An updated Disposal Toolkit has been published by the Museums Association and the UK Accreditation partnership: Arts Council England, CyMAL: a division of the Welsh Government, Museums Galleries Scotland and Northern Ireland Museums Council.
The Museums Association, as the professional membership body, is responsible for the Code of Ethics and the Ethics Committee. Accreditation, the UK standard for museums enshrines the code of ethics and represents agreed sector practice. Accreditation is delivered across the UK by the four sector strategic agencies listed above.
This new Disposal Toolkit replaces the widely-used Museums Association’s 2008 version. As part of this, additional guidance on financially motivated disposal has also been developed and published by UK partners, based on agreed sector ethics, legal advice and Accreditation case law. The idea behind the additional guidance at Appendix 4, which should be read as part of the wider Disposal Toolkit, is to provide an ethical framework for colleagues who find themselves having difficult discussions around sales from collections.
Disposing from collections, undertaken responsibly, takes time and may involve a Museum needing to contact the Museums Association or the relevant Accreditation Assessing Organisation, using the First Contact Form. This form should be used by:
· Colleagues actively engaged in the planning or process of disposing of accessioned items from museum collections for financial motivations
· Colleagues who are uncertain whether their disposals procedures comply with those set out in the Museums Association toolkit
If disposals are being planned and are taking place within the framework of a clear and approved collections development policy, with the intention that the items remain in the public domain and importantly, if the plans are unlikely to damage public trust in museums or if they will actively increase the public benefit derived from museum collections, then there is no need to make contact or use the form.
All relevant documents can be downloaded from the Downloads section at the side of this page.