A protest against BP's sponsorship of the British Museum: the code of ethics could be revised to enable museums to address issues around their impact on the wider world

MA consults on changes to the code of ethics

Patrick Steel, 02.12.2014
Changes could encompass digital inclusion, commercial considerations, and international work
The Museums Association (MA) has today launched an online consultation into changes to its code of ethics.

The code was last updated in 2002, although the section relating to disposal was changed in 2007 to allow for financially-motivated disposal in exceptional circumstances.

The consultation asks questions on a wide range of topics, from digital inclusion to sustainable practice, international partnerships, human rights, repatriation, workforce diversity, and sponsorship.

Alistair Brown, the MA’s policy officer, said: "The consultation is a great opportunity for everyone with an interest in museums to have their say on the ethical standards that all museums should work to.

"A lot has changed since the last review – for example, museums have become more digitally active, and we need to think about the ethics of digital collecting, digital access and social media.

"Museums have increased the scope and amount of international work they do, and there are a number of ethical issues that arise from this engagement.

"As museums become more commercially-minded, we need to think through some of the ethical considerations around sponsorship and income generation.

"And museums have developed strong relationships with communities so we need to consider what an ethical relationship to the public means.

"We’re really keen for as many people as possible to participate in this consultation, both at an individual and organisational level.

"The more input we get at this stage, the better picture we will have of the ethical dilemmas that museums are facing, and the better the new code of ethics will be."

The #museumethics consultation closes on 13 February.


Code of ethics online consultation


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03.12.2014, 18:28
The code of ethics also applies to individuals within the museum community. [Deleted by moderator]. It seems to me that those in the museum world have many opportunities to profit financially by virtue of their particular role, and that such breaches should be punished more severely.