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.

Museum approach

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.

Archive approach

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:



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