A year of Collections Trust outreach

Sarah BrownAs we approach the end of the first year of delivery, Sarah Brown, Outreach Officer here at Collections Trust, reflects on the programme of events she has been working on.

To see all of Sarah’s future events and find something near you, visit our What’s on listing.



Our Arts Council England funded outreach programme aims to spread good practice in collections management, especially in small and medium-sized museums, through training and support. I joined Collections Trust in May 2016 to deliver this work, in response to local needs identified by the Museum Development Network in England.

Since mid-May 2016, I’ve delivered just under 80 outreach events and have enjoyed meeting many staff and volunteers along the way. We’ve discussed how to digitise your collections and manage your digital assets, dealing with unsolicited objects turning up at your door, the best (and worst!) materials and techniques for object marking, what objects in your collections might be protected by copyright, and everything in between.

Locations of the 2016-2017 outreach delivery:

Our most popular sessions have been about basic museum documentation and the Spectrum standard – in fact I’ve delivered over 20 of these. I’ve used many of these workshops as an opportunity to test various versions of Spectrum draft material, and your honest feedback has been much appreciated. With Spectrum 5.0 coming soon, expect to see more of these sessions throughout 2017/18.  Over the next few years we also hope to focus on helping you to getting to grips with your documentation backlogs.

A workshop with people sitting around a large desk writing
Outreach session on the practical ways to engage audiences. Photo: West Midlands Museum Development.

“It was a really helpful day, exactly what I needed, thank you!”

“It was a great training session, pitched just right, good case studies…I came out feeling far more confident about a difficult area of work.”

“This was one of the best training days I have attended. I have come away with a much stronger understanding of rights management. The day was delivered very well.”


Many of our events are kindly hosted by local museums, so I’ve had the opportunity to visit some great venues, many of which I’ve never been to before. A personal highlight this year was Derby Museum and Art Gallery’s nature gallery.

Don’t forget you can also contact me with your collections management questions – I’ve heard from around 50 of you since I joined, and I’m looking forward to chatting to more of you over the next year.

Thank you to everyone who has attended one of my outreach events and made me feel very welcome. Some of you have now attended more than one of my events in 2016/17– it’s always nice to see a familiar face and I hope you see you again.

A special thank you to the Museum Development Network, who make sure our offer meets your needs and organise the venues. We couldn’t have offered so many training opportunities without them, and I look forward to working together for another successful year.

You can find out what Sarah will be doing next near you if you visit our What’s on listing.