Following on from our highly successful panel discussion about ‘What should we do with our collections’ in April of this year, the Geological Curators Group has picked-up on this theme for their Winter Seminar and AGM ‘Building bridges between collectors and museums’.
Good relationships between collectors and museums are critical for us to curate ethical collections, not just for individual museums but also to the wider geoscience community. These relationships have not always been fully harmonious in the past, so the theme this year is to address current and potential issues through a series of talks and discussions, from both sides. While ‘happy ending’ tales of scientifically important specimens being offered to museums are our desired pathway, these are balanced by other stories of collections being hidden away by disgruntled collectors, discarded by disinterested families, or lost due to lack of knowledge.
There are still a few slots available for talks or presentations Events – The Geological Curators Group (geocurator.org)
If you are interested in contributing in any way, please do get in touch as soon as possible so that the organisers can add you to the programme for the day. We are welcoming talks from all sectors, whether private collectors or curators.
We are really keen to explore this subject and work out how best to go forward to enable museums to work better with collectors.
Do collectors need more advice about how to ensure their collections are protected in perpetuity? What details are needed by museums if they are offered specimens, and why? What will ultimately happen to private collections if museums are unable to take them?
All these questions, and more, are waiting to be answered.
If you know of anyone who could contribute to this discussion then please do spread the word. We are looking for a range of non-confrontational talks and discussions to try to work through these sorts of issues:
- Many important specimens are held in private collections. How can museums gain an understanding of the scope of these collections and the needs of collectors?
- How can museums gain the trust of collectors and start to find ways to work around the sometimes strict conditions imposed upon them?
- How do collectors feel that museums can improve the way that they deal with such donations?
- Lack of ‘proof of legal ownership’ or ‘documentation of permission to collect’ can be major sticking points for museums; however, such provenance was rarely required or given historically (or even more recently). How can we ensure that important historic specimens can be integrated into museum collections? Do we need a more flexible approach to the ‘ownership’ of geological specimens collected from casual sites that are not SSSI’s or other protected statuses?
- What can we learn from previous experiences?
- Can museums produce advice to help private collectors to document their collections and highlight or label specimens that might ideally end up in a museum in the future?
Talks should be 15 minutes, including time for questions. They can be pre-recorded if needed, but would ideally be given live to enable Q&A. There is also the possibility of giving a five minute ‘lightning talk’ if that interests you. If you would like to speak at the conference, or discuss an idea with us, please get in touch ASAP at [email protected]