Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Collection Management
Academic Year
Semester 1
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture x 9
Seminars / Tutorials x 6


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Essay of 2500 words  60%
Semester Assessment Documentation Test  40%
Supplementary Assessment Essay of 2500 words and Documentation Test  100%

Learning Outcomes

1. articulate in a range of museum related issues
2. proficient in the documentation and recording of museum artefacts
3. photograph works of art, sculpture, paintings, small objects, glass etc.
4. to appreciate the importance of an Acquisitions Policy to help control and structure accessions and accepting gifts

Relation to Assessment
Essay (1,2,4), Documentation Test (2,3)
The essay provides the opportunity for the student to discuss and demonstrate their comprehension of the methods and importance of effective collection management in a museum. The Documentation Test provides a the opportunity to identify and demonstrate the standards of Collection Management required in museum work through a practical application of the skills and knowledge acquired throughout the module.

Brief description

Good documentation enables the proper management (care, control, usage), understanding, and interpretation of museum collections. This module examines ways in which museums document and looks after their collections, and covers all kinds of recorded information a museum has about the things it collects. It will examine the purpose of museum documentation systems by considering an object'r journey through a museum collection from accession to display. The module will consider various processes of gathering, recording, storing, manipulating and retrieving information about collections, cultural and environmental heritage


1. introduce the care and control of collections, aiding the use of the collections, aiding the preservation of information
2. introduce various documentation systems and provide practical instruction in database software
3. appreciate the importance of recording information of objects through related archives, photographs, film and audio material
4. explain the necessity for Acquisitions and Disposals Policies and joint collecting strategies amongst neighbouring institutions
5. define Disaster Planning and consider Management Strategies


  • Purchase, Gift, Loan and Find: Acquisitions and Disposals Policies and Accessions Procedures
  • Documentation and the Museum Documentation Association
  • Information Retrieval: Computers, Databases and MODES
  • Classification: Standardised Terminology and Data Dictionaries
  • Archives and Object History Files
  • Recording Heritage: Photography, Sound and Moving Image
  • Research and Scholarship in Museums
  • Storage, Environmental Control, Care of Collections, Condition Checks and Reports
  • Security and Disaster Planning

Transferable skills

1 Independent project work
  • essay
  • preparation for seminars
  • preparation for documentation test
2 IT and information handling
  • word processing
  • database
  • web database searches
3 Use and analysis of numerical information
  • None.
4 Writing in an academic context
  • essay
5 Oral discussion and presentation
  • seminars
  • object description and documentation exercises
6 Careers need awareness

  • The module is specifically for students considering a career in museums, art gallery administration, public art organisations, freelance curators and exhibition organisers, and in private galleries.
7 Self-management
  • Course Work
  • Seminar Preparation

8 Group activity
  • Seminars
  • Identification and documentation exercises in groups

Reading List

A Fahy (ed) (1994) Collections Management Routledge London Primo search D A Roberts (1985) Planning the Documentation of Museum Collections MDA Primo search D L A Williams A Guide to Museum Computing Primo search Gaynor Kavanagh (ed.) (1994) Museum Provision and Professionalism Routledge, London Primo search Museum Documentation Association (2000) Standards in Action:Spectrum IT Guide Book 2 The MDA, London Primo search Museums Association (1992) Manual of Curatorship Butterworths, London Primo search Museums Association Museum Practice `Storage', Issue 1, Vol. 1, March 1996, `Display', Issue 2, Vol. 1, July 1996, `Outreach'Issue 3, Vol. 1, [December] 1996, `Environment', Issue 4, Vol. 2, No.1, 1997Issue 3, Vol. 1, [December] 1996, `Environment', Issue 4, Vol. 2, No.1, 1997 Primo search Security, Issue 8, Vol. 3, No.2, 1998, `AV & Multimedia?, Issue 9, Vol. 3, No.3, 1998 Primo search


This module is at CQFW Level 5