Future of Museums: Disposal
Image: Visitors at Great North Museum Hancock
Disposal is an important part of good collections management and is becoming more urgent than ever.
Full stores can create significant barriers to contemporary collecting, put pressure on finite environmental and financial resources – and prevent our collections from being relevant to audiences.
The Museums Association’s review of the disposal toolkit offers an opportunity for the sector to embrace the benefits that come with this work and ensure that disposal becomes a more accepted part of curatorial practice – while continuing to ensure that the Code of Ethics is upheld.
This event explores how museums can have a positive and proactive attitude towards ethical disposal of collections. A wide variety of speakers examines approaches and impacts of different methods of disposal and share how public and community engagement can support decision-making.
The programme includes:
- The launch of Ethical Transfer, Reuse and Disposal of Items from Museum Collections: A Toolkit
- A chance to try a new Welsh toolkit for assessing the significance of collections
- Case studies from Tullie House, MonLife and Bridport Museums
- A panel discussion looking at the challenges around this work – and sharing practical solutions to embedding a more proactive and positive approach
Delegates also have the opportunity to take part in discussions around language, ethics and the future for our collections.
Please note that this event will be recorded and available exclusively to delegates for three months. After that time, it will be made available to members on the Museums Association website.
Follow this event on Twitter #FutureofDisposal
Jenny Durrant, Collections Consultant and Writer (chair of the event)
Sarah Briggs, Collections Development Officer, Museums Association
Ruth McKew, Director, Headland Design
Jennifer Cragg, Heritage Consultant, Headland Design
Claire Dean, Project Curator, John Ellerman Foundation
Jocelyn Anderson-Wood, Curatorial Manager, Tullie House Museum & Art Gallery
Tim Burge, Collections Consultant, Bridport Museum
Shelagh Ball, Collections Volunteer, Bridport Museum
Elesha-Joy Davis, Collections Review Assistant, MonLife Museums
Paz Tejada, Collections Review Assistant, MonLife Museums
We aim to present a diverse range of speakers from across the UK and internationally at our one-day conferences. If you are interested in speaking at one of our events, or have a project you’d like to see explored, please tell us more by emailing the Events Team.
Welcome from the chair
Jenny Durrant, ‘Collections Consultant and Writer, opens the event with an open discussion about what ethical, transparent and effective disposal practice might look like in museums in the future. Delegates have the opportunity to contribute via the Chat in Zoom and through an interactive Jamboard – we also invite delegates to share examples of disposals that have gone well in a Jamboard Hall of Fame, and items from their collections that they’d like to find a new home for in the Pit of Despair Jamboard.
Launch of the Ethical Transfer, Reuse and Disposal of Items from Museum Collections: A Toolkit
Sarah Briggs, Collections Development Officer, Museums Association, introduces the updated guidance. There will be an opportunity for questions and discussion.
A 10-minute comfort break
Interactive discussion: assessing the significance of collections
Ruth McKew, Director and Jennifer Cragg, Heritage Consultant, from Headland Design, share a new Collections Significance Toolkit for Wales, which encourages museums to take a philosophical approach to assessing the significance of collections and to bring communities into the conversation. Delegates hear how the toolkit was developed and how it can be used by different types of museums in Wales and beyond. During this session, delegates have the chance to test out the toolkit in small breakout groups using hypothetical collections and scenarios. There will be an opportunity for questions and discussion.
Delegates are encouraged to take a screen break during this one-hour lunch break. The Zoom meeting will remain open.
Jenny Durrant welcomes delegates back after lunch
De-Tabooing Disposal in Regional Museums
Claire Dean, Project Curator, John Ellerman Foundation and Jocelyn Anderson-Wood, Curatorial Manager, Tullie House Museum & Art Gallery, discuss how this new project to streamline its social history and costume collections aims to tackle the fear around public perceptions – and take a creative approach to disposals by working with community groups from the offset.
The Right Stuff at Bridport Museum
Tim Burge, Collections Consultant, and Shelagh Ball, Collections Volunteer, Bridport Museum, discuss this ambitious disposal project now in its third and final year. Delegates will hear how in-depth community engagement helped provide a mandate for its 30% disposal target, and how its approach works in practice.
Collections review and rationalization at Monlife Museums
Elesha-Joy Davis and Paz Tejada, Collections Review Assistants, MonLife Museums, share lessons from its now completed project, which included an exhibition as part of its community engagement and communication strategy
A 10 minute comfort break
Panel discussion: embedding positive and proactive approaches to disposal
Jenny Durrant leads a discussion with our afternoon speakers looking at some of the challenges around embedding this work as well as the benefits. There is time for delegates to ask questions and contribute their thoughts around issues such as language, communication, ethics and meeting stakeholder expectations.
Chair summary and close
Jenny Durrant ends the event with some final thoughts.
Concessionary Member – £30
Member (Essential, Full, Institutional and Commercial members) – £40
Non-member – £60
Not a member? Join today and pay a discounted price for this event as well as receiving lots of other great benefits.
Inclusive event places
The Benevolent Fund will provide five free places to this event to individual members who face barriers due to ethnicity, disability, socio-economic background, and gender identity or sexual orientation (LGBTQ).
These free places are part of our wider work towards creating a more inclusive sector. We will also support any accessibility requests such as provision of British Sign Language (BSL), audio description or closed captioning. The deadline to apply for an Inclusive Place is 12 noon on 14 June.
Important booking information
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How attending this event helps your professional development.
Our competency framework supports your professional development. It clearly shows different areas of competency and 4 levels within those areas, which you should be aiming to achieve throughout your work.
Our events relate to certain areas of the framework, and we recommend you look at the competency area to help you target your learning and create focus in the event. You may find that attending an event helps you attain the competencies for a higher level, which may contribute to your AMA or other professional development.
This event – Future of Museums: Disposal primarily relates to the Empowering Collections competency area.