Collections Trust

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The Collections Trust
Collections Trust logo.jpg
The Collections Trust logo
  • Collections Trust
    Rich Mix
    35-47 Bethnal Green Road
    London, E1 6LA
Area served
ProductsCollections management standards, publications and events
Key people
Kevin Gosling, Chief Executive
Formerly called
Museum Documentation Association

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

Mission and aims[edit]

Collections Trust helps museums capture and share the information that gives their objects meaning. Our standards and advice are used around the world to make museum collections accessible.

The Collections Trust is a registered charity (Registered No. 273984).[1] The charitable purposes were set out in 1977 and are:

  • To promote the education of the public by the development of museums and similar organisations by all appropriate methods;
  • To develop, promote, maintain and improve standards of collections and information management in museums, art galleries, heritage organisations and other collecting institutions;
  • To provide services and resources which improve the standards and methods of collections management and use.


Standards and publications

The Collections Trust developed the SPECTRUM Standard – the Museum Collections Management Standard – in 1994.[2] 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 fifth 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 website.[2]


The Collections Trust hosts a number of practical workshops and seminars for collections management professionals and an annual conference. At this conference the Collections Trust’s Awards are presented.[3] Previous award winners include:




Funded projects

The 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 Athena Plus,[8] Digital Cultural Heritage Roadmap for Preservation (DCH-RP)],[9] EEXCESS,[10] EU Collections Competencies Project (EUColComp)],[11] Europeana Food and Drink[12] and Europeana Inside.[13] The Collections Trust leads the UK’s involvement in the Europeana project.

Key people[edit]


  • 1977 Martin Porter
  • 19__ Andrew Roberts
  • 1989 Wendy Sudbury
  • 1997 Louise Smith
  • 2004 Nick Poole (CEO from 2008)[14]
  • 2015 Kevin Gosling[15]

Current board members[16]

  • Hadrian Ellory-van Dekker (Chair), Chair Arts Council England’s Accreditation Committee for museums and galleries.
  • Rob Avann, General Manager of the Open University Students Association.
  • Katie Childs, Head of Partnerships and Stakeholder Relations at the Imperial War Museums.
  • Camilla Hampshire, Museums Manager and Cultural Lead at Exeter’s Royal Albert Memorial Museum and Art Gallery.
  • Jennifer Jones, Collections Development Officer at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.
  • Sarah Levitt, Head of Arts and Museums, Culture and Neighbourhood Services, Leicester City Council.
  • Chris Michaels, Digital Director at the National Gallery.
  • Tonya Nelson, Head of Museums and Collections, University College London.
  • Deborah Potter, Head of Conservation, Collection, Tate.
  • Susan Raikes, Head of Learning and National Partnerships, The British Museum.
  • Rachael Rogers, Curator, Abergavenny Museum.
  • Taniah Simpson, Assistant Collections Manager in the Registrar’s Office at The British Museum.
  • Irene Walsh, former Managing Director, Deloitte Financial Advisory Services.


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),[17] the MDA Data Standard in 1991, and the SPECTRUM standard in 1994.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Collections Trust, registered charity no. 273984". Charity Commission for England and Wales.
  2. ^ a b "SPECTRUM". Collections Trust. Retrieved 5 April 2009.
  3. ^ "Collections Trust's Awards". Collections Trust. Archived from the original on 22 January 2016. Retrieved 27 January 2016.
  4. ^ "Museum of British Surfing". Retrieved 14 August 2014.
  5. ^ "East Grinstead Museum". Retrieved 14 August 2014.
  6. ^ "Hayle Oral History Project". Retrieved 14 August 2014.
  7. ^ "Norfolk Museums Service". Retrieved 14 August 2014.
  8. ^ "Athena Plus". Retrieved November 2013. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  9. ^ "Digital Cultural Heritage Roadmap for Preservation". Retrieved 14 August 2014.
  10. ^ "EEXCESS". Retrieved 14 August 2014.
  11. ^ "EU Collections Competencies Project". Retrieved 14 August 2014.
  12. ^ "Europeana Food and Drink". Retrieved 14 August 2014.
  13. ^ "Europeana Inside". Retrieved 14 August 2014.
  14. ^ "Nick Poole". Collections Trust. Archived from the original on 28 March 2014.
  15. ^ "Kevin Gosling". Archived from the original on 5 February 2016. Retrieved 27 January 2016.
  16. ^ "Our board". Collections Trust. Retrieved 2 August 2017.
  17. ^ Holm, Stuart A. "Social History and Industrial Classification Scheme". Archived from the original on 13 May 2008. Retrieved 5 April 2009.

External links[edit]