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Collections Sustainability

A coordinated and sustainable approach

Collections Sustainability

Collaborative working in areas of curatorial and collection care across the University’s cultural assets is revealing synergies in exhibitions, IT, workshop facilities, skills sharing, emergency preparedness and staff training.

Curating, caring for, interpreting and exhibiting our collections for the enjoyment and benefit of all our visitors, is at the heart of what we do.  We aim to take a sustainable approach to collections management, thinking carefully about new works that we acquire, and how they will be conserved, stored, used and cared for in the long-term.  Equally, we review our collections, and occasionally, after careful consideration, we may transfer individual or groups of items to other accredited museums or galleries where they will be more accessible – we use the Museum Association’s Disposals Toolkit to assist us in this process.  In this way, our collections remain dynamic and relevant.

Within the last year, the Whitworth lent 268 works from its collections of fine art, textiles and wallpapers to exhibitions at 25 UK institutions and 10 international venues.  These latter have included loans to the Rijksmuseum, the Netherlands, Institut du Monde le Jardin D’Orient, Paris, Musée de Dieppe, Museum Tinguely, Switzerland, and Arp Museum Bahnhof Rolandseck, Germany.  We are committed to the Museum Association’s Smarter Loans Programme, and our Registrar works closely with our lenders and colleagues in the museum sector to think sustainably with regards to transport and touring exhibitions.

Taking works that would otherwise remain in storage, a selection of works from the Whitworth’s collections are currently displayed at the newly completed Maggie’s centre at the Christie Hospital, Manchester.  Maggie’s has had a long tradition of incorporating art in its centres to work alongside the architecture and landscape to help create a safe and comfortable environment for those affected by cancer; our team choose works suitable for the new building, and complementing other art works, including a set of prints by Bridget Riley.  Members of the Collection Care team are leading on this collaboration, while the Learning team are developing activities with visitors to the centre.