Collections reviews

Collections lie at the heart of museums. Yet, ask the staff of a museum what exactly it has in its storeroom, and the chances are they will struggle to answer.

However, the more you know about a collection, the better you can use it, which is why museums are increasingly undertaking strategic collections reviews.

This issue of Museum Practice looks at the advantages of a collections review, explores the best way to approach a review and explains some methodologies other museums have used. You can also share your questions and experiences of collections reviews with other readers.

Why do a collections review?

More museums are undertaking reviews to improve their understanding of collections, make disposals or find new uses for stored objects

How to conduct a collections review

A guide to taking a strategic approach to collections reviews, from the preparation stage to conducting a review and making the most of the results

Collections review methodologies

A closer look at some of the different approaches museums have developed to review their collections and meet their objectives

Case study: specialist knowledge

A collections review at Coventry Transport Museum reveals how curatorial knowledge can be supplemented with the help of local enthusiasts

Case study: disposing of objects

A review of domestic technology across Scottish museums highlights how disposal can have positive consequences for museums and beyond

Case study: better use of collections

A fine art collections review at Warrington Museum and Art Gallery has uncovered hidden treasures and will help to pave the way for new exhibitions

Picture album: Disposal?

A selection of images from UCL's Disposal? exhibition, which raised questions about what objects museums should - and shouldn't - collect

Collections reviews: further resources

Further resources for anyone interested in finding out more about collections reviews

Have your say on collections reviews

Share your views on collections reviews and disposal

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