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Collections Management


  • Credit value: 30 credits at Level 7
  • Convenor: Sarah Thomas
  • Assessment: documentation of a bequest, including a reflective critique (100%)

Module description

Collections management lies at the heart of museum practice today. On this short intensive course you will be introduced to its core principles, including acquisition, registration, cataloguing, basic object care, storage and access.

The course will be delivered over a five-day period: classroom learning will take place each morning, followed in the afternoon by visits to a range of museum and gallery collections across London. You will have the opportunity to meet a range of professional registrars and collections managers, and to critically reflect upon some of the key challenges facing the profession today.

Indicative module syllabus

  • Introduction: Museum Collecting in a Historical Perspective
  • Core Principles 1 (policy, inventory, acquisition, deaccession)
  • Core Principles 2 (cataloguing, location, risk management, loans)
  • Caring for Objects (storage, condition reporting, conservation, environment, packing, touring)
  • Challenges of Contemporary Practice and the Future of Collection Management

Learning objectives

By the end of the module, you will be able to:

  • understand the fundamental principles of collections management within the modern museum context
  • understand the principles of museum collecting today, and their relevance to managing a collection
  • catalogue an object to museum standards
  • draw on theoretical concepts to understand the methodologies of collections management and care
  • identify some of the challenges faced by collection managers in museums today.