Code of Ethics for Museums

Developed by our ethics committee and voted for by our members, the code of ethics defines current consensus over the principles that should guide museum practice.

Museums enable people to explore collections for inspiration, learning and enjoyment. They are institutions that collect, safeguard and make accessible artefacts and specimens, which they hold in trust for society."

The values in this definition are developed within ten core museum principles prefacing the Code of Ethics. These principles summarise the key points of the code and are headings for sections within it.

Click on a heading for individual sections.

Museums should:

1: Hold collections in trust for the benefit of society

2: Focus on public service

3: Encourage people to explore collections for inspiration, learning and enjoyment

4: Consult and involve communities, users and supporters

5: Acquire items honestly and responsibly

6: Safeguard the long term public interest in the collections

7: Recognise the interests of people who made, used, owned, collected or gave items in the collections

8: Support the protection of natural and human environments

9: Research, share and interpret information related to collections, reflecting diverse views

10: Review performance to innovate and improve