Culture Change

Stimulating change in collections culture to promote use of collections
The overarching aim of the MA’s work on collections is to stimulate a change in the culture of museums, such that they expect to understand, use and share collections more.

So, in addition to the practical elements of the Effective Collections programme with museums, the MA researches, advocates and campaigns for better use of collections through a range of work with partners.

Examples of this work are listed and linked to below:

Smarter Loans

Smarter Loans is a collaborative piece of work with people in museums to review the key principles of loans in the UK and set out guidance for what this means in practice, undertaken as part of the Effective Collections programme.

For more information about Smarter Loans, click here


The MA leads museums’ approach to disposal - from encouraging clearing the clutter to advising on the more controversial area of selling collections.

As well as providing ethical advise on disposal cases, we publish the Disposal Toolkit, a practical guide to undertaking disposal responsibly.

For more information on disposal, click here

Collections review

Collections reviews are an integral part of most Effective Collections projects. They are increasingly used by museums to gain an understanding of collections: both to create strategies for the development of collections and prioritising resources, and to aid collections interpretations and use.

Click here for Museum Practice guidance on undertaking collections reviews

Sharing expertise

Building on the work of the Monument Fellowships and Effective Collections the MA is part of a UK-wide Sharing Expertise Group looking at ways of sharing knowledge and skills to support museums, particularly during the challenging times currently facing museums.

The MA is undertaking the initial stages of the group’s aim to assess current practice in sharing collections expertise, looking at good examples of how knowledge and skills are shared as well as areas of duplication and gaps in provision. We will then make recommendations about how museums can do this better and together.

In summer 2011 the Sharing Expertise Group will begin to implement the recommendations by adapting current programmes of work, seeking to influence sector funding bodies and introducing new programmes.

For more information about our collections knowledge work, click here