Reading Corner | Collection Mobility

This section is organised in reverse chronological order. Apart from individual publications and articles NEMO is collecting and sharing general resources, you can find them below the list of articles in a separate section. Resources may also include publication series that are constantly growing (e.g. periodicals that are being updated continuously or receive additions).

Guidelines on Dealing with Collections from Colonial Contexts

German Museums Association (2018): Guidelines on Dealing with Collections from Colonial Contexts. Colonialism has shaped the modern world, defining today’s structures and perspectives, and is therefore not a footnote of history. These guidelines are the result of the realisation that objects from colonial contexts not only have their own history, but also have to be seen in a wider historical context. They bear witness to a value system in which, on the basis of an assumed superiority, colonial rulers placed themselves above other states and their populations or parts of the population, exploiting and oppressing them. The German Museums Association believes that the discussion about the colonial past of museums and their collections is essential. A second revised edition of the guidelines incorporating the perspectives discussed in the workshop will be published in German and English in spring 2019.

Fighting illicit trafficking in cultural goods: analysis of customs issues in the EU

European Commission (2017): Fighting illicit trafficking in cultural goods: analysis of customs issues in the EU. This study provides for an analysis of the regulation of imports of cultural goods into the EU, relevant in the fight against illicit trafficking of cultural goods from third countries into the EU. The analysis consists of an assessment of the nature and extent of current practices in designing and implementing legislation that protects cultural heritage goods and fights against illicit trafficking in cultural goods. The study pays particular focus on the legislative framework, the control mechanisms as well as the definition regarding the import of cultural goods into the EU. The analysis and recommendations are intended to contribute to an impact assessment for a possible European Commission Proposal for EU measures in this area. The key finding from the analysis is that, despite the political commitment, the required common policy approach is lacking to effectively combat illicit trafficking of cultural goods from third countries into the EU. A growing trend towards different legal frameworks in EU Member States is visible, which are diverse in scope and application. The analysis also pointed towards the importance of a common understanding on the definition of cultural goods for the purpose of efficient and uniform application of EU level rules. The study concludes with recommendations focusing on possible solutions for the main problem of illicit trafficking of cultural goods from third countries into the EU, which include introduction of an EU-level legislative framework, together with an appropriate control mechanism.

Museums' 4 Values - Values 4 Museums (NEMO)

NEMO (2015): Museums' 4 Values - Values 4 Museums: Museums play an essential role in European life. In the publication the Network of European Museum Organisations (NEMO) presents four core values museums preserve and disseminate on behalf of society. The important role of museums in the creation of knowledge and lifelong learning, their impact on communities and their contribution to the economic sector, all of which are stemmed from their vast collections, are emphasised in this publication. These four values are highlighted through examples of museum projects from 22 European countries. The presented exemplary museum projects differ greatly in terms of geography, structure and theme, but highlight how museums serve their visitors, in particular, and society in general.

Museums Collection Management - A Handbook

Freda Matassa (2011): Museums Collection Management - A Handbook: The main aspects of museum collections management are gathered in this book. Aimed at collection managers, the topics range from legal aspects, concepts and ideas on loans, acquisitions to sustainability and ethical issues. It includes step-by-step guides for collections management, loans and other processes that can be adapted with regard to the collections' purposes. The book serves as a good resource for collection managers.

Encouraging Collections Mobility - A way forward for museums in Europe

Susanna Pettersson, Monika Hagedorn-Saupe, Teijamari Jyrkkiö, Astrid Weij et al. (2010): Encouraging Collections Mobility - A way forward for museums in Europe: The handbook contains information about collection history and approaches towards collection with an emphasis on new concepts and standards that respond to the developments of the 21st century. Whereas most of the articles provide a more theoretical or philosophical context for the collections and their use, the book also addresses the practical issues concerning collections mobility, such as immunity from seizure, insurances, loans, and digitisation. The book pulls together current good practice in developing loans procedures and sets it out in a clear format. It aims to encourage the exploration and research of collections in order to open rich collection resources and learn more about European heritage. The book was launched at NEMO's Annual Meeting in 2010.

Indemnity schemes

Frank Bergevoet (25 April 2010): Transcript: Indemnity Scheme: Bergevoet spoke about different aspects of indemnity schemes in Europe during the International Exhibition Organisers Meeting in Amsterdam. The transcript includes the recommendations stemmed from a report on indemnity schemes and shared liability schemes in Europe.

Agenda for Culture

Council of Europe (May 2007): Agenda for Culture: In May 2007, the Commission proposed an agenda for Culture founded on three common sets of objectives: cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue; culture as a catalyst for creativity; and culture as a key component in international relations.

Action Plan for the EU Promotion of Museum Collection Mobility and Loan Standards

Finnish Ministry of Education (2006): Action Plan for the EU Promotion of Museum Collection Mobility and Loan Standards: The action plan was created to increase collection mobility across Europe and facilitate access to Europe's cultural heritage, particularly by making it available for all citizens and find new ways to improve co-operation and best practice for lending between museums. It lists the actions that are necessary to achieve a successful European solution with standards and agreements to ease collection mobility in the areas of digitisation, networking, indemnity schemes, loans and others.

Bremen Declaration on the "Mobility of Museum Collections"

Experts from Meeting on collection mobility (May 2006): Declaration on the "Mobility of Museum Collections": The declaration was adopted as a resolution by the participants of the expert's conference "Collection Mobility: Building up trust and Networking" in Bremen, Germany, in the course of the German EU presidency. The declaration aims at advancing networking, cooperation, and tools to enable a wider access to the European heritage for European citizens and ease exchange and collaboration between the EU member states.

Lending to Europe - Recommendations on collection mobility for European museums

Ronald de Leeuw, Cristina Acidini, Kristian Berg, Fredi Matassa et al. (2005): Lending to Europe - Recommendations on collection mobility for European museums: The report produced by a European working group of museum experts advises on facilitating European collection mobility. It includes information on the work environment to facilitate collection mobility, among them concrete aspects such as staff members, and more theoretical parts like a clearly declared and set mission. The third chapter concludes with the recommendations for collection mobility drawn from the group's research, including comments on ICOM standards and national laws.


In the following paragraphs you will find general resources or series of publications.

Resource: Revisiting Collections

Collections Trust (since 2006, updated regularly): Toolkits and Advice on "Revisiting Collections" for Collection Management: The collection of resources to enable museum professionals to apply the methodology for "Revisiting Collections" displays a number of toolkits, tools and case studies on the matter. Developed in 2006, it supports museums and archives to open up their collections for reinterpretation and knowledge capture by community groups and external experts to build and share a new understanding of the multi-layered meaning and significance of objects and records. Revisiting Collections has been built into the SPECTRUM Standard since version 3.1 and the accumulated links take you from starting to application, implementation and evaluation.

Resources: Collection Care and Disaster/Emergency Preparedness

A number of websites take on the matter of Emergency Planning, Desaster Preparedness and Collection Care.

dPlan is a tool aimed at cultural and civic institutions to create their own disaster prevention and response plan. The DEMO version is available for free.

Sustaining Places holds a number of resources for small and mid-size museum on many different topics. The website includes a section on Collection Care and Management, as well as information on pest management and museum security.

Connecting to Collections Care is an Online Community dealing with many different aspects of Collection Care, Management and Preservation. Questions can be posted to the community which will respond with helpful advice, the discussions are preserved for future referal.