Name of Museum
The National Army Museum (NAM)
Name of governing body
The Council of the National Army Museum
Date on which this policy was approved by governing body
14 July 2016
Policy review procedure
The collections development policy will be published and reviewed from time to time, at least once every five years. This Policy supersedes and cancels all earlier and existing policies, practices and customs.
Date at which this policy is due for review
13 July 2021
Arts Council England (ACE) will be notified of any changes to the collections development policy, and the implications of any such changes for the future of existing collections.
- The Museum's statement of purpose is (revised 2011):
To gather, maintain and make known the story of the British Army and its role and impact in world history. To provide a museum experience that meets the widest range of public need and connects the British public with its Army.
- The Council of the National Army Museum will ensure that both acquisition and disposal are carried out openly and with transparency. It will also ensure, through its collecting activity, that NAM retains its status as the pre-eminent institution for the study and enjoyment of material culture relating to the British Army.
- By definition, the NAM has a long-term purpose and holds collections in trust for the benefit of the public in relation to its stated objectives. The Council of the National Army Museum therefore accepts the principle that sound curatorial reasons must be established before consideration is given to any acquisition to the Collection, or the disposal of any items in the Museum's Collection.
- Acquisitions outside the current stated policy will only be made in exceptional circumstances, and then only after proper consideration by the Director General and Council of the National Army Museum, having regard to the interests of other museums.
- The NAM recognises its responsibility, when acquiring additions to its collections, to ensure that care of collections, documentation arrangements and use of collections will meet the requirements of the Museum Accreditation Standard. This includes using SPECTRUM primary procedures for collections management. It will take into account limitations on collecting imposed by such factors as staffing, storage and care of collection arrangements.
- The NAM will undertake due diligence and make every effort not to acquire, whether by purchase, gift, bequest or exchange, any object or specimen unless the Council of the National Army Museum or Director General is satisfied that the NAM can acquire a valid title to the item in question.
- Authority to collect and dispose of property, including Museum objects, is derived from the National Army Museum's Royal Charter (156KB), first issued in 1960. Its preamble states that the National Army Museum was established,
for the purpose of collecting, preserving and exhibiting objects and records relating to the history of Our Army so that the achievements, history and traditions of Our Army should be better made known. 'Our Army' is defined by Her Majesty The Queen in Council as including,
the Standing Army, Militia, Yeomanry, Volunteers, Territorial Army of the British Islands, Territorial Army and Volunteer Reserve of the United Kingdom, Our Predecessors' Army in India and the Armies of the East India Company and the Land Forces of Our and Our Predecessors' possessions beyond the seas.
- In exceptional cases, disposal may be by sale and the procedures outlined below will be followed. In this case the Council of the National Army Museum will not undertake disposal unless it can be demonstrated that all the following exceptional circumstances are met in full:
- the disposal will significantly improve the long-term public benefit derived from the remaining collection
- the disposal will not be undertaken to generate short-term revenue (for example to meet a budget deficit)
- the disposal will be undertaken as a last resort after other sources of funding have been thoroughly explored
- extensive prior consultation with sector bodies has been undertaken
- the item under consideration lies outside the museum's established core collection
- The Museum will not collect objects outside its Royal Charter (156KB) and will not accept items offered on long-term or indefinite loan, as inward loans are only taken for Special Exhibitions.
- In addition, the Museum will not normally accept items for the Collection if:
- they are, or are likely to become, physically dangerous and/ or a health and safety hazard or a hazard to other objects within the Collection
- they are beyond the means of the Museum to conserve, store, document or make accessible to an adequate standard
- they are accompanied by unduly restrictive conditions
- they duplicate existing Collection items or open up new avenues for collecting not covered by the existing Collecting Policy.
2. History of the Collection
- The NAM Collection is the world's largest, and most significant, accumulation of artefacts relating the British Army and other Land Forces of the British Crown (including the former Indian Army until 1947). The Collection consists of over one million items, spanning a 600-year period with particular depth and strength for the period c1780-1914. As the Collection relates to the British Army, its geographical remit extends to all parts of the world where British land forces have fought or been stationed.
Although the Museum received its Royal Charter (156KB) on 8 April 1960, the origins of the institution go back to the years just after the Second World War. The amalgamation of the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, and the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, brought together at Sandhurst a collection of historical items around which a Royal Military Academy Museum was formed. There was an existing network of regimental and corps museums, but it was identified that there was a need to provide a repository for items relating to the pre-1947 Indian Army, the Irish regiments disbanded in 1922, and cavalry regiments which lacked depots at which they could form museums. Appeals for exhibits were published in the newspapers in 1948 and subsequent years, and in late 1949 the Indian Army Memorial Room was opened; followed by cavalry and Irish regiment displays in 1951. By 1958, with thousands of items in a rapidly growing collection, it was felt that then separate collections of Indian, Irish and cavalry relics should be brought together into a single National Army Museum. In 1960 the Royal Charter (156KB) was obtained, and Her Majesty the Queen opened new permanent displays in the former Riding School at Sandhurst on 15 July 1960.
The collections continued to rapidly expand in the 1960s and 1970s. In 1963 the Museum acquired large proportions of the collections held by the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI). In 1971, the first phase of the current museum building was opened in Chelsea, London, providing additional storage and display facilities. In the early 1980s the NAM's collecting remit was extended to the First and Second World War and beyond. In the 1990s and 2000s a number of major collections were acquired. These included the collections of the Buffs; the Navy, Army and Air Force Institutes; the Women's Royal Army Corps; Royal Army Education Corps; the Museum of Army Transport; the Middlesex Regiment; the reference collection of the Army Museums Ogilby Trust; and books from the War Office Library. In 1991 the Soldiers Effects Records were transferred from the National Archives, and in 1999 over 20,000 sealed patterns were acquired from the Ministry of Defence.
In the first decade of the 21st century the Museum focused more on collecting contemporary material relating to the then current operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, whilst continuing to augment its older material. From 2005, NAM also turned its focus to rationalisation of its Collection, focusing on duplicate items, non-military badges and buttons, and vehicles outside its core collecting remit. In 2013 the Museum acquired the Field Marshal Sir John Lyon Chapple Indian Army Collection of badges and insignia.
3. An overview of existing Collections
- The collection of fine and decorative art embraces pictorial works of art, together with three-dimensional arts and crafts such as sculpture, ceramics and silver. The collection includes ethnographic and soldier-made craft objects, as well as jewellery and mess ware. In total the collection comprises some 50,000 works on paper, over 650 oil paintings, 1,500 items of silver and 1,200 ceramics.
- The collection of uniform includes over 80,000 items of uniform and other garments dating from the mid-seventeenth century to the present day. Collectively this constitutes one of the world's largest collections of occupational costume.
- The collection of medals and badges includes over 20,000 individual medals including 38 Victoria Crosses, and around 40,000 badges and other insignia.
- The collection of weapons covers those used by the British soldier from the age of the longbow to the present day, and includes around 3,000 edged weapons, over 200 polearms, and over 1,700 firearms. A small representative collection of Artillery is also included in this category.
- The collection of equipment includes in excess of 12,000 items of personal equipment, scientific instruments, models and dioramas, musical instruments, armour and horse furniture.
- The vehicle collection numbers around 40 items, ranging from motorcycles and armoured vehicles to large trucks and primarily relates around the theme of transport and logistics.
- The collection of colours, guidons and flags numbers nearly 1,000 items, including very rare examples from the English Civil Wars (1642-49), and French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars of 1783-1815.
- The Museum's collection of archives, photographs, film and sound contains tens of thousands of private, regimental and business papers illustrating more than five centuries of British military history. The photographic collection comprises an estimated 500,000 images dating from the 1840s to the present day. The film collection is composed mainly of unofficial footage taken by soldiers and their families from the 1930s onwards. The sound collection holds recordings (dating from the 1920s onwards) of British Army and military bands, and over 800 oral history recordings.
- The collection of printed books is the largest in its field readily accessible to the general public. The library administers over 50,000 volumes published since the early sixteenth century, which include extensive holdings of regimental histories, campaign histories, biographies, Army Lists and other official publications. Files of 700 serials are maintained, of which over 100 are current.
- The collections include small numbers of items relating to foreign armies used for comparative purposes. NAM will continue to collect material relating to foreign armies with a clear comparative role and high potential for display and/ or research.
- The Museum also holds a handling collection managed by the Learning Department. Although the items belong to the Council of the National Army Museum, they are not bound by this Policy.
4. Themes and priorities for future collecting
- The proactive development of collections is paramount to ensure that the NAM reflects the complexity of the army and its place in British society. It will ensure that NAM collects and preserves tangible and intangible material that can be by its nature “throw away” and may otherwise be lost.
- The existing Collection has particular strengths and depth in the period c1780-1914. Attempts will be made to increase coverage of people and places considered under-represented in the collection, including scarce material relating to low-ranking and ordinary soldiers; female personnel; Indian and colonial soldiers. Similarly, material relating to central Africa, central America and the West Indies, China, the Malayan peninsula, and Australasia will be sought.
Additionally, future collecting identified for specific areas of the Collection includes:
Fine and decorative art: high-quality oil paintings of some important personalities, including Wellington and Kitchener; works relating to military topography and surveying; soldier art from all periods; works of art by non-European and female artists.
Uniforms: items that complement or complete examples of existing parts of uniform in the collection
Medals and badges: the Cumberland Medal; medal groups of Indian soldiers of the Indian Army; issued campaign medals for recent and current operations, including the Operational Service Medals for Afghanistan, Sierra Leone and Democratic Republic of Congo, the Ebola Medal for Service in West Africa, and the Iraq Medal; medal groups representing operational gallantry post 1992 and issued examples of the Elizabeth Cross and memorial scroll.
Weapons: The Museum will continue to collect type examples of the British soldiers firearm. Wherever possible these should be examples with provenance and service history. Where relevant, regimentally marked examples will always take priority.
Equipment: In addition to weapons, the Museum will also continue to collect examples of the equipment used by British soldiers, both historic and contemporary. Wherever possible these should be examples with provenance and service history. If such examples are not available, approaches will be made directly to manufacturers for equivalents. Should there be a need to acquire contemporary examples before one can be sourced through official channels via the Army, for example in order to go on display in a special exhibition, approaches will be made to secure either a loan from the Army, or also be made directly to manufacturers.
Vehicles: Vehicles may also be acquired by exception, as part of a managed process which preserves items not otherwise held by other Museums, and which strengthens the existing themes represented in the current collection.
Archives, photographs, film and sound: Priority will be given to the acquisition of material that complements or completes existing collections, enabling the Museum to consolidate its position as the leading repository for papers relating to the British Army of the nineteenth century. A premium will be placed on original items, particularly where they possess display potential. Acquisitions which facilitate research into the post-1945 British Army will also be given favourable consideration.
- As the existing Collection contains regimental collections previously acquired by NAM (such as those relating to the Buffs, Middlesex Regiment and Women's Royal Army Corps) and those that do not exist elsewhere (such as the Indian Army), additional consideration will be given to offers of donation or acquisition that relate to these Collections.
- The Museum, along with the Imperial War Museum and Regimental and Corps Museums, can receive collection material direct from the Ministry of Defence (MOD) under the current provisions of the MOD gifting scheme.
As the National Museum directly funded by MOD for the purpose of telling the story of the Army, NAM seeks to strengthen this relationship so that it is the Museum of choice to which the Army will transfer material.
- Targeted collecting will continue to be part of NAM's on-going work, and future collecting areas will be decided by the Assistant Director (Collections) as part of NAM's strategic activity. Projects will include collecting relating to Army 2020 and continuing to acquire artefacts and other material that relate to the relationship between the British Army and British society.
- The form in which some Collection items - in particular film, photos and interviews - continues to change and present challenges. Advances in digital technology mean that photographs, for example, are now far more numerous, and can be taken on in greater quantities. Yet some of these items have associated risks. With photographs there is an issue about the display potential of low-resolution images (see 4.8 below) as well as the practical difficulties of creating and maintaining accurate and useful documentation records. There is also an issue of intellectual property and copyright that is amplified when personal cameras have been used and in greater quantities. However, these challenges should not preclude their collecting, and NAM's internal policies are rigorous enough to accommodate them.
- On occasion the specific commissioning of artworks will take place in order to support NAM's strategic activity, which may then be accessioned into the Collection.
- In all instances, items offered to the Collection (whether by donation or sale) will be judged against their potential display, research and educational value.
5. Themes and priorities for rationalisation and disposal
- The Museum recognises that the principles on which priorities for rationalisation and disposal are determined will be through a formal review process that identifies which collections are included and excluded from the review. The outcome of review and any subsequent rationalisation will not reduce the quality or significance of the Collection and will result in a more useable, well-managed collection.
- The procedures used will meet professional standards. The process will be documented, open and transparent. There will be clear communication with key stakeholders about the outcomes and the process.
- Responsible, curatorially motivated disposal takes place as part of a museum's long-term collections policy, in order to increase public benefit derived from museum collections. The Museum's rationalisation programme has been active since 2005 with many items disposed of which fell outside of the Museum's core collecting policy. In the coming years the focus will be on the high levels of duplication in the Collection.
6. Legal and ethical framework for acquisition and disposal of items
- The NAM recognises its responsibility to work within the parameters of the Museum Association Code of Ethics when considering acquisition and disposal of items.
7. Collecting policies of other institutions
- The Museum will take account of the collecting policies of other museums, libraries and archives collecting in the same or related areas or subject fields. It will consult with these organisations where conflicts of interest may arise or to define areas of specialisms, in order to avoid unnecessary duplication and waste of resources. The Museum will avoid competing knowingly at auction with Regimental or Corps museums, or with any other publicly funded museum, gallery, library or archive.
- Specific reference is made to the following institutions:
- British Library
- Imperial War Museums
- National Museum of Ireland
- National Portrait Gallery
- National War Museum of Scotland
- Regimental and Corps Museums
- Royal Air Force Museum
- Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives
- University of Southampton
- Churchill Archives Centre
- The MOD
8. Archival holdings
- NAM holds archival material including documents, sound recordings, photographs and film in both physical and digital formats. Acquisition of public records will be made with reference to the 1958 Public Records Act, subject to the direction of The National Archives (TNA).
- The NAM will seek to obtain Archive Service Accreditation and follow its requirements. The NAM may accept public records as a Place of Deposit. Offers of official Army records will be considered subject to guidance from the MOD records review team.
- NAM will continue to collect archival material in physical and digital formats and in accordance with the principles and priorities set out in this policy.
- Archives will be cared for in line with current best practice and other relevant standards as appropriate. This includes the Code of Practice on Archives for Museums and Galleries in the United Kingdom (3rd edition, 2002).
The policy for agreeing acquisitions is:
- It is the aim of the National Army Museum to be the best possible repository for collections of national and international importance relating to the history of 'Our Army', as defined in the Museum's Royal Charter (156KB).
- The National Army Museum shall be the proper and sole judge when deciding whether objects should be acquired for the Collection. With the exception of accumulations of greater extent than ten cubic metres, the Council of the National Army Museum has delegated to the Director General the collecting, including purchasing, and disposing of items in accordance with this Policy. On a day-to-day basis, decisions relating to the acquisition of new material for the Collection will usually be taken by the Collections Development Group (CDG). This cross-departmental group will meet once a month under the chairmanship of the Assistant Director (Collections). He or she has the right to cast the deciding vote in the unlikely event a consensus is not reached. All decisions will be minuted and archived. Potential acquisitions of printed books and journals will be made by the Head of Academic Access.
- In particular, the Museum will not acquire any object or specimen unless it is satisfied that the object or specimen has not been acquired in, or exported from, its country of origin (or any intermediate country in which it may have been legally owned) in violation of that country's laws. (For the purposes of this paragraph 'country of origin' includes the United Kingdom.)
- In accordance with the provisions of the UNESCO 1970 Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property, which the UK ratified with effect from 1 November 2002, and the Dealing in Cultural Objects (Offences) Act 2003, the Museum will reject any items that have been illicitly traded. The Council and Director General will be guided by the national guidance on the responsible acquisition of cultural property issued by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) in 2005, and any subsequent editions or relevant legislation.
- All items donated to or purchased by the National Army Museum become the absolute property of Council of the National Army Museum, whether formally accessioned or not. Every effort will be made to acquire the intellectual property rights (where these still exist) in items at the time of acquisition. The inability to achieve this, particularly if caused by undue complexities and/ or disputes among the owners or alleged owners of the rights, may result in the acquisition process being terminated.
- Council reserves the right to require a 'dowry' of money, staff or premises (or any combination thereof) as a condition of accepting any item or items for the Collection.
- In the interests of propriety, items will never be purchased for the Collection from serving Members of the NAM Council, Honorary Officers, serving members of the NAM Staff, volunteers, trainees, interns, contractors, serving Trustees of the NAM Development Trust, and serving Officers and Council Members of the Society of Friends of the National Army Museum, or partners or business associates of any of the above. A period of seven years will run from the date that a person ceases to be in any of the above categories before the Museum will consider purchasing items from them.
10. Human remains
- As the Museum holds human remains under 100 years old, it will obtain the necessary licence under the Human Tissue Act 2004 and any subordinate legislation from time to time in force. However, as the only human remains less than 100 years held by the Museum are the fingers and toes of Major Lane (NAM. 2000-10-208-1 & -2), a licence will become necessary only upon the death of Major Lane. As the Museum holds human remains from earlier periods, it will follow the procedures in the 'Guidance for the care of human remains in museums' issued by DCMS in 2005. The Museum does not intend actively to collect human remains in the future.
11. Biological and geological material
- So far as biological and geological material is concerned, the Museum will not acquire by any direct or indirect means any specimen that has been collected, sold or otherwise transferred in contravention of any national or international wildlife protection or natural history conservation law or treaty of the United Kingdom or any other country, except with the express consent of an appropriate outside authority.
12. Archaeological material
- The Museum will not acquire archaeological material (including excavated ceramics) in any case where the Council of the National Army Museum or the Director General has any suspicion that the circumstances of their recovery involved a failure to follow the appropriate legal procedures.
- In England, Northern Ireland and Wales the procedures include reporting finds to the landowner or occupier of the land and to the proper authorities in the case of possible treasure (i.e. the Coroner for Treasure) as set out in the Treasure Act 1996 (as amended by the Coroners & Justice Act 2009).
- Any exceptions to the above clauses will only be because the Museum is either:
In these cases the Museum will be open and transparent in the way it makes decisions and will act only with the express consent of an appropriate outside authority. The Museum will document when these exceptions occur.
- acting as an externally approved repository of last resort for material of local (UK) origin; or
- acting with the permission of authorities with the requisite jurisdiction in the country of origin.
- The Museum will use 'Spoliation of Works of Art during the Holocaust and World War II period: Statement of Principles and Proposed Actions', issued by the National Museum Directors' Conference in 1998, and report on them in accordance with the guidelines and any subsequent editions thereof. Prompt and serious consideration will be given to claims that an item in the Collection was spoliated during the Nazi persecutions of 1933-45. Measures will be taken to provide restitution to the legal owner or otherwise settle the claim, acting on appropriate expert and legal advice. The Council of the NAM will be informed of all such requests and of their outcome.
15. Repatriation and Restitution of objects and human remains
- The Council of the National Army Museum, acting on the advice of the Director General and Assistant Director (Collections), may take a decision to return human remains (unless covered by the 'Guidance for the care of human remains in museums' issued by DCMS in 2005), objects or specimens to a country or people of origin. The Museum will take such decisions on a case-by-case basis, within its legal position and taking into account all ethical implications and available guidance. This will mean that the procedures described below in Section 16.1-5 will be followed but the remaining procedures are not appropriate.
- Repatriation is an increasingly sensitive topic within the museum and heritage sector. The National Army Museum has an extensive ethnographic collection composed of objects acquired from across the globe. It should therefore be acknowledged that parts of the Collection may be subject to claims for restitution or repatriation at any time, and that NAM must be reactive and responsive to these.
- Best practice across the sector is to review requests for repatriation on a case-by-case basis. The origin of the request, the intended purpose for the repatriated object (i.e. display), and long-term care and preservation are all to be considered. It is noted that the charters of some institutions, such as the British Museum, prevent the de-accessioning of collection material for purposes of repatriation. The Museum Association's Policy Statement on Repatriation of Cultural Property of September 2006 acknowledges the difficulty surrounding these issues, stating:
Balancing all of these considerations and taking into account the interests of all parties is what makes careful repatriation decisions so difficult. The policy does not advocate a clear position on the subject; it is left to individual institutions to review cases of requests for repatriation as they occur.
- Thus, requests for repatriation of NAM Collection material should be made in writing to the Collections Development Group, in the first instance. The Museum recognises that it has a duty to consult with expatriate communities in the UK from the communities of origin when considering the disposal of culturally sensitive material to determine whether repatriation should be considered. The results of this will be referred to the Acquisition and Disposal Committee of Council thereafter, which will make its recommendation to Council. Requests for repatriation will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
- The disposal of human remains from museums in England, Northern Ireland and Wales will follow the procedures in the 'Guidance for the care of human remains in museums'. Requests for the return of objects of cultural patrimony and human remains will be treated with respect and sensitivity. Decisions will be based on available evidence, ethical considerations, and a full consideration, on the basis of appropriate expert and legal advice, of all the options and opportunities. The Council of the National Army Museum will be informed of all such requests and of their outcome.
16. Disposal procedures
By definition, the Museum has a long-term purpose and holds collections in trust for society in relation to its stated objectives. The Council of the National Army Museum therefore accepts the principle that sound curatorial reasons for disposal must be established before consideration is given to the disposal of any items in the Museum's collections. It is necessary periodically to assess the continuing relevance of items in the collections to ensure that they fall within the Royal Charter (156KB).
The following procedures only relate to items which are the legal property of the Council of the National Army Museum. The Council does not have authority to dispose of artefacts owned by third parties (i.e. loans) or any artefact where the NAM's legal title is uncertain.
- All disposals will be undertaken with reference to the SPECTRUM Primary Procedures on disposal.
- The Council of the National Army Museum will confirm that it is legally free to dispose of an item. Agreements on disposal made with donors will also be taken into account.
- When disposal of a museum object is being considered, the NAM will establish if it was acquired with the aid of an external funding organisation. In such cases, any conditions attached to the original grant will be followed. This may include repayment of the original grant and a proportion of the proceeds if the item is disposed of by sale.
- When disposal is motivated by curatorial reasons the procedures outlined below will be followed and the method of disposal may be by gift, sale, exchange or as a last resort - destruction.
- The decision to dispose of material from the collections will be taken by the Director General only after full consideration of the reasons for disposal. Other factors including public benefit, the implications for the Museum's collections and collections held by museums and other organisations collecting the same material or in related fields will be considered. Expert advice will be obtained when required and the views of stakeholders such as donors, researchers, local and source communities and others served by the Museum will also be sought.
- The main curatorial reasons for considering disposal will be when an item:
- has deteriorated beyond economic repair
- is dangerous, and/ or has become a health and safety hazard or a hazard to other objects within the collections
- has been found to be a duplicate, where the terms of acquisition permit the disposal of one example
- does not fall within the terms of the Royal Charter (156KB) and/ or this Policy, or is unsuitable for retention for other curatorial reasons
- when an individual or organisation has better legal title than the Council of the National Army Museum.
- A decision to dispose of a specimen or object, whether by gift, exchange, sale or destruction (in the case of an item too badly damaged or deteriorated to be of any use for the purposes of the Collection or for reasons of health and safety), will be the responsibility of the Director General acting on the advice of the Acquisition & Disposal Committee of Council and the Collections Development Group. The signatures of the Chair of the Acquisition & Disposal Committee, the Director General, Assistant Director (Collections) and the Registrar will be required on each Disposal Form.
- Once a decision to dispose of material in the Collection has been taken, priority will be given to retaining it within the public domain. It will therefore be offered in the first instance, by gift or sale, directly to other Accredited Museums likely to be interested in its acquisition.
- If the material is not acquired by any Accredited museum to which it was offered as a gift or for sale, then the museum community at large will be advised of the intention to dispose of the material normally through a notice on the MA's Find an Object web listing service, an announcement in the Museums Association's Museums Journal or in other specialist publications and websites (if appropriate).
- The announcement relating to gift or sale will indicate the number and nature of specimens or objects involved, and the basis on which the material will be transferred to another institution. Preference will be given to expressions of interest from other Accredited Museums. A period of at least two months will be allowed for an interest in acquiring the material to be expressed. At the end of this period, if no expressions of interest have been received, the Museum may consider disposing of the material to other interested individuals and organisations giving priority to organisations in the public domain.
- Any monies received by the Museum governing body from the disposal of items will be applied solely and directly for the benefit of the collections. This normally means the purchase of further acquisitions. In exceptional cases, improvements relating to the care of collections in order to meet or exceed Accreditation requirements relating to the risk of damage to and deterioration of the collections may be justifiable. Any monies received in compensation for the damage, loss or destruction of items will be applied in the same way. Advice on those cases where the monies are intended to be used for the care of collections will be sought from the Arts Council England.
- The proceeds of a sale will be allocated so it can be demonstrated that they are spent in a manner compatible with the requirements of the Accreditation standard. Money must be restricted to the long-term sustainability, use and development of the collection.
- Full records will be kept of all decisions on disposals and the items involved and proper arrangements made for the preservation and/or transfer, as appropriate, of the documentation relating to the items concerned, including photographic records where practicable in accordance with SPECTRUM Procedure on deaccession and disposal. These will be recorded on the NAM's Disposal Form.
- Serving Members of the NAM Council, Honorary Officers, serving members of the NAM Staff, serving Trustees of the NAM Development Trust, NAM volunteers, trainees, interns, contractors (unless on behalf of new owner or for secure destruction) and serving Officers and Council Members of the Society of Friends of the National Army Museum, or partners or business associates of any of the above will not be permitted to acquire, by purchase or otherwise, objects that have been de-accessioned or otherwise disposed of (if not formally accessioned) directly from the NAM collections.
Disposal by exchange
- The Museum will not dispose of items by exchange.
Disposal by destruction
- If it is not possible to dispose of an object through transfer or sale, the Council of the National Army Museum may decide to destroy it.
- It is acceptable to destroy material of low intrinsic significance (duplicate mass-produced articles or common specimens which lack significant provenance) where no alternative method of disposal can be found.
- Destruction is also an acceptable method of disposal in cases where an object is in extremely poor condition, has high associated health and safety risks or is part of an approved destructive testing request identified in NAM's research policy.
- Where necessary, specialist advice will be sought to establish the appropriate method of destruction. Health and Safety risk assessments will be carried out by the Collections Standards and Care Manager where required.
- The destruction of objects will be witnessed by an appropriate member of staff. In circumstances where this is not possible, e.g. the destruction of controlled substances, a police certificate will be obtained and kept with the Disposal Form.