Ciara Canning, senior curator (community history) at Colchester and Ipswich Museums

Ethics vox pops
What are your own professional ethical values?

Being honest, open and treating people with respect is core to my professional beliefs and ethical values.

I believe that everyone should be treated with equal respect and this transfers to respecting their material culture and the objects they donate. For me, there is no such thing as one object being more important than another.

The objects’ context and story is what should be valued and I strive to honour the value of people’s possessions through the highest standards of collections care and considered interpretation.
What do the public need from the Code of Ethics?

Trust and reassurance. To know that the museum sector will uphold the highest levels of integrity in the safeguarding and interpretation of their objects, now and into the future.
If you could change one thing about the Code of Ethics what would it be?

More case studies – help people to think for themselves within guiding principles but to realise that ethical issues are not always black or white. Every individual case or instance requires careful and rigorous thought and the code should provide museum professionals with the confidence to feel empowered to make those decisions themselves.