The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust is disposing of farming, gardening and domestic tools. Image:

Shakespeare Birthplace Trust auctions over 600 farming tools

Geraldine Kendall, 10.10.2012
Disposal facilitated by MA's Effective Collections programme
Over 600 farming, gardening and domestic implements will go to auction today in the culmination of a collections review at Shakespeare Birthplace Trust (SBT) facilitated by the Museums Association’s Effective Collections programme.

The tools, which date from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and range from spades to horse-drawn vehicles, were identified for disposal after a review found they did not fit the organisation’s core remit.

Most have no provenance and were acquired in the 1970s and 1980s as part of an abandoned project by the trust to open a museum of rural life in Warwickshire.

The trust won a grant in 2010 to conduct the review from the MA’s now-closed Effective Collections scheme, which was funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation.

The review enabled some objects to be rehomed at other museums and others to be put to use by the SBT’s education and community engagement teams. 

The trust will use proceeds from the auction of the remaining objects to fund the conservation and development of its core museum collection, which is focused on the playwright’s life and works.

Sally Colvin, collections coordinator at the MA, said: “We awarded funds to this project because they had such a sound case for reviewing the collection and because it fitted into the wider ambitions of the trust to rethink and represent themselves.

“They had written a corporate strategy, part of which was to review a number of their collections. Our funding helped them to make a start and develop a model of working that they could apply to other collections. We liked their ambition, in short.

“Throughout, the SBT have been very clear and consultative in their approach to disposal. Auction has come at the end of this process of finding suitable homes for a lot of their disposed material.”

The MA is continuing to fund time-limited collections work through the Esmée Fairbairn Collections Fund.