Supporting collections and cultural property

Hand drawn iIllustration by Supermundane with lots of intricate lines and patterns

We passionately believe that our nation’s collections, held in organisations of many types and sizes across the country, are an unmatched cultural asset.

It is essential that these collections are developed and cared for, celebrated and protected, so they can be enjoyed by as many people as possible. We understand that this is both a privilege and a challenge, which is why we provide standards, funding and advocacy and deliver a framework of statutory schemes to help in meeting these responsibilities.

Ancient Egyptian figure of Duamutef.

Export controls

Where possible, we work to keep items of particular cultural significance in the UK

Two children and a parent, in silhouette, stand in front of a display of model boats.

Accreditation Scheme

Sets out national standards to ensure museums are sustainable, focused and trusted organisations

A young girl looks at a large silver swan in a museum.

Designation Scheme

Identifies and celebrates outstanding collections, which deepen our understanding of the world

A picture of Jurassic ammonite fossils, taken from above.

Subject Specialist Networks

These networks revolve around a subject specialism and are are drawn from professional membership bodies or networks of museums

Writers Jon Nash and Jim Crago lean over a table both writing by hand, in The Elizabethan House, Plymouth.

Disposal from collections

Museums should always act carefully, responsibly and ethically when disposing of items from their collections

A preserved dragonfly pinned to a piece of parchment with writing

Apply for funding

Several of our funding programmes focus on collections and their development

Image captions
Top left to bottom right: 1. Exeter's Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery. Photo © RAMM Exeter. 2. Cat No. 219. Figure of Duamutef Probably Ptolemaic Period, ca. 300 B.C. Photo © Dan Salter Photography for Durham Oriental Museum 3. Ashmole Bestiary. Image © The Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford. 4. Model Boat Case at National Maritime Museum Cornwall. Photo © Toby Weller / National Maritime Museum Cornwall. 5. A young visitor to The Bowes Museum admires The Silver Swan, a musical automaton dating back to 1773. Photo © Sasa Savic for The Bowes Museum. 6. National Portrait Gallery, London. Photo © National Portrait Gallery, London 7. Courtesy of the Lapworth Museum of Geology, University of Birmingham. 8. Jon Nash & Jim Crago, writers of Spice Box: a Barbican Theatre Plymouth production at The Elizabethan House. Photo © Gemma Ward Photographer / Barbican Theatre. 9. Image © The Linnean Society of London 10. 'Transe Express' by Seachange Arts at the Out There International Festival of Circus and Street Arts, 2015. Photo © David Street / Streetview Marketing 11. Rifco Arts: Break the Floorboards @ Watford Palace Theatre, 2013. Photo © Manuel Harlan. 12. Daniel Copeland performs Joseph Coelho's Tree Child on the Spark Arts tour. Photo © Pamela Raith Photography / The Spark Arts 13. New Wolsey Youth Theatre's Through The Looking Glass. Photo © Mike Kwasniak 14. Exeter's Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery. Photo © RAMM Exeter 15. Musiko Musika's ECCO Concert at Southbank Centre, February 2014. Photo © Harriet Armstrong / Musiko Musika. 16. It's A Wonderful Life by New Wolsey Theatre. Photo © Mike Kwasniak. 17. Love is Enough: William Morris and Andy Warhol exhibition at Modern Art Oxford. Photo © Andy Keate