News from our Collections and Interpretation Manager

This January was very busy, and I’m really excited to be managing the Recognition Scheme for the year while Jenny Youngson is on maternity leave. For the Nationally Significant Collections holders: I’m hoping to work with you closely, to celebrate the importance and diversity of the Nationally Significant Collections within the scheme, and I hope to visit as many of you as I can.

Visiting the museums which care for Nationally Significant Collections will first and foremost mean that we’re able to have a face-to-face conversation, and discuss what holding one of these Collections means to your organisation, and what your hopes and aspirations are for your involvement with the scheme over the coming year and in the long term. Secondly, I would be delighted to view the Collection(s) itself, and to learn more about the significance of the collection and the processes that go into caring for and managing the collection, and if there are ways that MGS might offer further support here. If you’re a Recognised collection holder, I might be in touch soon asking to visit, and I look forward to chatting further.

We are also continuing our regular Collections Workshops, which are aimed at addressing fundamental skills of collections work, which are shared by all people who work with collections, and we are keen to continue sharing this amongst as wide a group as possible. The demand for these workshops was identified following visits to the sector, and this is the philosophy behind the continued series of visits to Recognised collections; through these visits, it is hoped that practical and useful support from MGS is identified.

West Dumbartonshire Council’s Recognised Singer Sewing Machine Collection
West Dumbartonshire Council’s Recognised Singer Sewing Machine Collection

As well as continuing to assist and facilitate knowledge sharing collections skills, generic to all collection types, we are planning on developing a structured approach to supporting collections-specific skills for collection types which might be regularly cared for by museums but which are often also under-resourced. These are collections such as textiles and geology; they can be found in many museums and are important parts of the museums’ research and display impact potential, however, they often need more specialist care and management, and we will be exploring how best to provide this…

…Which brings us back to the Recognised Collections. These collections, by definition, are some of “the best collections that Scotland’s museums have to offer”, and one of the scheme’s objectives is “to support holders […] to increase their leadership of and contribution to the sector through innovation, ambition, collaboration and partnership working”. I’m really keen to explore ways that we might use the massive pool of knowledge and expertise already existing within the Recognised Collection holders, and share this amongst the wider sector. In doing so, these collections and knowledge about them will be promoted and further understood as the fantastic and invaluable resources that they are. You can read more about the Recognised Collections over on their blog.

In this month in which we celebrate collections, the work around them, and their extraordinary power, these are just some indicators as to the sort of ways you might see MGS working with you and your collections in the coming month. Check this blog for further details.


Jacob O’Sullivan

Collections and Interpretation Support Manager