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We have a series of collections policies that guide our decisions.

The Trust is committed to managing and using the collections and interiors in our properties for the benefit of everyone, today and in the future. To enable this, our policies frame all our actions. These share a single theme – to use not just to have. We believe that the most effective way of achieving our mission to conserve and engage is not just to maintain the significance and originality of what we have in our care, but to promote originality in what we and others do with it.

Our Collections Management Framework is a growing resource which sets out how we aim to achieve our mission. It’s made up of the following policies:

  • Caring for Collections: A Policy to Protect Significance
  • Developing Collections: A Policy to Reflect and Enrich Lives
  • For Info: A Policy to Build and Share Information about Collections
  • Sharing Collections: A Policy on Lending and Borrowing
  • Respecting Remains: A Policy on the Treatment and Use of Human Remains
  • Advancing Access: A Policy for Audiences and Collections

The Trust also issues guidance on using collections and interiors:

  • Experiencing Things: 10 tips to inspire visitors using collections and interiors
  • Hearing Houses: 10 tips to inspire visitors using music and sound
  • Developing Photographs: 10 tips to inspire visitors using historical photographs

This policy sets out what we mean by collections care and explains our approach: prioritising prevention, considering significance, being goals-focused, and being open and inclusive. Importantly, ‘conservation’ is something which we are all involved in doing.


This policy describes and defines our approach to the acquisition and disposal of collections. The emphasis here is not to have but to use.


This policy sets out the value of different types of information about our collections, and how this should be gathered, shared, and managed. Information about our collections comes from a wide variety of sources and is of interest in a wide variety of ways.


This policy clarifies why we loan in and out, and how and when we make decisions on loans.


This policy outlines what we mean by ethical display, storage, and use, and our approach to management of human remains, treating human remains sensitively and with dignity.


This policy describes how we might use our collections in more creative, visitor-centred ways, and how we should tackle barriers to access and inclusion.


Experiencing Things

pdf (3.273 MB)

How to use our collections and interiors to create unforgettable experiences and encourage repeat visits.


Hearing Houses

pdf (6.437 MB)

How to use music and sound to create unforgettable experiences and encourage repeat visits.


Developing Photographs

pdf (5.439 MB)

How to use historical photographs to help visitors create connections with our places.

What we do: Collections

Find out more about how we care for the very wide range of collections items in over 50 of our properties.