S10E07: Rationalisation and Disposal

Sometimes museums just can’t keep everything – so what happens then? Together with guest host Emma Duggan we explore both the practicalities and our feelings around objects leaving collections. Also tune in for an interview with Ian Channell and Abigail Johnson from Epping Forest District Museum about their museum’s rationalisation journey.

00:01:58 Our experiences with rationalisation of collections
00:07:17 Why might something leave a collection?
00:10:48 Taking in objects with limited life spans
00:15:17 Knowing what you’ve got
00:23:07 Resources and guidance
00:25:56 Where does conservation fit into this?
00:29:45 Scrutiny of the public and people’s opinions
00:34:38 Interview: Ian Channell and Abigail Johnson
01:01:00 Bite-sized is fine
01:06:28 The issue of institutional memory
01:09:30 We can’t collect like we used to
01:18:49 Language matters – what do we call this process?
01:20:35 Finding new homes for objects

Show Notes:
– S09E02 Extreme Storage: https://thecword.show/2021/04/07/s09e02-extreme-storage/
– An example of why selling your collection is a bad idea: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northampton_Sekhemka_statue
– Museums Association Disposal Tool Kit: https://www.museumsassociation.org/campaigns/collections/disposal-toolkit/
– Collections Trust resource page on deaccessioning and disposal: https://collectionstrust.org.uk/spectrum-resources/deaccession-and-disposal/
– The sculpture Emma mentioned: https://wellcomecollection.wordpress.com/2014/02/26/perspectives-i-cant-help-the-way-i-feel/
– S08E03 Returning Cultural Objects: https://thecword.show/2020/10/14/s08e03-returning-cultural-objects/
– Epping Forest District Museum: https://www.eppingforestdc.gov.uk/museum/
– Press release for Rationalisation Project: https://www.eppingforestdc.gov.uk/museum/exciting-new-project-for-museums-collection/
– Article from Museums Essex about the project: https://museums-essex.org/2021/06/16/relevance-rationalise-and-recycle-epping-forest-district-museum-project/
– S02E01 Danger, Danger: https://thecword.show/2017/08/23/s02e01-danger-danger/
– Find-an-Object: https://www.museumsassociation.org/find-an-object/

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Hosted by Jenny Mathiasson, Kloe Rumsey, and Emma Duggan.

Intro and outro music by DDmyzik, used under a Creative Commons Attribution license.

Made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International license.

A Wooden Dice production, 2021.

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