Designation is a mark of distinction. It is an accolade, celebrating unique collections of national and international importance.

Designated collections are:

  • iconic authentic and of the finest quality
  • resourced with sophisticated expert management
  • set in aspirational and creative organisations

Designated collections are a vital component of England’s cultural identity; they inform individuals and communities about our forebears and contribute to a sense of community and place; they build local, regional and national wealth through support for learning, skills development and tourism. The benefit of Designated collections to society is to offer:

  • an oustanding audience experience
  • enjoyment, inspiration and knowledge, and formal and informal learning for audiences of all ages.

Designated collection holders endorse the values held by the best museums, libraries and archives:

Continuous Improvement - they use their collections as an integral part of an improvement focussed organisation and champion continuous development

Excellence - their collections hold a quality and range of items which tell a unique story

Innovation - their organisations are adaptable to new working methods and they provide a dynamic interaction between teaching and research

Sustainability - via responsible stewardship and a business-minded approach

Sharing - they broaden and deepen access to their resources for a diverse audience. They drive increased quality in documentation and digital access to collections

This is encouraged by:

Investment in professional development

Continuous professional development is championed to ensure Designated collection holders undertake in-depth relevant research, provide excellent care of collections, and aspire to a leadership role within the sector.

Extensive scholarship

Designated collections are unparalleled in their subject matter and are equipped with strong curatorial expertise, and create partnerships with the wider research community. This combination provides an important research and learning environment.

November 2009