You should have a policy on acquiring objects, which might be part of a wider collections development policy covering disposals too. Either way, in deciding your policy you will most likely need to consider these questions: What kinds of objects might you acquire and why? What legal and ethical issues will you consider before acquiring […]
In legal terms, acquisition involves a ‘transfer of title’ from the previous owner to you. The procedure gives you proof of ownership, and it assigns a unique number that will link each object to the information you hold about it.
Accessioning has a very specific meaning: it brings with ethical responsibilities to preserve objects over the long term, and should not be done without careful thought in the light of your agreed collecting policy. This procedure assumes that most of the objects you acquire will be accessioned.
However, you might acquire objects for other reasons, such as using them in handling activities or as display props. In that case, use part of this procedure but do not formally accession the items. Occasionally you might accession things you already own that have become significant over time (eg Victorian display cases).
This is a Spectrum primary procedure. UK museums must meet the standard set out below to fulfil the requirements of the Museum Accreditation Scheme.
You should have a written procedure that explains the steps to follow when acquiring objects. This suggested procedure, and the workflow based on it, are useful starting points. However you do it, your own procedure should meet the minimum requirements of the Spectrum standard. To see the workflow as PDF, follow the download link on […]