use technology to market the availability of stored material </li></ul><ul><li>Use technology to let people know what is in your collections </li></ul><ul><li>Nationally </li></ul><ul><li>Promote services which advertise the national museum offer (eg. Culture24) </li></ul><ul><li>Connect cultural databases and web services and embed them in Google (Culture Grid) </li></ul>
    19. 19. Sorting out the issue of access to and use of stored collections has the potential to be a really powerful step forward for museums. There is an opportunity to be proactive in taking something which is potentially a drain on public resources and turning it into a success story. Over to you...
    20. 20. http://openculture.collectionstrustblogs.org.uk http://www.collectionslink.org.uk/use_collection

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