Our collections achievements
Throughout our history we have undertaken work to support the ways in which museums work with collections. Empowering Collections defines our collections campaigning alongside our biggest and longest running collections programme, the Esmée Fairbairn Collections Fund, which has provided over £10m in funding to museums.
Over the last twenty years, several of our programmes and initiatives have helped develop collections practice in museums.
In 2005 we published Collections for the Future, examining collections engagement, dynamic collections and strengthening the sector. For the first time, this report articulated the problem of too many collections that are hidden from view, unmanageable and little understood.
This led to the creation of the Effective Collections programme from 2006-2012, supported by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, to help museums make better use of stored collections. We:
- awarded 34 small grants of £10,000 or £25,000 to museums to review and research collections and improve their use
- advocated for policy and culture change through the reports Making Collections Effective and Effective Collections: achievements and legacy
- developed detailed resources on Smarter Loans
- wrote the first disposal toolkit to accompany an updated Code of Ethics
- developed training delivered across the UK on disposal and collection reviews.
In 2007 we began related work on the role of expertise in museums, and practical approaches to succession planning and sharing knowledge through the Monument Fellowships. Supported by the Monument Trust, the Monument Fellowships were a series of 43 funded knowledge sharing opportunities for retiring museum workers with specialist knowledge. This resulted in the Monument Fellowship Toolkit.