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You should have a policy on why and how you carry out collection reviews. This might form part of a wider collection development policy that takes an integrated approach to acquisition and disposal, particularly if the aim of your reviews if to get a better understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of your collection. Either way, in deciding your policy you will most likely need to consider these questions:
- Why might you carry out collection reviews?
- What legal and ethical considerations will you take into account (eg Museum Association Code of Ethics)?
- Which parts of your collection are priorities for review?
- Who is authorised to carry out collection reviews?
- Do you have all the skills you need, or will you need expertise from outside your museum?
- Are there opportunities for you to take part in wider projects, such as regional or subject-specific reviews?
- How will the results of collection reviews be reported and considered?
- How will you make the results of collections reviews accessible to others?
You should also have a written procedure that explains the steps to follow when a collections review takes place. Spectrum’s suggested procedure is a useful starting point, but however you do it, your own procedure should meet the following minimum requirements:
|Minimum requirement||Why this is important|
|You create and file a written plan for each review that includes the methodology to be followed, the criteria to be assessed and the scoring system to be used.||There is no point recording that the significance of an object is ‘3’ if nobody else knows what that means.|
|You record the date of each object assessment and the person responsible for a scoring decision.||You know when an object has been reviewed by someone with specialist curatorial expertise.|
|You record the relevant numbers of each object (or group of objects) assessed.||It is clear which scoring decisions relate to which objects.|
|You add review assessments to your catalogue.||When looking at an object record you can see that it has been reviewed and you can find the relevant information.|
|You analyse the results of collection reviews and recommend appropriate follow-up action.||Reviews can inform your strategic planning.|