Policy On The Access To And Use Of The Collections

  1. Introduction
  2. Access and use of the collections
  3. Charges
  4. Restrictions
  5. Standards for access
  6. Facilities
  7. Guidelines
  8. Invigilation

1. Introduction

NMGW's collections exist to be available for the advancement of knowledge, an aim that is achievable only if objects and specimens are made available for research, teaching, exhibition and loan. At the same time, it is essential to recognise that NMGW holds collections in trust for the public, and their use must be monitored carefully so as to protect them from misuse, and to maximise their future usefulness. It is the policy of NMGW to make its collections as available as possible within resource and conservation constraints.

2. Access and use of the collections

Access to the collections is concerned with providing physical accessibility as well as informational access. Physical accessibility is determined by appropriate care and management of the collections, outlined here and also in the Museum's document Policy on Care of the Collections, and through the loan of objects or specimens, detailed in the Museum's Policy on Loans.

Informational access to collections is concerned with providing information about objects and specimens through catalogues and publications, manual and electronic (see the Museum's Policy on the Acquisition and Disposal of the Museum's collections).

The use of collections is concerned with the diverse uses to which the various objects and specimens are put in order to achieve the objectives of the Museum, as set out in its Charter.

3. Charges

Generally, access or use of the collections is free. In some cases, however, where access or use is required for commercial purposes (for example photography or filming) the Museum reserves the right to levy charges.

4. Restrictions

In some cases, access to particular objects or specimens, which are of significantly high value or fragility, will be restricted to bona fide research workers only. Usually, specimens are lent to temporary exhibitions and bona fide research workers for a specified period.

5. Standards for access

The Department of Geology's standards of access are based on those defined by the Museums and Galleries Commission (Standards in the Museums Care of Archaeological Collections (1992) and Standards in the Museum Care of Geological Collections (1993)), redefined as follows.

  • Enquirers with impaired mobility, sight or hearing will have, as far as possible, as ready access as any other enquirers.
  • The Department acknowledges its obligation to make publicly known the existence of its geological collections.
  • Any bona fide enquirer is allowed, under normal circumstances as specified below, to inspect objects and archives from the collections.
  • We will respond to any enquiry about the presence of a particular type of object within 10 working days.
  • An enquirer will generally be able to secure an appointment within 5 working days of applying to the Museum
  • An enquirer having an appointment will be able to consult all available documentation (save for confidential information) relating to the collections and associated archives where appropriate.

6. Facilities

A supervised study area will be made available to visitors and will offer good light, power points, reflected and transmitted light microscopes, clear table space and access to washbasins and WC. The Museum operates a No Smoking Policy.

7. Guidelines

An enquirer will be regarded as bona fide unless there is reason to believe that he or she is contravening or intends to contravene the law or codes of geological ethics. Appropriate standards for inviligation apply. See Section 8 below.

The Department has a duty to safeguard the collections and records, which may conflict with compliance with NMGW Access Policy. Enquirers who need to handle objects and specimens will be advised on how to do so carefully and safely.

8. Invigilation

The level of supervision is at the discretion of the Keeper of Geology and will vary from visitor to visitor.

Only bona fide research workers, at the discretion of the Keeper of Geology, may work unsupervised. All other enquirers must be supervised by a member of staff at all other times. No visitor is allowed into any of the Department's stores unsupervised.

If you have any queries about visiting the Department of Geology, contact the Keeper of Geology.

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