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Getting Your House In Order 2: Ownership of collections

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Making sure you know what you own

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Getting Your House In Order workshops 2021-22

Ownership of collections 18th May 2pm-3.30pm, Zoom

In this session we will focus on the Spectrum procedures and processes involved in assessing and documenting new acquisitions. This includes due diligence, provenance, decision-making and capturing written evidence of transfer of title.

Important because – you have to know, and have the paperwork to show, that objects are owned outright by the governing body, are subject to a separate trust or on loan if they are to be moved on elsewhere, whether through a change of ownership, return of objects to original owners, or long term loan to another organisation.

The Covid-19 pandemic has put many museums in a financially precarious situation. In extreme cases, if not now possibly in the future, they may be looking at insolvency, merger with another museum, spitting up the collection or putting it in a separate trust.

The actions required to manage the collections in order for these to happen responsibly are the same as how any museum collection should be managed to make it accountable and useable in any circumstances – but these scenarios add an extra pressure or urgency to make sure your collections documentation is adequate.

Using the framework of Spectrum 5.0 and its procedures, and referencing the Museums Association’s guidance ‘Museums Facing Closure: Legal and Ethical Issues’ this programme of workshops will focus on the planning and work required for museums to get their collections documentation in order.

Led by Sarah Brown, Outreach Manager at Collections Trust, these online workshops are open to staff, boards and volunteers from museums in the North West which are Accredited or formally working towards Accreditation.

They are not just for museums facing these significant changes, but are also a good refresher for museums wanting to tighten up their documentation, and a reminder of why this work is necessary.

Within the booking process you can indicate if your museum is or could be facing one of these scenarios, and you will be prioritised for a place.

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