The challenges of ‘Contemporary Collecting’

In a rapidly-changing world, museums are constantly being told they need to be ‘relevant’, and that they should appeal to a broader range of audiences with differing needs and interests.

  •  With so much ‘stuff’ produced these days, how do we decide what is important and significant enough to collect?
  • Do we need an actual example of ‘everything’, when digital records might suffice?
  • How can we cope with modern objects that often have built-in obsolescence, or that are associated with interests or ‘crazes’ which are often short-term?
  •  What should we do if we already have ‘so much stuff’ that our stores become full and we stop collecting? Therefore we don’t collect significant contemporary objects, which leaves gaps in our collections.


Speakers include:

  • Spencer Bailey, Collections Manager, Derby Museums Trust
  • Ruth Bellamy, ‘Collecting Cultures’ Project Officer, National Trust (Sudbury Hall & The Museum of Childhood)
  • Kate Crossley & Rebecca Buck, Collections Officers, Erewash Museum
  • Dr Mike Galer, General Manager, Crich Tramway Village & National Tramway Museum


This thought-provoking and practical event will consider these and other similar challenges that face most museums today – and it will be particularly useful for volunteers or paid staff who are helping to review or write their museum’s collecting policies, possibly as part of Accreditation.

You’ll hear from a range of speakers based in local museums, and you’ll have the opportunity to share your experiences, ask questions and join the discussion.

You can also network with colleagues from museums and heritage organisations across the region, enjoy a buffet lunch and look around the award-winning Erewash Museum.

This event is FREE to staff and volunteers working at museums that are current members of EMMS, and to current individual members.

Places are limited so please book soon to avoid disappointment!

Tickets available via Eventbrite:

Like all our meetings last year, our first 2017 EMMS Event received great feedback from delegates.  For instance, 97% rated the interest level as ‘Very Good’ or ‘Good’ while 91% were ‘Very Likely’ or ‘Quite Likely’ to recommend an EMMS Event to a colleague.  Don’t miss your chance to get some high-quality information, inspiration and interaction – all for FREE!



10:00 for 10:30 am
until 1:00 pm


At Erewash Museum, Ilkeston, Derbyshire