UCL News


UCL Museums & Collections survey results

4 September 2007

The results of a staff/student survey on UCL Museums & Collections, undertaken in June 2007, are informing the next stages of developing the collections for teaching, research and public engagement.

Sally Macdonald

The survey solicited information and opinion including: the UCL community's awareness of the collections; their experience as visitors, researchers, teachers and students; the types of services provided; and principles of acquisition and transfer.

Sally MacDonald, Director of UCL Museums & Collections, said: "We are grateful to the thousands of staff and students who took the time to complete the survey. It's clear that people really value the collections - particularly as resources for teaching and research - but they want them to be much better housed and better marketed.

"One aspect of this is simply raising awareness of the collections and the services we already provide. We have just appointed a Web Marketing Officer to help us with this, and we know we also need to improve signage. But the survey will help us within more fundamental changes, too. We are just about to launch a major Collections Review, to help us realise the full potential of our collections. We know from the survey that people want us to adopt a more active approach to acquisition and disposal to keep our collections relevant."

The review is to be a first step towards forming a coherent planning and policy framework for UCL Museums & Collections. It seeks to:

  • ensure that UCL has the collections it requires in order to fulfil its short- and long-term strategic objectives
  • develop an overarching acquisition and disposal policy for UCL Museums & Collections
  • develop a methodology for assessment, acquisition, disposal and renewal that could be adopted by other universities and museums.

Each collection will be assessed as regards its use in teaching and research, its historical and intellectual significance, its uniqueness and ownership. Other issues to be examined will be security, storage, condition and documentation.

The Museum Association's 2007 report, 'Making collections effective', cited this review and its methodology as exemplary. The Museums Association is undertaking a national campaign to ensure that museums' stored collections are used to the full, through imaginative exhibitions, loans and transfers.

To find out more about UCL Museum & Collections, or to read the survey results in full, use the links below: