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Publication Detail
Collections for people: museums' stored collections as a public resource
Collections in UK museums grew enormously in the latter half of the 20th century yet museum collections, mostly maintained at public expense, are perceived as an underused resource. The Museums Association’s 2005 report, Collections for the Future1, together with press comments and books such as Treasures on Earth (2002)2 and Fragments of the World (2005)3, brought this issue into sharp focus. Collections for People set out to understand the scale of museum stored collections, and the main parameters of their access and use: • What is the size and nature of collections as a resource? How are they distributed, geographically and among different types of museum? • How much are different types of collection used by people other than museum staff? What sort of people use collections? What do they use them for: research, teaching and learning, creative activities, visits for enjoyment such as store tours? • How do users perceive this service? Do museums actively market collections access? Do they publicise what is in their collections? • How do museums facilitate collections use? What are the factors associated with greater use of collections? What do museums see as the barriers to more use?
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