Collections Development Policy (2014 - 2018)

Tameside Museums and Galleries Service

Name of governing body: Tameside MBC

Date on which this policy was approved by governing body: 8 December 2014

Date at which this policy is due for review: 8 December 2018

1. Museum’s statement of purpose

Tameside Museums and Galleries are owned and governed by the local authority, Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council. The Museum Service was established in 1974. Prior to that date there was only one art gallery in the Borough, the Astley Cheetham Art Gallery. All services are operated directly by Tameside MBC. The Council are custodians of the collection held in trust by the Trustees of the Manchester Regiment in relation to the agreement established in 1987.

Tameside Museums and Galleries Service comprises of the following sites:

• Portland Basin Museum (Ashton-under-Lyne)
• The Museum of the Manchester Regiment (Ashton-under-Lyne)
• Central Art Gallery (Ashton-under-Lyne)
• Astley Cheetham At Gallery (Stalybridge)

The Museums Manager is the Chief Officer of the Museums and Galleries Service and reports to the head of Cultural Services who in turn reports to the Assistant Executive Director for Community and Neighbourhood Services who in turn reports to the Executive Director for Communities. Children’s Adults and Health who in turn reports to the Leader and Chief Executive of the Council.

This reporting structure also includes a range of elected members (executives) responsible for areas such as Health and Neighbourhoods and Culture, Heritage and Tourism. Finally, this structure includes reporting to third parties such as the Manchester Regiment Advisory Committee and other bodies as deemed appropriate.

2. An overview of current collections

The collections of Tameside Museums and Galleries Service fall into three distinct categories:

• Social, Industrial and General Collections
• Manchester Regiment Collection
• Astley Cheetham Collection

Social, Industrial and General Collections:

This collection is the largest collection comprising around 18,500 objects. These are mainly items relating to the domestic and industrial history of Tameside over the past 200 years. This includes household items, costume, ceramics, glassware, furniture and sporting items. There are many tools and materials relating to local industries as well as some large pieces of machinery.

The collection also includes the Radcliffe collection of Ancient Egyptian, Greek and Roman objects which were donated to the museum by a private collector in the 1930s. There are archaeological finds from local excavations at Denton Hall, Dukinfield Hall and Gorse Hall. There are several geological and natural history collections including 4000 shells, 2000 pressed plants, 500 fossils and rocks. There is also the Civic Silver collection which is on permanent display in Ashton Town Hall.

Items continue to be offered to the collection on a regular basis. Paper items with a local connection are directed to Tameside Local Studies and Archives Centre.

The Museum of the Manchester Regiment Collection:

The museum, situated in Ashton Town Hall, is run by the museum service on behalf of the trustees of the collection. The trustees of the collection defer authority to the Manchester Regiment Advisory Committee.

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, Colonel-in-Chief of the Manchester Regiment and the King’s Regiment, opened the museum in its current location in 1987. The Ladysmith Gallery was redeveloped in 2002 and reopened by His Royal Highness Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales and further redevelopment occurred in 2006 when the Forshaw Gallery was re-opened following a major redevelopment.

The collection has over 12,500 objects including over 400 items of uniform and over 800 medal groups. Additionally, the collection incorporates silverware, paintings, firearms, edged weapons, musical instruments and other items of military equipment such as personal carrying equipment and campaign furniture.

Astley Cheetham Collection:

Astley Cheetham Art Gallery opened in 1932, following a donation of money for the building of a library and art gallery in 1910 by the Cheetham family of Stalybridge and the subsequent receipt of the Cheetham family bequest of paintings. The original collection has since been added to and now comprises over 560 paintings and illustrations. It is widely acknowledged as being one of the finest collections in the Northwest.

3. Themes and priorities for future collecting

Tameside Museums and Galleries service will collect, preserve and interpret the cultural heritage and visual arts of Tameside for the learning and enjoyment of the whole community.

With this in mind three key collecting themes have been prioritised.

Celebrating Tameside and its people by:

• Collecting material representing Tameside’s history, achievements and encouraging pride in the borough.

• Acquiring works of art from local contemporary artists to recognise creativity in the borough.

Celebrating cultural diversity and increasing cultural representation by:

• Acquiring material that is representative of, relevant and/or of interest to the diverse communities living within the borough, including material from Black and minority ethnic groups, to ensure that their contribution to the cultural heritage within the borough is recorded.

Develop the depth, breadth and significance of the collections by:

• Acquiring important examples of fine art which relate to the current fine art collections.
• Acquiring items for the social history collection that cover geographical areas currently under-represented in the collection, specifically Audenshaw, Mottram-in-Longdendale, Mossley and Droylsden.

• Acquiring items for the social history collection that cover themes currently under-represented, such as:
o First World War home front and the role of women in the war.
o Items relating to contemporary local industry.
o Contemporary collecting of social history.

• Acquiring items, which relate to the history of the Manchester Regiment in areas that are currently under-represented:
o Pre 1881 and post 1945 items.
o Material relating to Service Battalions and Territorial Battalions during the course of their history.
o Material relating to Home Guard Units affiliated to the Manchester Regiment during the Second World War.
o Material relating to Cadet Detachments affiliated to the Manchester Regiment.
o Material that portrays the experiences of women and children associated with the Manchester Regiment.
o Material that portrays the experiences of Tameside personnel associated with the King’s Regiment and the new Regiment to date known as the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment (King’s, Lancashire and Border).

Criteria for collecting:

Any acquisitions in the above three categories must meet as many as possible of the following six general criteria:
• Enhance or add another dimension to a particular area in which the collections are already strong;
• Have related contextual material, e.g. artist’s statement, original invoices, photographs of and object being used or worn;
• Contribute to the development of themes and narratives in the Museums and Galleries displays.
• Be a starting point for education work or likely to inspire creative activity.
• Be linked to artefacts from other areas of the collection to create new interpretations.
• Enable a link to be made between historic and contemporary practice.

Period of time and/or geographical area to which collecting relates

Period of time: The time periods of the material that Tameside Museums and Galleries Service aims to collect will relate to the period covered by the existing collections and with an emphasis on contemporary collecting.

Geographical area: The geographical area of Tameside or the geographical origin of existing collections.

Collections which will not be subject to further acquisition

Manchester Regiment Collection:

• The Museum does not accept archival material. When such material is offered to the collection the donor is informed that the Regimental Archive Collection is deposited with Tameside Local Studies and Archives Centre and they should be contacted directly regarding their offer.
• Ordnance.
• Firearms (only examples with clear Regimental provenance and/or of a type not currently held that were used by the British Army; SLR, SA80).
• Ammunition.

Social History Collection:

• Due to existing numbers and space constraints, the museum will consider carefully before adding to its collection of larger domestic items including sewing machines, vacuum cleaners, mangles, furniture, radios, televisions, washing machines, etc.

Themes and priorities for rationalisation and disposal

Responsible, curatorially-motivated disposal takes place as part of a museum’s long-term collections policy, in order to increase public benefit derived from museum collection. Tameside Museums and Galleries Service is committed to the procedure outlined in section 13.

Museum of the Manchester Regiment

• Material identified as having no regimental-provenance:
o Medal Collection
o ‘Dead Man’s Penny’ Collection
o Ephemera Collection (Box 37)

Social History Collection

• Furniture identified for disposal as part of a Renaissance North West funded rationalisation project.

• Items in the collection that are duplicate, of no local relevance and /or in poor condition.

4. Limitations on collecting

The museum recognises its responsibility, in acquiring additions to its collections, to ensure that care of collections, documentation arrangements and use of collections will meet the requirements of the Accreditation Standard. It will take into account limitations on collecting imposed by such factors as staffing, storage and care of collection arrangements.

5. Collecting policies of other museums

The museum will take account of the collecting policies of other museums and other organisations collecting in the same or related areas or subject fields. It will consult with these organisations where conflicts of interest may arise or to define areas of specialism, in order to avoid unnecessary duplication and waste of resources.

Specific reference is museums and galleries that are members of the following organisations:

• Members of the Greater Manchester Museum Group (GMMG):
• Members of the Manchester Museums consortium
• Members of the Army Museums Ogilby Trust

Museum staff will not accept material for transfer to other collections. Where material is deemed more relevant to another collection the donor will be informed of the most appropriate museum or other repository by curatorial staff.

6. Policy review procedure

The collections development policy will be published and reviewed from time to time, at least once every five years. The date when the policy is next due for review is noted above.

Arts Council England will be notified of any changes to the collections development policy, and the implications of any such changes for the future of existing collections.

7. Acquisitions not covered by the policy

Acquisitions outside the current stated policy will only be made in very exceptional circumstances, and then only after proper consideration by the governing body of the museum itself, having regard to the interests of other museums.

8. Acquisition procedures

a. The museum will exercise due diligence and make every effort not to acquire, whether by purchase, gift, bequest or exchange, any object or specimen unless the governing body or responsible officer is satisfied that the museum can acquire a valid title to the item in question.

b. In particular, the museum will not acquire any object or specimen unless it is satisfied that the object or specimen has not been acquired in, or exported from, its country of origin (or any intermediate country in which it may have been legally owned) in violation of that country’s laws. (For the purposes of this paragraph ‘country of origin’ includes the United Kingdom).

c. In accordance with the provisions of the UNESCO 1970 Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property, which the UK ratified with effect from November 1 2002, and the Dealing in Cultural Objects (Offences) Act 2003, the museum will reject any items that have been illicitly traded. The governing body will be guided by the national guidance on the responsible acquisition of cultural property issued by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport in 2005.

d. The museum will not acquire any biological or geological material.

e. The museum will not acquire archaeological antiquities (including excavated ceramics) in any case where the governing body or responsible officer has any suspicion that the circumstances of their recovery involved a failure to follow the appropriate legal procedures.

In England, Wales and Northern Ireland the procedures include reporting finds to the landowner or occupier of the land and to the proper authorities in the case of possible treasure as defined by the Treasure Act 1996.

f. Any exceptions to the above clauses 9a, 9b, 9c, or 9e will only be because the museum is:

• acting as an externally approved repository of last resort for material of local (UK) origin

• acquiring an item of minor importance that lacks secure ownership history but in the best judgement of experts in the field concerned has not been illicitly traded

• acting with the permission of authorities with the requisite jurisdiction in the country of origin

• in possession of reliable documentary evidence that the item was exported from its country of origin before 1970

In these cases the museum will be open and transparent in the way it makes decisions and will act only with the express consent of an appropriate outside authority.

g. The museum does not hold or intend to acquire any human remains.

9. Spoliation

The museum will use the statement of principles ‘Spoliation of Works of Art during the Nazi, Holocaust and World War II period’, issued for non-national museums in 1999 by the Museums and Galleries Commission.

10. The Repatriation and Restitution of objects and human remains

The museum’s governing body, acting on the advice of the museum’s professional staff, if any, may take a decision to return human remains (unless covered by the ‘Guidance for the care of human remains in museums’ issued by DCMS in 2005) , objects or specimens to a country or people of origin. The museum will take such decisions on a case by case basis; within its legal position and taking into account all ethical implications and available guidance. This will mean that the procedures described in 13a-13d, 13g and 13o/s below will be followed but the remaining procedures are not appropriate.

The disposal of human remains from museums in England, Northern Ireland and Wales will follow the procedures in the ‘Guidance for the care of human remains in museums’.

11. Management of archives

As the museum holds / intends to acquire archives, including photographs and printed ephemera, its governing body will be guided by the Code of Practice on Archives for Museums and Galleries in the United Kingdom (third edition, 2002).

12. Disposal procedures

Disposal preliminaries

a. The governing body will ensure that the disposal process is carried out openly and with transparency.

b. By definition, the museum has a long-term purpose and holds collections in trust for society in relation to its stated objectives. The governing body therefore accepts the principle that sound curatorial reasons for disposal must be established before consideration is given to the disposal of any items in the museum’s collection.

c. The museum will confirm that it is legally free to dispose of an item and agreements on disposal made with donors will be taken into account.

d. When disposal of a museum object is being considered, the museum will establish if it was acquired with the aid of an external funding organisation. In such cases, any conditions attached to the original grant will be followed. This may include repayment of the original grant and a proportion of the proceeds if the item is disposed of by sale.

Motivation for disposal and method of disposal

e. When disposal is motivated by curatorial reasons the procedures outlined in paragraphs 13g-13s will be followed and the method of disposal may be by gift, sale or exchange.

f. In exceptional cases, the disposal may be motivated principally by financial reasons. The method of disposal will therefore be by sale and the procedures outlined below in paragraphs 13g-13m and 13o/s will be followed. In cases where disposal is motivated by financial reasons, the governing body will not undertake disposal unless it can be demonstrated that all the following exceptional circumstances are met in full:

• the disposal will significantly improve the long-term public benefit derived from the remaining collection

• the disposal will not be undertaken to generate short-term revenue (for example to meet a budget deficit)

• the disposal will be undertaken as a last resort after other sources of funding have been thoroughly explored

The disposal decision-making process

g. Whether the disposal is motivated either by curatorial or financial reasons, the decision to dispose of material from the collections will be taken by the governing body only after full consideration of the reasons for disposal. Other factors including the public benefit, the implications for the museum’s collections and collections held by museums and other organisations collecting the same material or in related fields will be considered. External expert advice will be obtained and the views of stakeholders such as donors, researchers, local and source communities and others served by the museum will also be sought.

Responsibility for disposal decision-making

h. A decision to dispose of a specimen or object, whether by gift, exchange, sale or destruction (in the case of an item too badly damaged or deteriorated to be of any use for the purposes of the collections or for reasons of health and safety), will be the responsibility of the governing body of the museum acting on the advice of professional curatorial staff, if any, and not of the curator of the collection acting alone.

Use of proceeds of sale

i. Any monies received by the museum governing body from the disposal of items will be applied for the benefit of the collections. This normally means the purchase of further acquisitions. In exceptional cases, improvements relating to the care of collections in order to meet or exceed Accreditation requirements relating to the risk of damage to and deterioration of the collections may be justifiable. Any monies received in compensation for the damage, loss or destruction of items will be applied in the same way. Advice on those cases where the monies are intended to be used for the care of collections will be sought from the Arts Council England.

j. The proceeds of a sale will be ring-fenced so it can be demonstrated that they are spent in a manner compatible with the requirements of the Accreditation standard.

Disposal by gift or sale

k. Once a decision to dispose of material in the collection has been taken, priority will be given to retaining it within the public domain, unless it is to be destroyed. It will therefore be offered in the first instance, by gift or sale, directly to other Accredited Museums likely to be interested in its acquisition.

l. If the material is not acquired by any Accredited Museums to which it was offered directly as a gift or for sale, then the museum community at large will be advised of the intention to dispose of the material, normally through an announcement in the Museums Association’s Museums Journal, and in other specialist journals where appropriate.

m. The announcement relating to gift or sale will indicate the number and nature of specimens or objects involved, and the basis on which the material will be transferred to another institution. Preference will be given to expressions of interest from other Accredited Museums. A period of at least two months will be allowed for an interest in acquiring the material to be expressed. At the end of this period, if no expressions of interest have been received, the museum may consider disposing of the material to other interested individuals and organisations giving priority to organisations in the public domain.

Disposal by exchange

n. The nature of disposal by exchange means that the museum will not necessarily be in a position to exchange the material with another Accredited museum. The governing body will therefore ensure that issues relating to accountability and impartiality are carefully considered to avoid undue influence on its decision-making process.

o. In cases where the governing body wishes for sound curatorial reasons to exchange material directly with Accredited or unaccredited museums, with other organisations or with individuals, the procedures in paragraphs 13a-13d and 13g-13h will be followed as will the procedures in paragraphs 13p-13s.

p. If the exchange is proposed to be made with a specific Accredited museum, other Accredited museums which collect in the same or related areas will be directly notified of the proposal and their comments will be requested.

q. If the exchange is proposed with a non-accredited museum, with another type of organisation or with an individual, the museum will make an announcement in the Museums Journal and in other specialist journals where appropriate.

r. Both the notification and announcement must provide information on the number and nature of the specimens or objects involved both in the museum’s collection and those intended to be acquired in exchange. A period of at least two months must be allowed for comments to be received. At the end of this period, the governing body must consider the comments before a final decision on the exchange is made.

Documenting disposal

o/s. Full records will be kept of all decisions on disposals and the items involved and proper arrangements made for the preservation and/or transfer, as appropriate, of the documentation relating to the items concerned, including photographic records where practicable in accordance with SPECTRUM Procedure on de-accession and disposal.