Before the Museum Project – Consultations on Draft Guidance and Museums Processing Fee

As part of the ‘Before the Museum’ project led by the Association of Local Government Archaeologists, Scotland (ALGAO) Scotland, National Museums Scotland, and the Museum Working Group of Scotland’s Archaeology Strategy, we are now inviting feedback on two reports related to the transfer of archaeological assemblages to museums.

The ‘Before the Museums’ Project project addresses one of the issues identified in the first of the three work strands created by the Scottish Archaeology in Museums Working Group (1. ‘Before the Museum’, 2. ‘At the Museum’ and 3. ‘Access to knowledge/expertise/skills’). The aim of this project is to provide a stronger bridge between archaeological fieldwork (in particular the work of the commercial sector) and museums.

Information about the consultation is available below. You can access the associated reports by clicking on ‘report’ in the title for each. We would be very grateful for your feedback. The deadline for responses is the 8th February 2021.

Consultation 1 – Implementing a museum processing fee for archaeological assemblages in Scotland – Report(pdf. 589kb)

The principal aim of the report and this survey is to consider whether a fee for the deposition / processing of archaeological assemblages can be applied via the planning process in Scotland in the first instance, and if so, what that fee would look like. Archaeological work that is carried out in relation to a planning application, whether it is undertaken to provide pre-determination information or as part of a condition of a planning application, is the main source of archaeological material that is deposited at Museums.  The report was prepared as part of the ‘Before the Museum Project’ led by the Association of Local Government Archaeologists Scotland (ALGAO Scotland), the National Museums Scotland (NMS), and the Museum Working Group of Scotland’s Archaeology Strategy, and funded by Historic Environment Scotland (HES) as part of Scotland’s Archaeology Strategy.

For the purpose of this report and survey ‘Assemblage’ has been defined as the finds and ecofacts retained for long-term preservation. It may include copies of all or parts of the paper (including digital) record, the entirety of which normally passes to the National Archaeological Record maintained by Historic Environment Scotland. This report is a feasibility study only at this stage, with recommendations for how to go about establishing the costs of any such fee in consultation with the wider sector.

Please use https://bit.ly/3mfzPUg for submitting your response. The deadline for responses is the 8th February 2021.

Consultation 2 – New draft guidance for the minimum standards for the transfer of archaeological assemblages to museums in Scotland – Report (pdf. 189kb)

This document sets out procedures and minimum standards for the transfer of archaeological assemblages to museums in Scotland, which operates under a different legislative system from the rest of the UK. Its aim is to ensure that archaeological material is transferred appropriately packed and in a stable condition, accompanied by the documentation necessary to understand and use the assemblage once it has been added to the museum’s collections. It is intended that museums will only accept assemblages which meet the requirements set out in the guidance. The guidance was prepared as part of the ‘Before the Museum Project’ led by the Association of Local Government Archaeologists Scotland (ALGAO Scotland), the National Museums Scotland (NMS), and the Museum Working Group of Scotland’s Archaeology Strategy, and funded by Historic Environment Scotland (HES) as part of Scotland’s Archaeology Strategy.

The guidance is at a DRAFT stage following on from careful consideration of all available standards currently available. The intention is not to replace those standards developed by the Society for Museum Archaeology, CIfA etc, but rather to act as a quick reference guide where all the requirements are in one place. In addition to guidance on packing, labelling etc, there are also new templates for use including ‘Statement of Significance’ which will hopefully help all involved with an assemblage to understand its relative importance.

Please use https://bit.ly/3gLp62v for submitting your response. The deadline for responses is the 8th February 2021.