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29.11.2018

Icon Responds to Collections 2030

Icon has responded to the Museums Association’s consultation on Collections 2030, a major research project looking at the long-term purpose of collections.

Icon endorsed the overall aims of Collections 2030 to unlock the full potential of collections and to encourage museums to think strategically about their management and use. Icon argued that for this to be achieved, the project needs to “be more inclusive of the full range of disciplines represented by museums” and to celebrate the role that conservation and heritage science play in fulfilling museums’ purpose of delivering public benefit.

Icon’s response agreed with the need to move away from “siloed working.” Museums should be encouraged to look beyond established roles for delivering social impact and to realise the potential of all their duties to contribute to society. The longstanding perception of conservation as a barrier or limit to access is out-dated. Conservators should have a more visible role within public-facing activities – in exhibitions, public programs, study tours etc. – and be supported to think about the ways that the objects in their care might engage wider audiences.

The research project considers funding pressures faced by museums. Icon called for greater investment in the workforce and more consistent and long-term financial support for collections care projects. Icon urged government and funders to be “vocal advocates” for museums and collections, underlining the potential benefit of attracting alternative funding streams.

Icon’s response, which was written with the Policy Advisory Panel, also highlighted environmental sustainability and the skills of the workforce as priority areas for museums over the next decade.

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Image: Creative Commons

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