Collections Trust

The Collections Trust

The Collections Trust logo
Founded 1977
  • Collections Trust
    Natural History Museum
    Cromwell Road
    London, SW7 5BD
Area served
Products Collections management standards, publications and events
Key people
Kevin Gosling, CEO
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 South Kensington, London.

Mission and aims

The Collections Trust is the professional association for collections management. Established in 1977, it is a UK-based charity that works with museums, libraries, galleries and archives worldwide to improve the management and use of their collections. It does this by providing know-how, developing and promoting excellence, challenging existing practices, pioneering new ideas and bringing experts together. .

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


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 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 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


Current board members[16]


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


  1. Charity Commission. Collections Trust, registered charity no. 273984.
  2. 1 2 "SPECTRUM". Collections Trust. Retrieved 5 April 2009.
  3. "Collections Trust's Awards". Collections Trust. 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: |access-date= (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". Retrieved 27 January 2016.
  16. "The Board". Collections Trust. Retrieved 27 January 2016.
  17. Holm, Stuart A. "Social History and Industrial Classification Scheme". Archived from the original on 13 May 2008. Retrieved 5 April 2009.
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