Records Management for Museums and Galleries

1st Edition

An Introduction

Authors: Charlotte Brunskill Sarah Demb
Print ISBN: 9781843346371
eBook ISBN: 9781780632919
Imprint: Chandos Publishing
Published Date: 27th April 2012
Page Count: 278
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Institutional Access


The systematic management of records is an important activity for ‘information businesses’ such as museums and galleries, but is not always recognized as a core function. Record keeping activities are often concentrated on small groups of records, and staff charged with managing them may have limited experience in the field.

Records Management for Museums and Galleries offers a comprehensive overview of records management work within the heritage sector and draws on over a decade of experience in applying fundamental principles and practices to the specific circumstances of museums. It introduces readers to the institutional culture, functions, and records common to museums, and examines the legislative and regulatory environments affecting record-keeping practices. The book is comprised of eight chapters, including: a history of records keeping in the UK museum and gallery sector; the basics of records management; making a business case for records management; requirements of legislation for records management; how to conduct a records survey; strategy and action planning; how to develop a file plan, retention schedule and records management programme; and a guide to useful additional resources.

Key Features

  • Gives practical and tested solutions to real world issues
  • Fills a gap in the literature as a handbook in this important sector
  • Provides an overview of the sector as a whole


Anyone responsible for records management/keeping in a museum environment

Table of Contents

List of figures




About the authors

Chapter 1: The history of record keeping in the UK museum and gallery sector



Record keeping in museums: roles

Record keeping in museums: record types

Chapter 2: Records management basics



What is a record?

What is records management?

The ‘difference’ between archives and records management

Basic records management concepts

Chapter 3: Making a business case for records management



Compile a business case

The importance of communication

Chapter 4: Legislation and records management requirements



Public Records Acts 1958 and 1967

Local government legislation

Data Protection Act 1998

Freedom of Information Act 2000

Environmental Information Regulations 2004

Other relevant legislation

Chapter 5: The records survey


Why conduct a survey?

Pre-survey: the importance of planning

The survey: issues and tips

Post-survey: analyse, summarise and report

Chapter 6: Strategy and action planning



Why to plan

How to plan

How to make the plan into a strategy

Planning for required resources

Chapter 7: Developing a file plan, retention schedule and records management programme



The file plan

The records retention schedule

Implementing a records management programme

A final word

Chapter 8: Resources

UK legislation and regulations

Spoliation and repatriation

Professional bodies

Discussion lists

Useful guidance and training



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About the Author

Charlotte Brunskill

Charlotte Brunskill is Archivist and Records Manager at the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art (sister institution to the Yale Centre for British Art). Before this, she spent seven years at the National Portrait Gallery where she was responsible for establishing, from scratch, a comprehensive records management and archive programme. Charlotte has published numerous articles and taught records management. She holds a Master’s degree in Archive Administration and Records Management from University College London, UK.

Affiliations and Expertise

Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art

Sarah Demb

Sarah R. Demb is the first Records Manager at the Museum of London and is also responsible for its institutional archive. Previously, she was advisor to the London Museums Hub, and held similar posts for museums at Harvard University and the Smithsonian Institution. Sarah trains, lectures and publishes on museum archive and records management, and presents regularly at conferences. She holds a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science from the University of Texas at Austin, USA.

Affiliations and Expertise

Museum of London, UK


This book will doubtless prove to be a useful guide for those responsible for records management in the museum and gallery sector., Australian Library Journal