What we do

Collections Trust helps museums capture and share the information that gives their objects meaning. Our standards and advice are used around the world to make museum collections accessible.

We are based in the UK but work internationally. We help shape the documentation standards used in many countries, always in step with wider information management developments. The core of our work is Spectrum, the collection management standard with tried-and-tested guidance on more than twenty museum procedures. You can find Spectrum available here, along with a wealth of other resources on collection management and related topics.

In England, we are one of Arts Council England’s Sector Support Organisations within the ACE National Portfolio 2018-22. We have an ambitious programme of ACE-funded activity planned over this period, including free training and advice through our outreach programme, working closely with the museum development network. We also deliver other training and consultancy projects at competitive rates, and are always happy to consider new opportunities anywhere in the world.

Our history stretches back to the 1970s and the pioneering work of IRGMA, the Information Retrieval Group of the Museums Association. In 1977, this group formed the Museum Documentation Association (or MDA, which is why your museum might have an MDA code). Since 2008, as Collections Trust, we have continued the work begun over four decades ago.

A key aim of that work was – and still is – to connect collections information from different museums. Our CultureGrid platform brings together some three million object records and makes them available to other websites such as University Museums in Scotland, Exploring 20th Century London and Europeana. Having shown it can be done, we are working on sustainable ways to link and share collections online within the emerging UK digital culture strategy.