Creating a legacy for generations to come and unlocking the stories behind our collections.
In 2005, the Harris Museum and Art Gallery became one of the first museums in the country to be awarded Accreditation status by MLA, the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council. The award demonstrates that the museum meets nationally agreed standards in the way it is run, how it looks after its collections and the services it provides for its visitors.
Setting the standard
People expect more of museums today. The standard required to achieve accreditation has been developed by MLA (Museums, Libraries & Archives) and the museum community to keep pace with these expectations.
It now gives greater emphasis to the needs and interests of those who use museums - or who might be encouraged to do so in the future. Accredited museums must adhere to published minimum standards in how they care for and document their collections, how they are governed and managed, and on the information and services they offer to their users.
The Scheme encourages innovation and improvement through the use of other materials and resources produced by MLA relating to the care of collections, access, learning, inclusion and diversity. These materials provide support and guidance in meeting and exceeding the current standards.
Preserving the past for the future
Accreditation recognises the importance of collections and effective collections management as the foundation for everything that museums strive to do. Without adequate collections care and documentation, the potential of museums to extend access to new audiences, encourage learning and inspire people's creativity would, eventually, be lost. Accreditation also addresses the needs of museum visitors. It requires that all museums provide:
- opportunities to use, enjoy and learn from the collections,
- an assurance that the collections, including donated items, are held in trust for society,
- information about the museum, its collections and its services,
- a commitment to consultation with users, to ensure that future developments and changes take account of their needs and interests,
- appropriate visitor facilities or details about facilities nearby.
In this way, Accreditation helps museums to meet the needs of today's visitors, while at the same time safeguarding their collections for future generations.