Reading: The Uses of Stored Collections in some London Museums


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Research Paper

The Uses of Stored Collections in some London Museums


Laura Gardner


Little is known about how the stored collections of museums are used. The amount and nature of use in several London museums was analysed by means of a survey sent to a sample of museums and departments. Awareness among museum visitors of the existence of collections was also investigated. The key findings were that many museums do not keep specific records of how often stored objects are used, and that a majority of respondents would like their collections used more, but that obstacles such as lack of staff, documentation problems and physical limitations of stores prevent the increased use of stored collections. A second survey was conducted on visitors to London museums to ascertain how much they knew about stored collections. Contrary to the findings of earlier work in the US and Australia, visitors were well-informed about the existence and uses of stored collections, but less knowledgeable about their size.
How to Cite: Gardner, L., 2007. The Uses of Stored Collections in some London Museums. Papers from the Institute of Archaeology, 18(S1), pp.36–78. DOI:
Published on 15 Nov 2007.
Peer Reviewed


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