This year, the Scottish Maritime Museum is undertaking a review of their collections. They have employed me (Rebecca) to carry out the project, with the guidance of the Curatorial team.
Collections form the core of a museum. The more information a museum has about its collection, the more it is able to use it for public outreach and engagement, education and research. This is why many museums are now carrying out reviews. This does not mean simply creating an inventory of objects. Instead, the objective is to gather as much information as possible, such as an object’s condition, its relevance to the collection and its suitability for display. Through undertaking this process, museums find it easier to ensure they are getting the most out of their collections.
The Scottish Maritime Museum’s collections are wide-ranging, consisting of artefacts and archives relating to technological, economic and social history. This includes archives, photographs, shipbuilding machinery and harbour equipment, as well as over thirty vessels. At the moment, much of the Museum’s collection is in storage. The aim is that this project will enable access to be increased. This will be achieved through conducting a full assessment of the collections, which will lead to new exhibitions and displays, new education material and new loans to other museums. It will also result in improving care of the collection through better storage and identifying items requiring conservation.
I am the second Collections Review Assistant the Museum has employed. The first looked at the Photographic Collection, which contains over 16,000 photographs, contact prints and negatives. One aspect of my job is to assess their recommendations and take steps to action these. Another aspect is to start reviewing the objects, of which there are over 4000.
This blog will be used to share my progress and experiences and allow you to be involved in the process. This is an exciting project and I am looking forward to what this next year will bring!