Is Revisiting Collections working? Full report

Our Museum: Communities and Museums as Active Partners is a special initiative of the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, to facilitate a process of development and organisational change within museums and galleries that are committed to active partnership with their communities.

Commissioned from consultant Caroline Reed by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, this report asks whether focusing on engaging people directly with collections has helped deliver active participation and change organisations.

The full report draws extensively on the experiences of museum and archive staff who have used Revisiting Collections. It concludes that the methodology has made a valuable contribution to shaping and delivering active, collections-focused participation in museums and archives. While RC’s tools and online guidance could benefit from some updating and re-presentation, there is no evidence that the methodology has been superseded or overtaken either by major changes in professional practice or by technology. However, barriers to services using the methodology successfully still exist, and organisations and individual practitioners will continue to need support to overcome these as well as to find out about the methodology and its potential.

The report makes targeted recommendations to stakeholder organisations including Collections Trust, strategic sector lead bodies and funders so that:

  • Services and individuals that might benefit from RC are encouraged and supported to consider and use the methodology.
  • New entrants and current practitioners in the heritage professions, grant applicants and services preparing to meet relevant sector wide standards (e.g. Accreditation) are informed about the methodology and can readily access the necessary tools, guidance, case studies and peer group support.

It also offers some practical guidance notes for services considering using the methodology.

Click on the link on the right-hand side to download this resource as a PDF.

Date created: 2013

Author: Caroline Reed

Publisher: Paul Hamlyn Foundation