Here you can find our latest blog posts, covering a range of collections management topics from across the museum world, including our campaigns #BanishThatBacklog, #ItsGoodToShare and #EmpoweringCollections.

Sign up to our monthly newsletter to find out when a new blog post is published. We welcome new ideas for posts. If you’d like to write for our blog, please get in touch with Communications Officer, Lisa Hughes.

Our survey said...

News, blog and events

Pulling together who knew what about the collections via a survey helped Dorset Museum banish the backlog, as Collections Assistants Kat Broomfield and Camilla King explain.

Work on paper

News, blog and events

How banishing the backlog uncovered an early 20th century essay by a 13-year-old schoolgirl which helped connect modern Rochdale to an inspirational past.

Remotely possible? Access to collections data during lockdown

News, blog and events

Staff and volunteers from around 40% of UK museums are without access to the collections information they need to work remotely from home. That’s the headline finding of a survey by Collections Trust in the first few weeks of the nationwide lockdown. It’s a problem of basic digital resilience affecting museums large and small.

Spectrum Partners – Covid-19 response

News, blog and events

A roundup of the additional support and information Spectrum Partners are offering users of their collections management systems and digital asset management systems during the Covid-19 pandemic lockdowns in the UK and many other countries.

Bigging up AI

News, blog and events

AI technologies have great potential to help us discover meaning in museum collections, says Kevin Gosling, but they need to be trained using big data at a scale that’s currently hard for most institutions to delivers currently hard for most institutions to deliver.

Sharing data any which way

News, blog and events

Sharing museums collections data has traditionally been a ‘right faff’, but things are moving on and standardising incoming data should soon be the job of the harvesting tool, not the museum supplying the data, says Kevin Gosling.

No half measures

News, blog and events

Charlotte Hall, curator at the Peace Museum in Bradford, describes the benefits of being part of the Collections Trust’s Collection Cohort programme.

Untold tales

News, blog and events

Revealing hidden histories and making better use of underused collections are at the heart of a West Midlands Museum Development project, as Helen Johnson explains.

Finding and wayfinding

News, blog and events

Pam Young, Collections Documentation and Procedures Manager at the V&A, describes how the museum audited and refined its location authorities to ensure visitors can find what they’re looking for.

Part of: Blog

Why can't we just use Google?

News, blog and events

Surely Google can help us find objects in collections across the UK’s museums? Chief Executive Kevin Gosling addresses a key question at the heart of the Collections Trust’s recent feasibility study for DCMS on mapping digitised collections.

Out of the box 

News, blog and events

Patricia Day, Seaside Heritage Project Officer at Time and Tide in Great Yarmouth, describes the Handling Boxes project, which turned volunteers into co-curators. 

Mapping digitised collections: how ... and why

News, blog and events

Kevin Gosling, Chief Executive of Collections Trust, introduces a recently-published study, commissioned by DCMS, into the feasibility of mapping and connecting digitised cultural collections with a view to making them searchable across organisations and disciplines.

The Banish the Backlog programme

News, blog and events

Many museums struggle with a lack of basic inventory information, while others are confused about what they need to do to achieve Accreditation. Outreach Officer Sarah Brown explains Collections Trust’s programme to address this.

Through a glass darkly: museum, memory and senses

News, blog and events

A project examining how sensory and digital displays can create a more inclusive approach to museum collections is the subject of this guest blog post from Rebecca Sweetman, Professor of Ancient History and Archaeology, and Alison Hadfield, Learning and Access Curator, Museum Collections Unit, both at University of St Andrews.

Part of: Blog

Comparing collections practice across the pond

News, blog and events

Claire Sussums, Assistant Director for Content at the Museum of London, recently caught up with friend and former colleague Frances Lloyd-Baynes, Head of Collections Information Management at the Minneapolis Institute of Art (Mia), to compare their experiences of more than two decades managing collections on either side of the Atlantic.

Part of: Blog

Help researchers to follow the trail

News, blog and events

In our latest #ItsGoodToShare blog post, researcher Anna Reeve talks about her experience of tracking down information about ancient Cypriot collections. She discusses the difficulties posed by not being able to search across museum collections.

Documentation procedural manual: top tips

News, blog and events

On 12 December 2018 we held an hour-long Twitter session to let you know a little more about our new documentation procedural manual resource. We had a lot of insightful comments, queries and poll results, so we decided to put them all together for anyone who missed it.

Part of: Blog

Getting collections online in the South West

News, blog and events

In our latest #ItsGoodToShare blog post, Rick Lawrence, Digital Media Officer at the Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery (RAMM), discusses his museum’s experience of sharing collections data online and their aspirations for the future.

From mammoth task to mammoth tusk

News, blog and events

Ipswich Museum was a highly-commended runner-up for the 2018 Collections Trust Award. Here, Collections and Learning Curator Dr Kate Riddington explains how the museum streamlined what can often be the most time-consuming part of any inventory project: reconciling objects listed in stores against a range of existing documentation.

'Just give us the data'

News, blog and events

In the first #ItsGoodToShare guest blog, David Dawson, Director of Wiltshire Museum, explains why Wessex Museums Partnership would like to combine their online collections to offer users a joined-up service.

Rationalisation, disposal and Buffalo Bill

News, blog and events

Gallery Oldham have been collecting and caring for varied objects, from historical items and artworks to natural history specimens, since 1883. In this guest blog post Gallery Oldham’s Collection Assistant, William Longshaw, tells us about an object that ‘came back from the brink’ during a recent collections rationalisation programme.

Part of: Blog

A busy year of outreach (2017/18)

News, blog and events

Funded by Arts Council England, Sarah Brown (our Outreach Officer) delivers support and guidance to museums across the English regions. After a busy year, we catch up with Sarah to find out more about her work.

See where we travelled for our outreach programme 2017-18

News, blog and events

Over the last year our Outreach Officer, Sarah Brown, has travelled across the country to promote good practice in collections management, funded by Arts Council England. In particular Sarah has provided support and training for small and medium-sized museums, responding to local needs identified by the Museum Development Network in England.

Part of: Blog

Collections management and curating at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society's Museum: A student's experience

News, blog and events

As part of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society Museum’s wider efforts to tackle their cataloguing backlog Ariel Lin, MA student in Art Museum and Gallery Studies at the University of Leicester, worked on a collection of medical equipment, recently donated to the museum. She wrote about her experience cataloguing, researching and curating a temporary exhibition around the donation on the Royal Pharmaceutical Journal website.

Part of: Blog

Because we want to be there: reflections on volunteering at a museum

News, blog and events

In this guest post, Anne Lord shares her experience at Colne Valley Museum, which relies entirely on volunteers. A volunteer herself, Anne reflects on the challenges and successes of the museum’s collections management work, including a current HLF-funded collections digitisation project. This post is adapted from her presentation at Collection Trust’s conference in September 2017.

Part of: Blog

Perspectives on disposal: Museum of London Review and Rationalisation Project

News, blog and events

Naomi Russell, Project Assistant at the Museum of London, has written this guest blog post looking at the rationalisation of the Social and Working History collections at the museum. With over 100,000 objects involved in the project, it was a huge undertaking that aimed to improve the collection, benefit other institutions through disposal of objects and ensure the Museum was applying its collections development policy correctly.

Part of: Blog

Valuing Your Collection

News, blog and events

In this guest post, Freda Matassa, Director of Matassa Toffolo, talks about the background to her new book, Valuing Your Collection: a practical guide for museums, libraries and archives.

Part of: Blog, Valuation

Perspectives on Disposal: Decluttering

News, blog and events

In this guest blog, Professor Sharon Macdonald and Dr Jennie Morgan from the Department of Sociology at the University of York address the topic of museum disposal. They share insights gained from a different context—household decluttering—to prompt new ways of approaching and thinking about disposal. While it is perhaps no longer considered ‘controversial’ or a ‘dirty word’ in the ways it once was, there persists (as Director of the Museums Association Sharon Heal put it earlier this year) a ‘shying away’ from disposal.

Part of: Blog

Collections Trust asks DCMS to futureproof the way museums share their collections online

News, blog and events

This is Collection Trust’s response, in 2017, to the #CultureisDigital consultation on cultural infrastructure by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. It asks DCMS to make programme funding available to one of the government-sponsored national bodies to take responsibility for the infrastructure needed to bring together collections information from UK museums and make it available for re-use.

The Holy Grail and other unaccessioned objects

News, blog and events

In an excerpt from her blog post, Ruth Burwood, Museum Development Project Officer for Collections for SHARE Museums East, reflects on the highs and lows of collections review and rationalisation, and shares some top tips.

Part of: Blog

Paintings in Hospitals - using art to inspire better health and wellbeing

News, blog and events

The guest blog this week comes from Amisha Karia, Head of Collections & Programming at Paintings in Hospitals. Amisha describes the background to the inspiring Paintings in Hospitals collection and the practicalities and challenges of working with a collection that is frequently on display in environments often quite different to that of a museum or gallery. The amazing response from those who connect to the artworks demonstrates the positive social impact the collection has.

Part of: Blog