Disposing of items from your collection
From Our Toolkit
Often it is thought that once an item enter a museum or archive collection they will be kept forever. However, disposal from collections when carried in a structured, ethical, accountable and transparent way can be a healthy activity.
The Museums Association’s campaign information on The ethics of disposals outlines the contexts in which museum disposals can be carried out. They detail useful resources including their Disposals toolkit and also case studies from museums who pursued financially motivated disposals.
The National Archives’ De-accessioning and disposal guide provides guidance on what constitutes proper and improper disposal from an archive collection. It explains the risks in disposing from an arhive collection as well as covering the following areas:
- the regulations to consider when disposing
- the principles for de-accessioning and disposals
- a framework and procedures for de-accessioning and disposals
Accreditation standards relating to collection review and rationalisation
Defining a mechanism for the identification of material and the procedures for collection rationalisation meets the following requirements:
- Museum Accreditation: 4.2 A policy, approved by the governing body, for developing collections, including acquisitions and disposals. This is outlined in the Museum Accreditation Guidance on page 45.
- Archive Accreditation: 2.2 Collection Development as outlined in the Archive Accreditation Guidance on page 40.