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Collecting Policy

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Chichester District Museum
Collecting Policy 2006-2011

Chichester District Council as governing body of Chichester District Museum
approves this Collecting Policy, which will be reviewed at least five years.

This document makes reference to the Museums & Galleries Commission
(MGC) Registration Guidelines of 1995, which have been adopted by its
successor body, the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA). This
policy is also informed by the Museum‟s Access and Learning Policies (at the
draft stage, 2006) and its Display Policy (2006).

Review date : 2011

Purpose of the Collecting Policy
    - The purpose of this policy is to comply with the requirements of the
      Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA) Accreditation
      Scheme concerning the acquisition and disposal of collections and to
      encourage public confidence in the Museum as a suitable place for the
      safe keeping of local material.
    - It also defines the present state and use of the collections and reviews
      the current policy of acquisition and disposal. It ensures material is
      accepted according to a recognised strategy and serves as a reference
      document to guide curatorial decisions.
    - It identifies the resources available to maintain the present and future
      collections and ensures more efficient use of these resources.
    - It establishes relationships with other Museum bodies in the area with
      regard to acquisition of material for the collection and transfer of

Chichester District Museum Service – Statement of Intent
Chichester District Museum is concerned with the history, in its broadest
sense, of the localities in the Chichester District. When Chichester Museum
opened in 1964 its service was limited to the City boundaries, but in 1974 it
was extended to cover the whole administrative area of Chichester District
Council. The Museum today continues to serve those who visit or live in the
Chichester District in two main ways:
   a. Through its collecting, the Museum aims to build an ordered,
      documented and accessible record of material relating to the history of
      the District.
   b. Through its activities the Museum aims to extend access to the
      material it holds and increase understanding of the local area.

1. Existing collections, including the subjects or themes for collecting

Chichester District Museum holds at present collections of material in the
following categories:

1.1. Geology
1.1.1. A collection of local fossils, minerals and rocks found in the Chichester
       District and that part of the Arun District which lies to the west of the
       River Arun. This material is supported by documentation contemporary
       with its collection plus later catalogue records. A small number of non-
       local fossils are used as a handling collection.

1.1.2. A small collection of minerals, mostly unprovenanced and including
       non-United Kingdom material. This is used as a reference and
       handling collection.

1.2.   Archaeology
       Chichester District Museum has an extensive collection of
       archaeological material, mostly from excavations. This material is from
       the present Chichester District Council administrative area, and that
       part of Arun District which lies to the west of the River Arun.

       All periods of time from the Palaeolithic to recent times are included in
       the collections.

       The collection consists of artefacts, animal and human skeletal
       material, and soil and other organic samples. This is supported by the
       excavation paper/disc archives including photographs, site notes, texts
       for publication. At present, some of these paper records are deposited
       at the West Sussex Record Office because of restricted storage at the
       Museum. The reserve archaeological collection is in the process of
       being transferred (spring 2006) to a new store at Fishbourne Roman
       Place, the Collections Discovery Centre, which is jointly run by
       Chichester District Council and the Sussex Archaeological Society. It
       is planned to eventually locate all of the reserve archaeological material
       there, including site records, where possible.

1.3    Ethnography and non-British Archaeology
       In the areas of ethnography and non-British Archaeology, Chichester
       District Museum holds small collections. Most of this material is poorly
       provenanced and documented, and appears to relate to the collections
       of former Museums (including Guildhall Museum, Chichester Museum
       1830s to 1920s, and Bognor Museum which closed in 1974).

       Information on this material has been passed to specialist groups such
       as the Museum Ethnographers‟ Group. It is not intended to add to
       these collections.

1.4   Social History
      By “Social History material” is meant evidence of local peoples‟
      activities in the community (mainly of non-archaeological origin), at
      home and in personal and working life during any period up to the
      present. This evidence includes not only objects but pictures,
      photographs, ephemera and oral history records.

      The present Social History Collection
      The Museum holds a collection of social history objects and items of
      ephemera (such as posters or leaflets). Past collecting has produced a
      bias towards items relating to the history of the City of Chichester. The
      activities most strongly represented are:

      a. community life: local organisations, law enforcement
                                and education
      b. domestic life:         heating, lighting, cleaning, food preparation,
      c. working life:          agriculture, manufacturing (food and drink)
                                and retail

      In addition the Museum has a small collection of fine art and a
      considerable local photographic collection. The Museum has a small
      collection of local oral history recordings and transcripts.

2.    Criteria governing future collecting policy, including the subjects
      or themes for collecting

      Chichester District Museum will collect material relating to the following
      subjects, periods of time, and geographical areas:

2.1   Geology
      The Museum will collect local fossils, minerals and rocks found in
      Chichester District and that part of the Arun District which lies to the
      west of the River Arun, with supporting documentation. No further non-
      local mineral will be added to the permanent collection (though mineral
      items may be accepted for the handling collection)

2.2   Archaeology
      The Museum will collect material mostly (but not exclusively) from
      excavations, from the present administrative area of Chichester District
      and that part of the Arun District which lies to the west of the River
      Arun. Material of all periods of time from the Palaeolithic to the near-
      present will be collected including artefacts, animal and human skeletal
      material and soil and other organic samples, supported by excavation
      archives, where the material derives from an excavation.

2.3   Social History
      The Museum will continue to collect evidence of local peoples‟ activities
      in local communities, at home, and in personal and working life during

      any period up to the present. This evidence will include not only
      objects but ephemera, pictures, photographs and oral history records.
      The Museum shall collect only material which is associated with the
      Chichester District Council area and is well documented and

3.    Period of time and/or geographical area to which collecting relates

3.1   As stated in sections 1 and 2 above, the Museum collects local
      geological material of all eras and human-ancestor and human material
      from the Palaeolithic period to the present.
3.2   As stated in sections 1 and two above, geological and archaeological
      material are collected from Chichester District and that part of the Arun
      District which lies to the west of the River Arun. Only social history
      material associated with the Chichester District Council area is
      collected by the Museum.

4.    Limitations on collecting

      The Museum recognises its responsibility, in acquiring additions to its
      collections, to ensure that care of collections, documentation
      arrangements and use of collections will meet the requirements of the
      Accreditation Standard. It will take into account limitations on collecting
      imposed by such factors as inadequate staffing, storage and care of
      collection arrangements.
      The Museum recognises that material should only be collected that it
      has the capacity to store and conserve. The Collecting Policy will
      assume continuing improvement in the standards of storage and
      conservation to provide an adequate record for the future with an
      appropriate level of care. However, some specialised items will not
      usually be collected by the Museum as it cannot satisfactorily curate
      them. Such items may be referred to other institutions (subject to their
      own collecting policies).

4.1   Costume
      The Museum will not collect costume other than items of special
      significance as social history material. Costume is normally offered to
      Worthing Museum and Art Gallery, which collects English costume of
      all types and periods and has a specialist curator.

4.2   Fine Art
      The Museum will not collect fine art unless items have significance as
      local historical material. Pallant House Gallery, Chichester, collects
      fine and decorative art.

4.3   Manuscripts
      The Museum will collect some written and printed material. However,
      most written manuscripts and some printed items are passed to West
      Sussex Record Office, Chichester.

4.4   Natural History
      The Museum will not collect natural history material (apart from geology
      and items included as part of an archaeological archive). Natural
      history items will normally be referred to the Booth Museum, as the
      Biological Recording Centre for Sussex.

4.5   Military Material
      The Museum will only collect military items which have special
      significance as local archaeological or social history material. County
      regimental material will be referred to the Royal Sussex Regiment
      Museum Trust, Eastbourne and Sussex Yeomanry material to
      Newhaven Fort. County regiment photographs and documents will be
      referred to the West Sussex Record Office.

5.    Collecting policies of other Museums
      The Museum will take account of the collecting policies of other
      Museums and other organisations collecting in the same or related
      areas or subject fields. It will consult with these organisations where
      conflicts of interest may arise or to define areas of specialisms, in order
      to avoid unnecessary duplication and waste of resources.
      The Museum aims to carry out its collecting policy in co-operation with
      neighbouring Museums and institutions and welcomes opportunities for
      increasing co-operation in common activities.

      Specific reference is made to the following Museum(s):
      Amberley Working Museum, Amberley
      Arundel Museum and Heritage Centre
      Fishbourne Roman Palace
      Littlehampton Museum
      Pallant House Gallery, Chichester
      Petworth Cottage Museum
      Tangmere Military Aviation Museum
      Weald and Downland Open Air Museum, Singleton
      West Sussex County Council Libraries (Local Studies), Worthing
      Library, Worthing
      West Sussex Record Office, Chichester
      Worthing Museum & Art Gallery

6.   Acquisitions not covered by the policy
     Acquisitions outside the current stated policy will only be made in very
     exceptional circumstances, and then only after proper consideration by
     the governing body of the Museum itself, having regard to the interests
     of other Museums.

7.   Policy review procedure
     The Acquisition and Disposal Policy will be published and reviewed
     from time to time, at least once every five years. The date when the
     policy is next due for review is noted above.
     SEMLAC will be notified of any changes to the Acquisition and
     Disposal Policy, and the implications of any such changes for the future
     of existing collections.

8.   Acquisition procedures
     a. The Museum will exercise due diligence and make every effort not to
     acquire, whether by purchase, gift, bequest or exchange, any object or
     specimen unless the governing body or responsible officer is satisfied
     that the Museum can acquire a valid title to the item in question.
      b. In particular, the Museum will not acquire any object or specimen
     unless it is satisfied that the object or specimen has not been acquired
     in, or exported from, its country of origin (or any intermediate country in
     which it may have been legally owned) in violation of that country‟s
     laws. (For the purposes of this paragraph `country of origin‟ includes
     the United Kingdom).
     c. In accordance with the provisions of the UNESCO 1970 Convention
     on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and
     Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property, which the UK ratified with
     effect from November 1 2002, and the Dealing in Cultural Objects
     (Offences) Act 2003, the Museum will reject any items that have been
     illicitly traded. The governing body will be guided by the national
     guidance on the responsible acquisition of cultural property issued by
     DCMS in 2005.
     d. So far as biological and geological material is concerned, the
     Museum will not acquire by any direct or indirect means any specimen
     that has been collected, sold or otherwise transferred in contravention
     of any national or international wildlife protection or natural history
     conservation law or treaty of the United Kingdom or any other country,
     except with the express consent of an appropriate outside authority.
     e. The Museum will not acquire archaeological antiquities (including
     excavated ceramics) in any case where the governing body or
     responsible officer has any suspicion that the circumstances of their
     recovery involved a failure to follow the appropriate legal procedures,
     such as reporting finds to the landowner or occupier of the land and to

      the proper authorities in the case of possible treasure as defined by the
      Treasure Act 1996 (in England, Northern Ireland and Wales).
      f. Any exceptions to the above clauses 8a, 8b, 8c, or 8e will only be
      because the Museum is either:
           acting as an externally approved repository of last resort for
           material of local (UK) origin; or
           acquiring an item of minor importance that lacks secure ownership
           history but in the best judgement of experts in the field concerned
           has not been illicitly traded; or
           acting with the permission of authorities with the requisite
           jurisdiction in the country of origin; or
           in possession of reliable documentary evidence that the item was
           exported from its country of origin before 1970.
      In these cases the Museum will be open and transparent in the way it
      makes decisions and will act only with the express consent of an
      appropriate outside authority.

9.    Spoliation
      The Museum will use the statement of principles „Spoliation of Works of
      Art during the Nazi, Holocaust and World War II period‟, issued for non-
      national museums in 1999 by the Museums and Galleries Commission.

10.   Repatriation and Restitution
      The Museum‟s governing body, acting on the advice of the Museum‟s
      professional staff, may take a decision to return human remains,
      objects or specimens to a country or people of origin. The Museum will
      take such decisions on a case by case basis, within its legal position
      and taking into account all ethical implications.

11.   Management of archives
      As the Museum holds and intends to acquire archives, including
      photographs and printed ephemera, its governing body will be guided
      by the Code of Practice on Archives for Museums and Galleries in the
      United Kingdom (3rd ed., 2002).

12.   Acquisition Procedures
      In summary, the Museum will collect:
      a. only material to which the donor has valid title;
      b. only material without restrictive conditions;
      c. only material that has been legally obtained.

13.    Gifts and Bequests
       Gifts and bequests shall only be accepted on the basis that any
       conditions are approved by the governing body of the Museum, and in
       all cases reference will be made to the limitations on collecting as
       specified in the policy. The governing body of the Museum shall
       reserve the right to refuse any offer of material.

14.    Loans
       The governing body of the Museum will not normally accept material on
       loan unless for the purpose of temporary exhibition, identification or
       copying, or where the item is of exceptional interest to the Museum.
       Any loan will be agreed in writing by the lender and the Museum,
       including allocation of responsibilities for insurance and transport
       arrangements and shall be for a specified fixed-term only, renewable in
       writing, Use of the term „permanent loan‟ shall be avoided and items
       will not be accepted on this basis.

15.    Supporting Collections
15.1   Handling Collection
       Due to the nature of the Museum‟s activities, the Museum may
       occasionally acquire certain items which are not intended to be
       retained for the permanent collections. These items may be used as
       handling collections for schools and other community groups (for formal
       and informal learning, as recommended in the 2005 Museum Access
       Audit). In the case of such material, documentation will clearly show
       the intended use of the object and donors will be made aware of this
       possibility at the time of entry and informed as soon as a decision has
       been made regarding the material. These objects will be recorded
       separately outside the main accession record and shall not be treated
       as part of the permanent collection since their intended use implies that
       preservation cannot be guaranteed.

15.2   Library
       The Museum will continue to build upon its library of reference books
       and journals particularly relating to the District and the academic
       subjects represented in the Museum‟s collection.

16.    Disposal procedures
       a. By definition, the Museum has a long-term purpose and should
       possess (or intend to acquire) permanent collections in relation to its
       stated objectives. The governing body accepts the principle that,
       except for sound curatorial reasons, there is a strong presumption
       against the disposal of any items in the Museum‟s collection.
       b. The Museum will establish that it is legally free to dispose of an item.
       Any decision to dispose of material from the collections will be taken
       only after due consideration.

c. When disposal of a Museum object is being considered, the Museum
will establish if it was acquired with the aid of an external funding
organisation. In such cases, any conditions attached to the original
grant will be followed. This may include repayment of the original grant.
d. Decisions to dispose of items will not be made with the principal aim
of generating funds.
e. Any monies received by the Museum‟s governing body from the
disposal of items will be applied for the benefit of the collections. This
normally means the purchase of further acquisitions but in exceptional
cases improvements relating to the care of collections may be
justifiable. Advice on these cases will be sought from MLA.
f. A decision to dispose of a specimen or object, whether by gift,
exchange, sale or destruction (in the case of an item too badly
damaged or deteriorated to be of any use for the purposes of the
collections), will be the responsibility of the governing body of the
Museum acting on the advice of professional curatorial staff, and not of
the curator of the collection acting alone.
g. Once a decision to dispose of material in the collection has been
taken, priority will be given to retaining it within the public domain,
unless it is to be destroyed. It will therefore be offered in the first
instance, by gift, exchange or sale, directly to other Accredited
Museums likely to be interested in its acquisition.
h. If the material is not acquired by any Accredited Museums to which it
was offered directly, then the museum community at large will be
advised of the intention to dispose of the material, normally through an
announcement in the Museums Association‟s Museums Journal, and in
other professional journals where appropriate.
i. The announcement will indicate the number and nature of specimens
or objects involved, and the basis on which the material will be
transferred to another institution. Preference will be given to
expressions of interest from other Accredited Museums. A period of at
least two months will be allowed for an interest in acquiring the material
to be expressed. At the end of this period, if no expressions of interest
have been received, the Museum may consider disposing of the
material to other interested individuals and organisations.
j. Full records will be kept of all decisions on disposals and the items
involved and proper arrangements made for the preservation and/or
transfer, as appropriate, of the documentation relating to the items
concerned, including photographic records where practicable in
accordance with SPECTRUM Procedure on deaccession and disposal.