Collections Trust

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Collections Trust
Collections Trust logo.jpg
Collections Trust logo
Founded 1977
  • Collections Trust
    Natural History Museum
    Cromwell Road
    London, SW7 5BD
Key people Nick Poole, CEO
Area served International
Product(s) Collections management standards, publications and events
Formerly called Museum Documentation Association

Collections Trust is an independent UK-based organisation that works with worldwide museums, libraries, galleries and archives to improve the management and use of collections. It was established in February 1977 as the Museum Documentation Association (MDA) and re-launched as Collections Trust in 2008. Its head office is in South Kensington, London.


According to Collections Trust’s Strategic Plan, the organisation has the following aims:[1]

Collections Trust’s mission is to be the leading organisation in the management and use of collections and technology in museums, libraries and archives by 2015.

Our vision is that we will work with galleries, libraries, archives and museums (GLAM) in the UK and internationally to help them use collections and technology to achieve excellence, innovate and engage their audiences.


Standards and publications

Collections Trust developed the SPECTRUM Standard – the Museum Collections Management Standard – in 1994. The standard details how to manage collections and what to do with artefacts at each stage of their lifecycle in a collection. The Standard is now in its fourth edition and is used by the majority of museums. It has been translated into several languages including Dutch and Flemish.

The organisation also produces collections management best practice guides and benchmarking tools. It has particular expertise in digital collections management and the use of new technology for museums, such as 3D imaging. Many of its resources are freely available on its Collections Link website.


Collections Trust hosts an annual conference for collections management professionals, called Open Culture. At this conference the Collections Trust’s Awards are presented. These include awards for Collections on a Budget, Participatory Practice, and Collections Practice.

The organisation also manages an annual initiative called Hidden Treasures. In 2012 and 2013, it worked with The Independent to promote the initiative, which sees museums across the UK putting on special events and behind-the-scenes tours for the public.[2]

Funded projects

Collections Trust works on many projects that are funded by Arts Council England and by the European Commission. It is currently managing 20m Euros worth of EC projects, including Europeana Inside, Partage Plus, Athena Plus, Linked Heritage and Enumerate. Collections Trust leads the UK’s involvement in the Europeana project.

Key people[edit]


Current board members[3]


The early team at the MDA was led by Martin Porter and included researchers Andrew Roberts (who later became head of the MDA) and Richard Light. Early achievements included the production of the Social History and Industrial Classification Scheme (SHIC) in 1983 (in partnership with the SHIC Working Party),[4] the MDA Data Standard in 1991, and the SPECTRUM standard in 1994.

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ Holm, S: Social History and Industrial Classification Scheme

External links[edit]