Paddy Gilmore, director of learning and partnerships, NMNI

Ethics vox pops
What are your own professional ethical values?

I think actions more than words reflect our values.

Fundamentally, however, I believe it is vital that you should always strive to examine alternative points of view before deciding what is right or wrong in a particular set of circumstances.

Awareness of and openness to different perspectives informs your thinking and is critical for good decision making. In circumstances and in societies where consensus is not always present, it is important that we recognise the breadth of issues present and the consequences of our decisions.

What do the public need from the code of ethics?

The public need absolute confidence and assurance that museums can be trusted to look after the valuable collections which are held on their behalf.

They also need to be certain that museum professionals fully understand and are competent in arriving at sound conclusions when faced with ethical dilemmas in their work.

A code of ethics which embodies our core values and provides a basis for the behaviour of museum staff will, I believe, inspire such public trust and confidence.

If you could change one thing about the code of ethics what would it be?

Increasing the everyday relevance and awareness of the code and embedding it in the practice of people who work in museums would be the holy grail.

Requests have been made for it to be more “user-friendly”.

Does this mean that the code should reflect a clearer distinction between the responsibilities of the individual as a museum professional and the principles and guidelines that the institution should adhere to?

If such a change encouraged more people to use the code of ethics then it would be worth considering.

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