Taking legal ownership of objects, especially (but not always) to add to your long-term collection through the process of accessioning: the formal commitment by your governing body to care for objects over the long term.

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.