SLLC Collections Development Policy 2018-2023
Purpose: To set out the rationale and procedures for acquisition and disposal of objects or specimens for all museums operated by South Lanarkshire Leisure and Culture on behalf of South Lanarkshire Council (including, but not restricted to, Low Parks Museum).
Name of governing body: South Lanarkshire Council
Date on which this policy was approved by governing body: 6 March 2018 (Executive Committee)
Date at which this policy is due for review: March 2023
The Collections Development Policy 2018 – 2023 for South Lanarkshire Leisure and Culture has been written to industry specific standards based on Arts Council England Museums Accreditation scheme which underpins The Collections Agreement between South Lanarkshire Leisure and Culture and South Lanarkshire Council and in accordance with the Memorandum of Agreement among Colonel The Right Honourable Ronald John Bilsland Colville The Lord Clydesmuir KT, MBE, TD and Other and Hamilton District Council.
The Collections Development Policy is a main requirement for the achievement of Museum Accreditation and the management of the collections.
Museums Accreditation is a nationally recognised quality assurance grading scheme managed by Arts Council England.
The Accreditation Scheme sets nationally agreed standards for museums in the UK. There are currently just under 1,800 museums participating in the scheme, demonstrating their commitment to managing collections effectively for the enjoyment and benefit of users.
1. Museum’s statement of purpose
“We shall act as a powerful learning resource for all the community, using our collections, knowledge and services to inspire and excite the imagination, and encourage understanding and enjoyment of our cultural heritage and the wider world”.
On 1 October 2010 South Lanarkshire Council (hereinafter referred to as SLC in this document) transferred the museum service to the already existing South Lanarkshire Leisure Limited who from that date was known as South Lanarkshire Leisure and Culture Limited. A formal agreement dated 30 September 2010 between both parties (The Collections Agreement) was entered into to allow South Lanarkshire Leisure and Culture Limited (hereinafter referred to as SLLC in this document) to manage the museum collections on behalf of SLC.
2. An overview of current collections
South Lanarkshire Museum collections comprise over 150,000 objects from the South Lanarkshire geographical / Local Government administrative area.
After local government re-organisation in 1996, the collections of Hamilton, East Kilbride and Clydesdale District Councils together with Rutherglen (from Glasgow City Council) came together as SLC museum collections. In 2000 South Lanarkshire Council, through an application to the Court of Session, was granted ownership of The Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) collections, of which it had assumed legal care since 1996.
The South Lanarkshire collection is divided into 5 collection categories under our museum classification system:
- Industry, Transport and Technology which include a large collection of industrial tools, models, maritime history, a small aviation collection, road and rail transportation and a substantial collection of commercial and domestic technologies.
- Art, design and textiles includes significant art collections on paper and canvas; decorative arts particularly ceramics; special collection books; locally significant civic and regimental silver collections; a small collection of musical instruments; regional, national and military costume and associated accessories covering the period from the 17th century to the present day.
- Natural history covers botany, geology and zoology and includes a significant collection of regional and national herbaria; a regional and nationally significant fossil collection as well as a large rock and mineral collection and a small collection of taxidermy, fish and birds eggs.
- Our history includes a small but significant archaeological collection from pre-history to the present day; a substantial arms and armour collection of edged weapons and firearms, a large numismatics collection and an extensive medal collection which includes 7 Victoria Crosses. This section also includes the history of South Lanarkshire, covering domestic and personal objects including health and education, leisure, working lives, religion and local history.
- Printed and digital collections include a substantial archive broken into geographical areas which cover printed, digital, written information and place specific photographic images. Also under this heading are a substantial military archive and photographic collection relating to the Cameronian (Scottish Rifles) and our film, sound and non-place specific photographic collections.
3. Themes and priorities for future collecting
Our collection covers the geographical / Local Government administrative area of South Lanarkshire. This acknowledges the overlap in collecting area with several independent, local authority, national and regimental museums. A formal agreement exists between Lanarkshire Heritage Forum and SLLC on behalf of SLC, which addresses the overlap in collecting area and enables best practice in collecting. This document and our contemporary collecting policy will be taken into account in this joint area collection policy.
The period of time that the entire South Lanarkshire collection relates to is prehistory to the present day. SLLC museum service continues to actively collect on behalf of SLC. Hamilton District Council via Low Parks Museum had been collecting for over 40 years. In 1996 during local government reorganisation the collections were amalgamated with other long standing collections from Clydesdale, John Hastie Museum in Strathaven, East Kilbride District Council and parts of Glasgow (Rutherglen). In 2000 South Lanarkshire Council through the Court of Session obtained ownership of the Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) collections.
The Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) Regimental collection has been acquired through direct association with the Regiment since its inception in 1689 and therefore a specific geographic area does not apply. Future collecting will continue to be by association.
The main reasons for collecting are:
- Objects have particular significance to the South Lanarkshire area;
- They have potential for display or education;
- Meet the objectives set out in the Contemporary Collecting Policy.
Secondary reasons for collecting are:
To aid research;
- Objects are significant in relation to their discipline;
- Objects will fill gaps in specific areas of the collections;
- Objects will enhance other areas of the collections.
|Collection||Current Holdings||Future Collecting Priorities|
|Social & Domestic History||Wide-ranging collections for most areas of South Lanarkshire.||Post-war objects; sport & leisure; health. Domestic and leisure objects are a priority area for contemporary collecting.|
|Industrial History||Particularly strong on agriculture, textiles, mining, manufacturing, as well as shops and businesses.||Post-1945 material, particularly new hi-tech and service industries; local trades. This is a priority area for contemporary collecting.|
|Archaeology||Small but significant holdings of local Prehistoric and Medieval objects and some Roman material.||Collecting will concentrate on objects that enrich and illuminate the existing collections and the history of the area.|
|Costume, Accessories & Textiles||Significant collections: particularly local silk, lace, the Harry Lauder collection and uniform relating to the Cameronians.||Objects with a local connection; particular emphasis on industrial work wear and children’s costume (e.g. school uniforms). Costume is a priority area for contemporary collecting.|
|Fine & Decorative Arts||Particularly strong collections of early 20th century paintings, Scottish ceramics and glass.||Collecting will concentrate on objects that have a connection with the Council's geographical collecting area; contemporary collecting will concentrate on the work of active local artists.|
|Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) Regiment||Medals, silverware, arms and armour, uniform, textiles, photographs.||Particular focus on the period 1939 to 1968, with emphasis on the Malayan campaign period and National Service during the Cold War period. A key priority will be to acquire full uniforms of all periods.|
|Natural Sciences||Particularly strong collections of birds and birds' eggs, also geology.||Natural history objects will only be collected if they are of very strong local significance, or research value, with proven documentation. Birds’ eggs will not be collected.|
|Civic Material||Furniture, plaques, souvenirs, personalia.||Civic material will be collected only where it has been clearly established that the objects have ceased to have everyday relevance and will not again be required for their former use; collecting will be restricted to objects of particular historical significance.|
|Photographic||There are substantial holdings of photographs within the museum service.||Photographs: future collecting to focus on all aspects of life and work within South Lanarkshire, with an emphasis on contemporary changes to the local townscapes and landscapes. We will also prioritise collecting 20th century photographs.|
|Video and Film||A small quantity of video and film are also held in the collections.||Film & Video will not be acquired, other than for reference purposes, potential donors will be referred to the Scottish Screen archive in Glasgow.|
|Oral History||There are no significant holdings at present.||Collecting to meet specific short-term needs (such as exhibitions) will continue, but specific projects will focus on the Cameronians and on the heavy industries in the area.|
4. Themes and priorities for rationalisation and disposal
SLLC Museum Service on behalf of SLC is currently working through a backlog of cataloguing as set out in our retrospective documentation plan. During this process, and towards completion, when we have better understanding of the full collection, we plan to review our collections and produce a long term rationalisation plan to remove collections which are too badly damaged or deteriorated to be of any further purpose to the museum and its users. We will improve the care of the collections by rationalising duplicate or unprovenanced material of low intrinsic relevance to our collecting policy. We will consider transfer of ownership to another Accredited museum of any item which, by reason of change in public, social or educational need, administrative responsibility, development priorities, or the establishment of a new Accredited museum, the senior museum officer (or responsible officer) advises SLC, who shall be required to agree to such advice, that that object may be more appropriately placed elsewhere. This is in accordance with point 2.9 of the Collections Agreement between SLLCT and SLC,
“2.9 the company shall not dispose of any item forming part of the collections (otherwise than in accordance with the Acquisitions and Disposal Policies), without the prior written consent of the Council”
and in accordance with the Memorandum of Agreement among Colonel The Right Honourable Ronald John Bilsland Colville The Lord Clydesmuir KT, MBE, TD and Other and Hamilton District Council points 11.3 to 11.6:
11.3 After the transfer date (if any), subject always to the provisions of clauses 11.4 and 11.5., the council shall be free to dispose of any item forming part of the regimental collection to which it has acquired title provided always that the decision to dispose of any item is made by the council with the advice of an appropriately qualified and/ or experienced museum curator and only for the purpose of maintaining and improving the quality of the merged museum collection.
11.4 after the transfer date (if any), The council shall offer any item to be disposed of in accordance with clause 11.3 in the first instance by loan, exchange, gift or sale to a museum or museums registered under the MRS.
11.5 if after a period of six months from the date the first offer is made in terms of clause 11.4 no museum has indicated an interest in acquiring the item the council shall be bound to offer the item (for no consideration) to the then Trustees or Trustees of the Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) General Trust and, if the said Trust does not exist at the relevant time or the Trustee or Trustees decline the offer, to offer the item (for no consideration) to the then General Officer Commanding Scotland, or if such office has ceased at the relevant time, the then Senior Army Commander in Scotland. If for any reason the General Officer Commanding Scotland or the Senior Army Commander in Scotland as the case may be declines the said offer, the Council shall be free to dispose of the item as it thinks fit.
11.6 The proceeds (if any) of any item disposed of in accordance with clauses 11.4 or 11.5, shall be applied by the council in maintaining and improving the merged museum collections.
SLC will not undertake disposals motivated principally by financial reasons. Where income is generated by rationalisation, proceeds will be restricted and used either to make new 6 acquisitions that meet the priorities set out in this policy, or to directly benefit the care of the core collections.
5. Limitations on collecting
SLLC on behalf of SLC recognises its responsibility, in acquiring additions to its collections, to ensure that care of collections, documentation arrangements and use of collections will meet the requirements of the Accreditation Standard. It will take into account limitations on collecting imposed by such factors as staffing, storage and care of collection arrangements.
6. Succession Planning
We will develop mechanisms to record past collections information and record this on the collections management system (Vernon). This will be achieved through knowledge harvesting (interviewing curators or retired curators to record unrecorded information) and streamlining electronic and paper-based records management systems to collect and store information. We will also develop mechanisms and procedures for better recording and understanding of the acquisition of future collections including their uses, relevance and history. This will help in the decision making aspects of the acquisition process.
7. Collecting policies of other museums
SLLC on behalf of SLC will take account of the collecting policies of other museums and other organisations collecting in the same or related areas or subject fields. It will consult with these organisations where conflicts of interest may arise or to define areas of specialism, in order to avoid unnecessary duplication and waste of resources.
Specific reference is made to the following museums:
- The Royal Burgh of Lanark Museum Trust
- Douglas Heritage Museum
- Biggar Museum Trust
- Crawfordjohn Heritage Venture Trust
- The David Livingstone Centre
- Leadhills Heritage Trust
- The National Museum of Rural Life (National Museums of Scotland)
- The Scottish National Services Museum (National Museums of Scotland)
- The Association of Scottish Military Museums
Other museums which we will take into account include other local authorities in west central Scotland:
- Glasgow (Glasgow Life Museums, Hunterian Museum)
- Renfrewshire (Paisley Museum)
- West Dunbartonshire (Clydebank Museum)
- Inverclyde (McLean Museum)
- North Lanarkshire (Summerlee – Museum of Scottish Industrial Life)
- East Dunbartonshire (Lillie Art Gallery, Auld Kirk Museum)
8. Policy review procedure
The Collections Development Policy will be published and reviewed at least once every five years. The date when the policy is next due for review is 2023. Museums Galleries Scotland will be notified of any changes to the Collections Development Policy and the implications of any such changes for the future of existing collections.
9. Acquisitions not covered by the policy
Acquisitions outside the current stated policy will only be made in very exceptional circumstances, and then only after proper consideration by SLC, having regard to the interests of other museums.
10. Acquisition procedures
a. SLLC will exercise due diligence and make every effort not to acquire, whether by purchase, gift, bequest or exchange, any object or specimen unless SLC or responsible officer is satisfied that SLC or it can acquire a valid title to the item in question.
b. In particular, SLLC will not acquire any object or specimen unless it is satisfied that the object or specimen has not been acquired in, or exported from, its country of origin (or any intermediate country in which it may have been legally owned) in violation of that country’s laws (for the purposes of this paragraph ‘country of origin’ includes the United Kingdom).
c. In accordance with the provisions of the UNESCO 1970 Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property, which the UK ratified with effect from November 1 2002, the SLLCT will reject any items that have been illicitly traded. SLLC and SLC will be guided by the national guidance on the responsible acquisition of cultural property issued by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport in 2005.
d. So far as biological and geological material is concerned, SLLC will not acquire by any direct or indirect means any specimen that has been collected, sold or otherwise transferred in contravention of any national or international wildlife protection or natural history conservation law or treaty of the United Kingdom or any other country, except with the express consent of an appropriate outside authority.
e. SLC will not acquire archaeological antiquities (including excavated ceramics) in any case where SLC or the responsible officer has any suspicion that the circumstances of their recovery involved a failure to follow the appropriate legal procedures.
f. In Scotland, under the laws of bona vacantia including Treasure Trove, the Crown has title to all ownerless objects including antiquities. Scottish archaeological material cannot therefore be legally acquired by means other than by allocation to SLC by the Crown. Where the Crown chooses to forego its title to a portable antiquity, a Curator or other responsible person acting on behalf of SLC, can establish that valid title to the item in question has been acquired by ensuring that a certificate of ‘No Claim’ has been issued on behalf of the Crown.
g. Any exceptions to the above clauses 10a, 10b, 10c, or 10e will only be because SLLC on behalf of SLC is:
- acting as an externally approved repository of last resort for material of local (UK) origin.
- acquiring an item of minor importance that lacks secure ownership history but in the best judgement of experts in the field concerned has not been illicitly traded.
- acting with the permission of authorities with the requisite jurisdiction in the country of origin.
- in possession of reliable documentary evidence that the item was exported from its country of origin before 1970.
In these cases SLLC on behalf of SLC will be open and transparent in the way it makes decisions and will act only with the express consent of an appropriate outside authority.
h. As SLC holds or intends to acquire human remains from any period, it will follow the guidelines in the ‘Guidance for the Care of Human Remains in Scottish Museum Collections’ issued by Museums Galleries Scotland in 2011 and SLLC’s Human Remains Policy (2012).
SLLC will use the statement of principles ‘Spoliation of Works of Art during the Nazi, Holocaust and World War II period’, issued for non-national museums in 1999 by the Museums and Galleries Commission.
12. The Repatriation and Restitution of objects and human remains
SLLC, acting on the advice of the museum’s professional staff and with the agreement of SLC, may take a decision to return human remains (unless covered by the ‘Guidance for the care of human remains in museums’ issued by Department of Culture, Media and Sport in 2005), objects or specimens to a country or people of origin. The museum will take such decisions on a case by case basis; within its legal position and taking into account all ethical implications and available guidance. This will mean that the procedures described in 14a-14d, 14h and 14w below will be followed but the remaining procedures are not appropriate. Reference will also be made to SLLC Human Remains Policy for clarification on ownership and repatriation (reference 3.3).
13. Management of archives
As SLLC holds archives, including photographs and printed ephemera, it and SLC will be guided by the Code of Practice on Archives for Museums and Galleries in the United Kingdom (third edition, 2002).
14. Disposal procedures
a. SLC will ensure that the disposal process is carried out openly and with transparency, and in accordance with 2.9 of the Collections Agreement between SLC and SLLC and in accordance with clause 11.3, 11.4, 11.5 and 11.6 of the Memorandum of Agreement among Colonel The Right Honourable Ronald John Bilsland Colville The Lord Clydesmuir KT, CB, MBE, TD and others and Hamilton District Council.
b. By definition, SLLC museum service has a long-term purpose and holds collections in trust for society in relation to its stated objectives. SLC therefore accepts the principle that sound curatorial reasons for disposal must be established before consideration is given to the disposal of any items in SLC’s collection.
c. SLLC on behalf of SLC will confirm that it is legally free to dispose of an item and agreements on disposal made with donors will be taken into account.
d. When disposal of a museum object is being considered, SLLC on behalf of SLC will establish if it was acquired with the aid of an external funding organisation. In such cases, any conditions attached to the original grant will be followed. This may include repayment of the original grant and a proportion of the proceeds if the item is disposed of by sale.
e. The Museums Association disposal toolkit will be used at every stage of the decision making process.
Motivation for disposal and method of disposal
f. When disposal is motivated by curatorial reasons the procedures outlined in paragraphs 14h – 14w will be followed and the method of disposal may be by gift, exchange or sale.
g. SLLC will not undertake disposal motivated principally by financial reasons.
The disposal decision-making process
h. The decision to dispose of material from the collections will be taken by SLC only after full consideration of the reasons for other factors disposal factors include the public benefit, the implication for the museum’s collections and the collections held by other museums and other organisations collecting the same material or in related fields will be considered. External expert advice, if considered appropriate, will be obtained and the views of stakeholders such as donors, researchers, local and source communities and others served by the museum will be sought but such views will not be binding on SLC).
i. Rationalisation of the collections will follow the Museums Association’s disposal toolkit guidelines. A long-term collections and rationalisation plan will be drawn up to help guide SLLC on behalf of SLC in their decision making. Rationalisation will only be considered if objects are too badly damaged or deteriorated to be of any further purpose to the museum and its users. It will improve the care of the collections by the rationalisation of duplicate or unprovenanced material of low intrinsic relevance to our collecting policy.
j. We will consider transfer of ownership to another Accredited museum of any object which, by reason of change in public, social or educational need, administrative responsibility, development priorities, or the establishment of a new Accredited museum, the senior museum officer (or responsible officer) advises SLLC on behalf of SLC that, that object may be more appropriately placed elsewhere and in accordance with point 2.9 of the Collections Agreement and in accordance with clause 11.3-11.6 of the Memorandum of Agreement among Colonel The Right Honourable Ronald John Bilsland Colville The Lord Clydesmuir KT, CB, MBE, TD and others and Hamilton District Council. External expert advice will be obtained and the views of stakeholders such as donors, researchers, local and source communities and others served by SLLCT will also be sought.
An object which falls into these categories will be fully researched and documented, and a full report will be submitted to SLC’s Community and Enterprise Resources (or such other appropriate Resource within SLC) for final decision.
Responsibility for disposal decision-making
k. A decision to dispose of a specimen or object, whether by gift, exchange, sale or destruction (in the case of an item too badly damaged or deteriorated to be of any use for the purposes of the collections or for reasons of Health and Safety), will be the responsibility of SLC acting on the advice of professional curatorial staff, and not of the curator of the collection acting alone.
Use of proceeds of sale
l. Any monies received by SLC from the disposal of items will be applied for the benefit of the collections. This normally means the purchase of further acquisitions which meet SLLC on behalf of SLC’s collecting priorities. In exceptional cases, improvements relating to the direct care of collections in order to meet or exceed Accreditation requirements relating to the risk of damage to and deterioration of the collections may be justifiable. Any monies received in compensation for the damage, loss or destruction of items will be applied in the same way. Advice on those cases where the monies are intended to be used for the care of collections will be sought from Museums Galleries Scotland.
m. The proceeds of a sale will be placed in a restricted fund and ring-fenced so it can be demonstrated that they are spent in a manner compatible with the requirements of the Accreditation standard.
Disposal by gift or sale
n. Once a decision to dispose of material in the collection has been taken, SLLC will in the first instance, consider transferring the material to the handling collection.
o. If an object is not suitable for the handling collection, priority will be given to retaining it within the public domain, unless it is to be destroyed. It will therefore be offered in the first instance, by gift or sale, directly to another Accredited Museum likely to be interested in its acquisition. Particular attention will be given to the Lanarkshire Heritage Forum members and sections 11.3 to 11.6 of the Memorandum of Agreement among Colonel The Right Honourable Ronald John Bilsland Colville, The Lord Clydesmuir KT, MBE, TD and Other and Hamilton District Council.
p. If material is not acquired by any Accredited Museums to which it was offered directly as a gift or for sale, then the museum community at large will be advised of the intention to dispose of the material, normally through an announcement in the Museums Association’s Museums Journal or web site, and in other specialist media where appropriate.
q. The announcement relating to gift or sale will indicate the number and nature of specimens or objects involved, and the basis on which the material will be transferred to another institution. Preference will be given to expressions of interest from other Accredited Museums. A period of at least two months will be allowed for an interest in acquiring the material to be expressed. At the end of this period, if no expressions of interest have been received, SLLC may consider disposing of the material to other interested individuals and organisations giving priority to organisations in the public domain.
Disposal by exchange
r. The nature of disposal by exchange means that the museum will not necessarily be in a position to exchange the material with another Accredited museum. SLC will therefore ensure that issues relating to accountability and impartiality are carefully considered to avoid undue influence on its decision-making process.
s. In cases where SLC wishes for sound curatorial reasons to exchange material directly with Accredited or unaccredited museums, with other organisations or with individuals, the procedures in paragraphs 14a-14d and 14g-14k will be followed as will the procedures in paragraphs 14t – 14w.
t. If the exchange is proposed to be made with a specific Accredited museum, other Accredited museums which collect in the same or related areas will be directly notified of the proposal and their comments will be requested.
u. If the exchange is proposed with a non-accredited museum, with another type of organisation or with an individual, the museum will make an announcement 12 in the Museums Journal and in other specialist journals and their website and in other specialist media where appropriate.
v. Both the notification and announcement must provide information on the number and nature of the specimens or objects involved both in the museum’s collection and those intended to be acquired in exchange. A period of at least two months must be allowed for comments to be received. At the end of this period SLC must consider the comments before a final decision on the exchange is made.
w. Full records will be kept of all decisions on disposals and the items involved and proper arrangements made for the preservation and/or transfer, as appropriate, of the documentation relating to the items concerned, including photographic records where practicable in accordance with SPECTRUM Procedure on de-accessioning and disposal.