Revisiting Collections

This study was carried out with Alice Grant and Jon Newman. Caroline Reed of ALM London commissioned the team to develop a methodology for recording viewers’ comments and responses to collections. The aim was to help increase understanding and engagement with collections, especially by Black and Asian users.

The team researched recent approaches by various museums and galleries to collect responses from individuals to material in their collections and to preserve those responses. With the help of Kingston Museum and Leighton House in Kensington, Val Bott and Jon Newman worked with carefully selected focus groups to look at how they made meaning of museum objects. Their recommendations suggested ways in which collections and associated information could be democratised. Alice Grant devised a means of recording the resulting information in little-used fields within museum databases, which has become the Revisiting Collections “toolkit”. The Museum of Domestic Art and Architecture at Middlesex University became the third partner and tested the toolkit.

Read the consultancy team’s report of the study here: Revisiting Collections report.

Caroline Reed’s report about the project for ALM London, Revisiting Collections: Revealing Significance, was published in 2005.

Read the ALM London report here: Revisiting Collections: Revealing Significance .

A further study, commissioned from Jon Newman, has seen the methodology extended to London archives and the approach is now being used nationally through the Collections Trust.

Is Revisiting Collections Working?, a study of the methodology, was prepared by Caroline Reed for the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and published in March 2013.