Leeds Museums & Galleries Collections Development Policy

Contents

  1. Statement of Purpose
  2. Existing collections
  3. Legal framework
  4. Due diligence
  5. Ethical framework
  6. Codes of practice
  7. Collections development
  8. Policy review
  1. Archaeology
  2. Decorative Arts
  3. Dress and Textiles
  4. Fine Arts
  5. Industrial History
  6. Leeds Social and Community History
  7. Lotherton
  8. Militaria
  9. Natural History
  10. Numismatics
  11. Temple Newsam
  12. World Cultures
  13. Agricultural History
  1. Archaeology
  2. Decorative Arts
  3. Dress and Textiles
  4. Fine Arts
  5. Leeds Industrial History
  6. Leeds Social and Community History
  7. Lotherton
  8. Militaria
  9. Natural Sciences
  10. Numismatics
  11. Temple Newsam
  12. World Cultures
  13. Agricultural History

1. Statement of Purpose

Leeds Museums & Galleries (LM&G) exist to collect, preserve and interpret historic, scientific and cultural collections and historic sites and use them as inspiration for educating, entertaining and informing the people of Leeds as well as visitors to the city. We provide unique learning environments through the maintenance of these sites, their collections and through the operation of high quality, welcoming visitor attractions with associated commercial activity.

Our vision for the future is for LM&G to be one of the UK’s premier museum and gallery services, so that we meet our full potential and the educational, cultural, social inclusion and urban renewal goals of Leeds City Council.

Our collections and our sites underpin all that LM&G are and do. Through close partnerships with our audiences and stakeholders we will develop our collections and sites to be exemplars of quality, excellence, accessibility and innovation.

2. Existing collections

LM&G manages nine sites across the City of Leeds: Abbey House Museum, Kirkstall Abbey, Leeds Art Gallery, Leeds City Museum, Leeds Industrial Museum and Thwaite Watermill, Leeds Discovery Centre, Lotherton and Temple Newsam.

Core to our museum service are the collections; an estimated 1.3 million individual objects, which include our historic buildings, across a vast range of disciplines. Our collections derive from locations across the world, across cultures and time spanning some 5 billion years of Earth history and 300,000 years of human civilisation. There is a distinct Leeds flavour in that through the collections we celebrate the people, culture and natural environment of our city and its environs, but it is in no way restricted to a local focus.

Four of our collections are Designated; recognised as being pre-eminent collections of national and international importance under the Arts Council England Designation Scheme and have an international reputation for their quality, depth and unique nature. These are Decorative Arts, Fine Arts, Industrial History and Natural Sciences.

Our collections are by no means static: we are actively developing them and moving forward. A vibrant programme of collecting is ongoing and is conducted through various means including; purchase, gift, community projects, transfers, bequests and commissions. We have mature relationships with national funding bodies and our local supporting organisations and have a strategic approach to collecting. As a result our collections are among the best in the UK in terms of quality and range but also in how they are being shaped by the communities with whom we engage.
For more detailed collection descriptions please see Appendix A Collection Descriptions.

LM&G is the largest local authority museum service in the UK. We are owned and operated by Leeds City Council (LCC). LCC has delegated powers from full Council to Service and Officer level under the Scheme of Delegation.

We take seriously our responsibility to adhere to all national and international statutes of law when developing collections. These include, but not exclusively: UNESCO 1970 Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property, Convention for International Trade in Endangered Species 1973, Dealing in Cultural Objects (Offences) Act 2003, Treasure Act 1996 and the Human Tissue Act 2004. See Appendix D Supporting Documents for further information.

4. Due Diligence

We will exercise due diligence in all aspects associated with collections and its management of those collections. We will make every effort not to acquire, by any means any object or specimen unless the Head of LM&G is satisfied that we can acquire a valid title to the item in question, under the Scheme of Delegation. Likewise we expect others to work to similar standards and we will make every effort to only lend to, and borrow from organisations who operate ethically and/or have an ethical loans policy.

Acquisitions outside this policy will only be made in very exceptional circumstances, and then only after proper consideration by ourselves and LCC, having regard to the interests of other museums.

5. Ethical Framework

We are committed to carrying out all its activities in an ethical and moral framework, adhering to the ICOM Code of Ethics (2006), the MA Code of Ethics (2007) and those ethical guidelines produced by Subject Special Networks that form the basis of best practice in the sector. See Appendix D Supporting Documents for further information.

6. Codes of practice

We manage our collections to the standards as set out in PAS 197: 2009 Code of Practice for Cultural Collections Management and the Accreditation Scheme for Museums, Arts Council England.

We hold and intend to acquire archives including photographs and printed ephemera, guided by the Code of Practice on Archives for Museums and Galleries in the United Kingdom (third edition, 2002).

7. Collections Development

Our vision for the collection is to develop it in order that it might continue to be recognised as being one of the pre-eminent collections in the UK. To use the collection for learning, enjoyment, inspiration, the furtherance of knowledge and to engage all our users with their cultural, artistic and scientific heritage.

We aim to maximise the potential of the collections by providing better access to them to embed them at the heart of all our activities, to develop knowledge in partnership and to share that knowledge widely.

We aim to care for our collections to the highest standards and ensure they are preserved and developed for future generations. We aim to be a model of best practice and a centre of excellence for the care and use of collections.

Our policy principles are set out in our Collections Access Policy, Collections Information Policy, Collection Care and Conservation Policy.

We are actively managing our collection through acquisition, lending and rationalisation.

7.1 Acquiring

We recognise our responsibility to ensure that care of collections, documentation arrangements and use of collections will meet the requirements of the Accreditation Standard. We will take into account limitations on collecting imposed by such factors as staffing, storage and care of collection arrangements.

LM&G will acquire items not simply as assets. All items need to have a long term purpose and use. Items should be contextualised through documentation, oral history, film archive and loans to fully interpret them.

As a service we take into account the following principles when collecting:

  • Desirability for display
  • Suitability for use in learning and visitor programmes
  • Contribution to research and understanding
  • Connection to Leeds or its people
  • Connection with existing collections
  • Items should ideally be in good condition and require minimal conservation treatment. (Any items which contain materials hazardous to health will be acquired under the terms of current Health and Safety legislation)
  • Ideally LM&G can assume control over all Intellectual Property Rights concerned with the item, or at least license for reproduction
  • That it falls within the expertise of our collections staff

We hold the largest collections in Leeds and we actively manage and develop our collections. We acknowledge that there are many other collecting organisations within the city of different types and we will work with and encourage other institutions, communities, societies and organisations to ensure the long term preservation of objects in the most appropriate repository. We take into account the collecting policies of other museums and other organisations collecting in the same, related areas or subject fields, regionally, nationally and internationally. We will consult with these organisations where conflicts of interest may arise or to define areas of specialism in order to avoid unnecessary duplication and waste of resources. See Appendix C for list of museums and organisations.

We do not routinely collect books or archives, expect where those items would enhance existing collection holdings or in the area of sculpture archives.

7.2 Lending & Borrowing

We use our loan in and loans out programme to achieve and fulfil our vision and enhance our profile as an accessible, socially inclusive and learning organisation. In principle we are not against long term loans into the organisation but they need to adhere to all our principles for acquisition of items. Inward loans will be for fixed periods only, a maximum of five years with an annual update to the lender on condition. For loans out we will ensure that any borrower can meet our terms and conditions to protect our collections.

7.3 Rationalising

We exercise a presumption against disposal but there are some circumstances where disposal and rationalisation is a key tool in managing the collections. We will carry out disposals openly and transparently, confirming that LM&G is legally free to dispose of an item and taking into account agreements made with donors and funding bodies. Any disposals will be for curatorial reasons with the preferred methods of disposal being gift to another institution or organisation. We will not undertake disposal motivated principally by financial reasons.

In the event of removal of items from the collections through sale any funds acquired through a sale will be invested into the collections acquisitions purchase funds. We accept that after all other avenues have been exhausted that for some objects the only method of disposal is destruction.

7.3.1 Repatriation

We will take any request for repatriation on a case by case basis, within the legal position and taking into account all ethical implications and available guidance.

7.3.2 Spoliation

We will abide by the statement of principles as laid out within Spoliation of Works of Art during the Nazi, Holocaust and World War II period issued for non-national museums in 1999 by the Museums and Galleries Commission.

8. Policy review

This policy will be published and reviewed every five years. We will notify other museums and organisations including Arts Council England to any changes to the policy and the implications of any such changes for the future of existing collections. This document will be made available on our website.

Appendix A: Collections descriptions

1. Archaeology

There are approximately 20,000 individual artefacts in the Leeds archaeological collections, including ancient Egyptian, Greek and Roman antiquities as well as native British, European and foreign archaeological material.

The historic core of the collections is composed of objects collected by the Leeds Philosophical and Literary Society between the early 19th century and 1921, when the collections were transferred to the care of Leeds City Council. These include high quality objects such as sculpture from Greece and the Greek islands and the mummy of the ancient Egyptian priest, Nesyamun. The archaeological collection not only covers many thousands of years of history and prehistory but also represents a wide range of cultures and civilisations around the world.

1.1 Overseas Archaeology

2. Decorative Arts

The Designated collections of decorative arts comprise furniture, ceramics, metalwork, jewellery, flat textiles, wallpapers and objet d’art. Historically, they derive mainly from the collections of the Leeds City Art Galleries before their amalgamation with the City Museums in 1995, though there is an overlap in some areas with the LM&G’s social history collection.

The bulk of the material is historical, having been collected from the 1890’s onwards and is displayed within the context of the two country house museums, Temple Newsam and Lotherton. A second strand to the collection was developed from the late 1970’s onwards when a collection of modern British craft was acquired with the help of the Lotherton Endowment Fund. This is numerically small but of very high quality. It is mostly held at Lotherton with some ceramics at Leeds City Art Gallery.

3. Dress and Textiles

The department of dress and textiles was established in 2008 through the amalgamation of material from the nationally and internationally significant Designated Decorative Arts and Industrial History collections along with related material in the Social History collections. By bringing together the different collection areas under ‘Dress and Textiles’ it has created a significant collection detailing the history of what people have worn in the past, the textiles they have used for their clothing, furnishing and decorating their homes.

4. Fine Arts

Our Designated fine art collections have principal strengths in the areas of 18th and early 19th century English watercolours, 20th century British Art, particularly the period 1910 to 1950, and a modern sculpture collection more extensive than any other regional gallery in the UK. There are also significant holdings of late 19th century pictures, particularly strong in the area of Victorian narrative painting, and some high quality French paintings, as well as notable examples of contemporary artists’ moving image works from the last decade of the 20th century.

The collections are kept and primarily displayed across three sites, with overall approximately 1300 oil paintings, about 3,000 English watercolours, and 2,000 prints and about 1000 sculptures. The primary elements mentioned above at the city-centre located Leeds Art Gallery, as well as notable collections of ‘Old Master’ and British painting dating from before 1840 at Temple Newsam, while the Gascoigne family paintings and some British Impressionists are shown in the settings of the Edwardian house, Lotherton. In both these latter venues the fine art collections are integral to historic country house displays, and, taken overall, with the Art Gallery which is best described as a gallery of modern and contemporary art, the collections offer visitors, and researchers, a wide range of engagement through different display styles and strategies.

5. Industrial History

The Designated industrial collections represent the industries of Leeds through the companies, products and personalities involved. The collections also aim to reflect the working life of Leeds people through their jobs and working environments.

19th century Leeds was sometimes described as the “City of 100 Trades” and the collections reflect the diversity of different industries which flourished in the area.

The most significant collecting areas are:

  • Textile machinery
  • The Leeds printing industry
  • Engineering, including locomotive and railway collections of international significance

We hold material from notable companies and manufacturers such as John Fowler & Co., Vickers PLC, A. Kershaw & Sons, Benjamin Gott, Burtons, Kirkstall Forge and the Hunslet Engine Co. and a wealth of other firms.

The collections comprise tools, machinery, industrial products, archive ephemera, photographs and other personal records, but do not include substantial company archives.

6. Leeds Social and Community History

The Leeds social history collections started with an emphasis on “bygones” and folk life in the 1920s. Reconstructed street displays at Abbey House were added in the 1950s. Traditional strengths have been in the areas of childhood (toys and games), retailing history, domestic life, musical instruments, slot machines and automata and printed ephemera. This has resulted in a rich and wide-ranging collection of social history material (over 100,000 items).

Significant specific collections include:

  • The Ernestine Henry Collection of material relating to chimney sweeps
  • The Waddington archive (games and puzzles)
  • Burmantofts and Leeds pottery
  • The Leonora Cohen suffragette archive

The emphasis for recent collecting has been material with a strong local provenance relating to Leeds history and manufacture or association with Leeds people, through partnership with community organisations, from the post-medieval period to the present day.

Recent contemporary collecting projects have included work with over twenty different communities including Leeds Irish, Polish, Afro-Caribbean, Sikh, Muslim and environmental groups like Leeds in Bloom, Groundwork and BTCV. Each time we have pursued themes which have included: Steps in Time (Dance), Faith in the City, a Greener City and Food for Thought, Leeds Music Festival.

7. Lotherton

Lotherton is an historic house, mainly of the late Victorian and Edwardian periods. It was formerly the home of the Gascoigne family who gave it to the City of Leeds in 1968. It came into public ownership fully furnished with the family collection of paintings, sculpture, silver, jewellery, furniture and ceramics. These comprise the Gascoigne Gift which comprises something over 900 items, including objects which the family had already given to the City when the main gift was made. The gifts continued up to the bequest of Lady Gascoigne in 1979, she being the last member of the family to live in the house.

Lotherton was established as a museum of art from 1800 to the present day, the theory being that it would tell the story of the decorative arts in Britain from 1800 to the present day while Temple Newsam told the same story from 1500-1800.

Further development of the collections was made possible by the Lotherton Endowment Fund, which was given by the family for the enhancement of the collections. Space was created in the building to display costume and Oriental art, particularly the Sanderson collection of historic costume and the Savery collection of Oriental ceramics. Family items seen as not being of museum quality were sold or returned to the family to make way for new acquisitions which now included modern and contemporary British craft and fashion, complementing the modern fine art at Leeds Art Gallery and the historic Sanderson items. The City already owned a few pieces of modern ceramic; to these more were added, together with furniture, metalwork, jewellery and flat textiles.

By this process the collections multiplied threefold to more than 2,700 items’. A fifth strand to Lotherton’s collecting became possible from 1994 onwards with the loan of 78 items from the Cooper collection of Victoriana and Edwardiana, particularly high-art furniture most of which is shown at Lotherton. In recent years, new emphasis has been given to the social history of the house, it has meant a new determination to acquire items with a Gascoigne family provenance, this being taken to include the families with whom they intermarried.

8. Militaria

Some extremely interesting items mainly European firearms, armour, swords and bayonets dating from circa 1450 to 1945. The firearms are a mixture of ‘live’ and antique weapons.

9. Natural History

The natural science collection comprises around 800,000 specimens, and is hugely diverse in terms of subject area, specimen type, and taxonomic range. It is Designated as being of national and international significance.

The geology collection includes a wide range of fossils, minerals, rocks and meteorites, telling the story of our planet’s history. Yorkshire’s geology is very well represented, and the mineralogy collection is a particular strength comprising a range of British and largely European specimens including some significant rarities and a modest collection of cut and polished gemstones. There are a number of type and figured specimens in the fossil collection and some rare assemblages of excavated cave material including Raygill fissure and Victoria Cave. Highlights of the palaeontology collection include a Giant Deer (formerly Irish elk) skeleton, ichthyosaur skeletons, and the Armley Hippo.

The zoology collection includes shells, skeletal material, microscope slides, taxidermy, skins, eggs and spirit specimens. This material represents a vast range of biodiversity including vertebrates, arthropods and molluscs.

The conchology collection (shells) is a particular strength with massive research value, as well as being a valuable resource for learning and display. We hold a range of type and figured material, such as specimens collected by Sylvanus Hanley and material described by Terry Crowley.

The taxidermy collection, including historic as well as recent specimens, is very popular with visitors of all ages, and is an inspiration for artists and scientists alike. We hold taxidermied specimens of endangered species including snow leopard, kakapo, and giant panda, and extinct species such as thylacine, huia, passenger pigeon and hyacinth macaw. These are hugely important for education, display and research purposes. Sadly, museums such as ours are now the only place where many of these species can be seen or researched. Highlights of our osteology collection include five skulls of the extinct thylacine, and skeletal material from extinct birds such as dodo, great auk, and moa. We hold a range of entomology material covering all insect orders, including insects collected in Yorkshire and around the world.

We hold one of the world’s best collections of fig wasps, collected and recently donated by Dr Stephen Compton. We have a strong collection of butterflies and moths collected both locally and abroad, including specimens of extinct and endangered species. Our botany collection includes thousands of mounted plant specimens and seeds, as well as dried fungus, mosses and lichen. The flora of Leeds and Yorkshire are well represented, and has recently been made more accessible to the public and researchers through the Museum to Meadow Effective Collections initiative.

From mysterious seeds to the oldest rocks, tiny fleas to huge mammoth tusks, or aardvarks to zebras, our collections are a valuable resource for anyone wishing to find out more about the world around them.

10. Numismatics

The 20,000+ coins, tokens, medals and other items in the numismatic collections include ancient coins, modern coins and paper money, as well as medals, medallions and associated material. The collection also includes local historical material and large numbers of modern European coins.

11. Temple Newsam

Temple Newsam has become celebrated for the fine collections of decorative arts, especially furniture, silver, ceramics, textiles and wallpapers, which have been built up since 1922 when the estate was bought from the Hon Edward Wood (later Earl Halifax) by the City of Leeds and developed as a country house museum. In 1922 almost all the contents of the house were sold or removed by the family, but from the 1930’s onwards strenuous efforts were made to refurnish the house, which today the basis of the collection consists of material from the families which lived there, particularly the paintings and furniture and forms what now makes up one of the finest publicly owned collections of English decorative art outside London.

There are many fine paintings that have hung in the house ever since they were painted and their future here has been secured in a number of ways. In 1948 the gift by Lord Halifax included the Italian pictures bought by the 4th Viscount in Venice in 1705 and the family portraits commissioned from the fashionable French portraitist Philip Mercier in the 1740’s. The Reynolds portrait of Lady Hertford, which she probably brought to the house when she took up residence here c 1808, was bought back for Temple Newsam by the National Art Collections Fund in 1952. Several more family portraits have returned to the house over the years. Old master paintings are a feature of the house the walls having in the past been adorned with Rubens, Titian and Claude Lorraine notable works we have are G B Pellegrini’s large Hector and Andromache, the horse portraits of Aleppo and Mother Neasham and Henry Morland’s painting, The Fair Nun Unmasked.

The furnishings tell a similar story. The furniture supplied for the Gallery by James Pascall in 1745 was by far the most important made for Temple Newsam in the 18th century and efforts to gather it back have been largely successful. Otherwise the house has been refurnished with objects of the highest quality, some made for Temple Newsam, other for other British country houses, often by the finest craftsmen of their day. So comprehensive is the collection now, that stylistic developments in England from the 16th to the 19th centuries can be studied in depth.

Of particular significance in the masterpiece of early neo-classicism in the library writing table made for Harewood House by Thomas Chippendale around 1771. Documented examples of Chippendale furniture, lent by the Chippendale Society, make Temple Newsam an essential place of pilgrimage for all those interested in the celebrated cabinet-maker’s work. There are miscellaneous items of clothing worn and objects used by family members and textiles relating to the furnishing of Temple Newsam. Archives and photographs relating to the archaeology and history of the house and family are also kept.

12. World Cultures

Leeds has over 12,000 items in its World Cultures collections, making it the largest centre for this collection focus in Yorkshire. Asia is best represented, particularly China and India, then Africa, followed by the Americas, Oceania and lastly Europe outside the UK. Star items include Chinese dragon robes, Japanese armour, a full-size Indian door and cart, Javanese shadow puppets, Tibetan skull cups, African masks and sculpture, a Marquesan club, early Woodlands moccasins, and Moche and Nazca pottery from Peru. There is a large handling collection of Plains American material bequeathed by friends of a local enthusiast and a good selection of masks, puppets and musical instruments world-wide.

During the last 60 years the collection has been enhanced with substantial loans from the University of Leeds and Rotherham, and the ‘rescue’ of the world collections from other English local authorities, with major transfers from Worthing and Hampshire. Now our focus has re-centred on representing the world links of residents of Leeds and Yorkshire, including the links that newer communities have with their countries of origin through our community history programme. The World collections are seen as important in forging cross-cultural links across a whole range of disciplines through such elements as music and masquerade, ceramics, costume and textiles and figure sculpture. There are many overlaps with Decorative Arts, Archaeology and the Social History collections.

13. Agricultural History

This collection is managed by the Parks Department of Leeds City Council, and therefore not part of the Leeds Museums & Galleries Collections. It is worth mentioning here as the collection is located at Home Farm, Temple Newsam and is an area of collections that LM&G does not hold or collect.

The collection is predominantly based around agriculture, horticulture and estate management, but also includes domestic items associated with the working lives of the estate staff and their families. There is a reasonably large collection of horse-drawn transport, including private drive vehicles.

The date ranges from 1694 to 1968, from the building of the great barn to the end of the dairying operation, with few objects pre-dating the late 19th century.

Most of the objects have been collected from the Yorkshire area with a few from other northern counties.

Appendix B: Collection Development Vision

1. Archaeology

The archaeology collections enable us to engage and excite people about their local and national heritage, as well as to explore ancient civilisations across the world. Our main aim over the next five years is to continue to develop the most varied and comprehensive collection of archaeological objects and archives representing the lives of past peoples in the Leeds area. The core of future collecting will therefore continue to be archaeological material from within Leeds Metropolitan District, although not restricted to this we will also aim to collect objects of regional and national importance if deemed appropriate.

We are particularly keen to acquire local and regional prehistoric pottery, Iron Age and Roman finds, as well as medieval finds representing the lay community. We will pay particular attention to collecting organic materials; although they have implications in terms of conservation, they open up important areas such as diet, land management, economy, and crafts that can only be partly explored with traditional lithic based collections.

We should continue to collect objects through our partnership with the Portable Antiquities Scheme, particularly local items of Treasure. An exciting recent example of a Treasure acquisition is the West Yorkshire Hoard, arguably the most important Anglo-Saxon objects in the Leeds collection. We will continue to be a repository for archaeological archives from excavations in the Leeds area. We work to the guidelines devised by AAF and the recently published Archaeological Archive Deposition Policy for Museums in Yorkshire and the Humber. We are keen to work with archaeological units to ensure the quality of the material and associated data is exemplary, we all benefit from early conversations about excavations.

Although constrained for ethical reasons (in accordance with guidelines governing cultural property from foreign countries), we are open to acquiring international archaeological material where ethically appropriate, and where it would complement the service’s existing collections. This should be acquired especially – but by no means exclusively – if a link with Leeds can be demonstrated.

As well as acquiring objects, we will continually work to evaluate and rationalise our existing holdings. This is most likely to involve transferring items to more appropriate institutions, and rationalising archive material with the relevant archaeological units. We will seek to enhance our exhibitions with major loans from other institutions, particularly working in partnership with the British Museum to research and exhibit the Lanuvium collection.

We will also be positive towards lending archaeological material to other museums. We will continue to evaluate, document and research our collections with partners, researchers, students and volunteers, and strive to make them more accessible to a wider audience.

2. Decorative Arts

The strength of the collection is British Decorative Arts of the early modern period onwards’. The aim for the development of the collection over the next five years is to consider acquisitions and loans which augment existing collections and help to increase the understanding of Temple Newsam and Lotherton both in terms of their interiors, material culture and social history. We seek to complement and enhance the existing Designated Collections of fine and decorative art up to c1840 and contemporary collecting with consideration of the following criteria.

Future collecting should build on the existing strengths of the collection and seek to source works by significant artists who are not already represented in it. Reference should be made to the following criteria and acquisitions should meet as many of them as possible:

  • Objects should be an object of beauty or with wider aesthetic or art historical significance.
  • They should contribute to the wider understanding and survey of the decorative arts represented in the collections.
  • They should be dateable and ideally have a significant history or provenance.
  • They should seek to make visual and material connections not only across the fine and decorative art collections but across all areas represented by LM&G.
  • Objects may seek to illustrate a significant development of a specific technique or increase the understanding of the method of construction of a particular class of collected objects.
  • Ideally objects should throw light on other objects in the collections. They should also assist the understanding of the social and cultural history of both Temple Newsam and Lotherton and country houses in general. Objects should reflect the tastes of the periods and augment the interior decoration presented in both houses. Particular priority should be given to objects with direct connections to our houses.
  • We aim to acquire any object or parts of objects which complete an object already in the collections. Repatriation of objects to Temple Newsam and Lotherton is an essential aspect of the development of the collections. The repatriation of objects should ideally aim to adhere to other collecting criteria.

Acquisitions of Oriental art may be considered if they meet the above criteria.

3. Dress and Textiles

The focus for developing the collection will be dress, textiles and related material which have a strong story to tell through provenance or the history of design. We will continue to build a collection that represents the wider history of dress and textiles and excellence in design. But at the same time take into consideration that the clothing and textile industry is a vast, fast moving global market. We will acquire objects through projects including upcoming exhibitions and initiatives like the ongoing project to work with local young adults to select an outfit bought from Leeds high street. We will also build on the unique regional strengths of the collection through the acquisition of items with a connection to Leeds and the Yorkshire region.

The acquisition of oral histories will play an increasingly important role to bring out the stories behind the objects in the collection. The majority of oral histories will be collected through specific projects such as the current collaborative PhD, with Leeds University, researching the Leeds tailoring industries. One of the aims of this project is to collect stories from those involved in this industry before they are lost forever.

Work will be ongoing to improve our knowledge and access to collections and to rationalise the collection where the need arises. We will continue to work on projects assisted by our volunteer and intern programme to greatly improve the storage and documentation of the collections. To improve our knowledge of the collection we will continue to work with academic institutions and other specialists in the field of the history of dress and textiles.

4. Fine Arts

Across all categories, we seek to acquire works which significantly contribute to our understanding of art made in Britain, but also where it could be deemed to be of national significance, to represent artists who have an association with Leeds.

Our overall priorities are to represent the practice of art and sculpture in Britain since c.1875, with an emphasis on the art practice of our own times. We recognise where our collections are particularly strong: such as British surrealism, British constructivism, English watercolour or 20th century British sculpture, and it is our aim to build these areas in depth by adding complementary material. Similarly, where an artist is represented in only one medium we will seek out works in others – for example adding drawings to sculpture holdings and vice versa. We are keen also to represent practitioners and practices which are not yet represented in depth or are not well served by the other national collections.

The following are areas of particular focus:

5. Leeds Industrial History

The aim over the next five years is to get as much of the collection accessible and working as possible, rather than adding significantly to our holdings. This will include improvements in storage and documentation of the stored collections and a programme of conservation and cleaning of objects for display. The collection also needs further research and evaluation to assess the importance and relevance of the stored collections to the Leeds industrial story. Where appropriate the museum will work in partnership with other organisations and volunteer groups to achieve this.

Priority areas include:

  • Getting the looms, wheel and finishing machines operating
  • Restoration of significant locomotives
  • Mining displays
  • Textiles
  • Optics
  • Improving the storage of engineering plans and drawings

We will continue to collect Leeds-related industrial material to reflect the “City of 1000 Trades” including building up contemporary collections to reflect modern industry and manufacturing in the area in partnership with Leeds firms.

6. Leeds Social and Community History

The aim over the next three to five years is to increase the relevance of the collection to the history and culture of Leeds and to improve the physical condition and public access to material held in store through a programme of improved storage, conservation and documentation. We will continue to collect material with a strong local provenance relating to Leeds history and manufacture or association with Leeds people, communities and organisations as well as material that reflects the culture and heritage of the different communities within Leeds.

The community history collection will reflect the culture of the different communities within Leeds and will be built through active and interactive engagement and a programme of displays, installations, events, outreach and exhibitions, with a specific focus on film, oral histories and digi-stories.

Our aim is to work with a range of community groups, local authority and voluntary sector organisations and individuals to record their stories and memories and collect relevant objects/ephemera. We will respond to national and local community agendas (such as Health and Wellbeing, Community Cohesion and a City For All Ages), national and local partnerships, and our wider museum strategy and community led themes and initiatives. We will be open to respond and react to local community groups requests through a consultation process.

Priority areas for evaluation and possible rationalisation include:

  • Medical and pharmaceutical collections
  • Toys and Games
  • Non-Leeds ephemera

7. Lotherton

The development of the collections at Lotherton will focus on two main areas: The Gascoigne family and life in the house and British decorative art post -1800, concentrating on the existing strengths of the collection. The emphasis is on upgrading rather than numerical increase, so we will seek items with excellent provenance, with strong, documented links to the Gascoigne and related families and items of exceptional quality. Items might include archive and ephemera items relating to family history, Gascoigne family personalia, items previously associated with the house, or with the other Gascoigne residences: such as Parlington and Craignish and especially any items which pertain to the people associated with the estate and house. There are still people living locally who worked on the estate and we aim to gather their stories and testimony through oral history, film and documentary materials where possible.

The quantity of objects at Lotherton and the limited storage space in the house make it important not to acquire large objects unless it is clear that a specific place can be found to display them and they will not cause storage problems. Consideration will be given to the disposal of an equivalent item of inferior quality in such cases. Instead we will be evaluating those items in the existing collection which are neither documented nor provenanced and consideration will be given to disposing of these, provided that the character of the displays does not suffer as a result. Of course we will exercise sensitivity and imagination when disposing of things and carefully consider new uses for old objects.

8. Militaria

LM&G will be researching and evaluating its holdings of militaria and will not be seeking actively to acquire further items without compelling reason to do so.

9. Natural Sciences

The natural science collections are a shared resource that belong to everyone, and play an increasingly important part in teaching us more about the changing world around us, and how to protect it.

In order to remain a modern, useful, active and relevant collection, it is crucial that Leeds Museums & Galleries improves its holdings of scientifically important objects. This means continuing to obtain specimens with data. When it comes to our standing as a scientific and research organisation, an ambition to shift the collections from data-poor to data-rich specimens should be at the centre of our collections development policy.

In particular, as one of the major holders of molluscs in Britain, we are firmly committed to seeking out and acquiring important shell collections. Similarly, we are keen to continue building on our locally and regionally important material from Leeds and Yorkshire. A key part of the development of the natural science collections is rationalisation through both acquisition and disposal. This should be generally driven by moving the holdings from data- poor to data-rich material. However, this does not necessarily mean getting rid of data-poor specimens, as these can be very useful in a number of contexts.

Indeed, one benefit of increased research in to the collections is the discovery of hidden information about specimens thought to be data-poor. Additionally, as the modern legacy of two hundred years of exceptional natural science collecting, we must guard against the disposal of historical material without the most careful of consideration.

We are frequently asked to provide specimens of British wildlife, a popular topic with a range of users. The improvement of this aspect of the collections, through acquisition and rationalisation, would help increase natural science object use. We will commission further museum-quality taxidermy of local wildlife. This will enable museum users to learn and understand more about our local wildlife, and why it is essential to conserve it.

Another area of the collections in high demand, particularly from our education and exhibition teams, is the worldwide mammal and bird material. Mounts and skeletons are frequently used for a number of purposes, and conflicts of timing often occur across our large and busy service. We should therefore be dedicated to acquiring international bird and mammal mounts and skeletons as they have been proven to be in high demand. Again, these specimens will also form a crucial part in the role our collections play in educating and inspiring people to care for their environment and protect biodiversity.

An area which has not grown significantly in recent years is geology. Over the next five years it is our aim to develop the collection to make it more usable in our public programmes, to strengthen those areas where we are already strong English and European minerals and West Yorkshire fossils, and to improve two areas which are currently weaker but whose improvement will enhance our ability to engage people with geology more widely: gemstones and a systematic collection of Yorkshire rocks with particular reference to those which have been worked.

10. Numismatics

The numismatic collections are wide-ranging, interesting and highly significant, but underused. We aim to develop the numismatic collections to make them more comprehensive at a local, regional, national and international level, and to make them more accessible to our audiences and more usable for the future.

We aim to boost our local archaeological collections by acquiring finds of Iron Age, Roman, early and later medieval coins from the Leeds Metropolitan district, as well as later coinage, where possible. We will seek to enhance our overseas ancient coin collections where opportunities arise, particularly well-provenanced Roman and Byzantine coinage. We will continue to collect local commemorative medals and awards for bravery (military and civilian) and associated material, particularly focussing on the anniversary of First World War. We would also be keen to acquire 17th century trade tokens, especially those that have local or regional connections (this collection was badly damaged during the Second World War). We will actively collect objects associated with future changes to the currency and spending practices, as well as commemorative coins and medals linked with our existing collections or with regionally and nationally important events and people.

As well as acquiring objects, we will continually work to evaluate and rationalise our existing holdings, and actively lend material to other museums for research and exhibition. We will continue to work with volunteers to conserve and re- store parts of the collection, particularly the medals and banknotes. We will build on our existing partnership with the British Museum, and apply for funding to assist with the evaluation, documentation and research of our collections, and to make them more accessible to a wider audience. An exciting output to start developing in the next five years would be a temporary exhibition on the story of money, in partnership with the Yorkshire Museum.

11. Temple Newsam

There is a strong drive to repatriate items from the collections of Temple Newsam. These include items of decorative art such as furniture and silver which have historic connections to the house. We also have a wider aim to sustain the significance of Temple Newsam as a centre for the decorative arts up to 1800 the detail of which is described above in the Decorative Art section. Painting and portraits are a very important part of the house and we seek depictions of family members as well as pictures we know to have hung in the house in the past.

We are especially interested in collecting items which relate to the history of the house as a working house, so those items of a more ‘social history’ nature are of interest. So those items which may be personalia of the various inhabitants of the house, domestic items of quality and significance which may relate specifically to the household, or are fine examples of a type which would have been seen in the house.
Many members of the household have fame, and infamy, and items or works of art which document the characters of the house and times are a focus. For example, works on paper relating to family members in particular satires of Lady Hertford.

12. World Cultures

Our main aim is to affirm the world links of people from Leeds and Yorkshire. Leeds has diverse migrant communities and has a history of relationships spanning the world. It is our aim to develop our collection through the renewal and development of our links with those diaspora communities.

It is our aim to represent global world cultures of the present day through our collections, to recognise the importance and significance of the diaspora and migrant communities in the life of our city and to continue to explore historical anthropology through material artefacts.

There are three main agents by which we will acquire objects from communities within Leeds and countries across the world.

Our community engagement programme exists to reach Leeds’ diverse communities and gather stories, objects, audio and film, through working in partnership with community organisations, working to a series of themes; 2013 Love and Commitment, 2014 Love and War.

We have very good relationships with Leeds’ partner cities. To date we have joined visits to Hangzhou in China, Durban in South Africa and Lille in France and have used these as opportunities to make connections with cultural organisations, through whom we can select items for the collection. We will pursue these existing relationships but also develop those with other partner cities in countries such as Germany, USA, Czech Republic, Sri Lanka and Jamaica.

The development of new exhibitions and permanent displays in Leeds City Museum also provide opportunities to develop the collections. Looking forward we are on course to change the World View gallery from Africa to Asia. The Voices of Asia gallery will be developed through community engagement and revisiting our Asian holdings and will present significant opportunity for acquisition and loan.

Continued research and evaluation of the world culture collections will yield better knowledge of our strengths and weaknesses and we will be working to improve our holdings through acquisition and judicious disposal of items which are no longer relevant or are in irreparable condition.

13. Agricultural History

We do not currently collect items relating to Agricultural History. Leeds City Council Parks and Countryside have holdings in Home Farm at Temple Newsam but are not engaged in developing those collections at the present time.

Appendix C: Museums and Organisations

LM&G will take account of the collecting policies of other museums and other organisations collecting in the same or related areas or subject fields. It will consult with these organisations where conflicts of interest may arise or to define areas of specialisms, in order to avoid unnecessary duplication and waste of resources.

Reference is made to local, regional and national museums including:

  • Large museum services based in Yorkshire: particularly Bradford, York, Sheffield and Hull
  • Local authority, university, independent and national museums and galleries within Yorkshire
  • Specialist collection related institutions e.g. Gallery of Costume, Manchester City Art Galleries

Alphabetical listing of organisations we routinely consult (list not exhaustive)

  • Bradford Museum Service
  • Calderdale Museum Service
  • Harewood House Trust
  • The Hepworth Gallery
  • Horsforth Museum
  • Ilkley Museum
  • Kirklees Museum Service
  • Otley Museum
  • Middleton Railway Museum
  • National Coal Mining Museum
  • National Media Museum
  • National Railway Museum
  • National Trust
  • Royal Armouries
  • Tate
  • Thackray Medical Museum
  • Scarborough Museums
  • Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery, University of Leeds
  • Victoria and Albert Museum
  • Wakefield Museum Service
  • York Museums Trust
  • Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Appendix D: Supporting documents (Laws, Guidance)

LM&G will adhere to all national and international statutes of law, ethical codes, codes of practice, guidance documents, Leeds City Council Policies and Procedures including but not exclusively the following:

  • UNESCO Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict (Hague Convention) First Protocol 1954 and Second Protocol 1999
  • UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property, 1970 (ratified by the UK 2002)
  • UNESCO Convention for the Protection of World Cultural and Natural Heritage, 1972
  • CITES Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, 1973
  • UNIFROIT Convention of Stolen and Illegally Exported Cultural Objects 1995
  • UNESCO Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage, 2001
  • UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, 2003
  • Theft Act 1968
  • Health and Safety at Work Act 1974
  • Treasure Act 1996 and Code of Practice
  • Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988
  • Copyright and Related Rights Regulations 1996
  • Human Rights Act 1998
  • Data Protection Act 1998
  • Dealing in Cultural Objects (Offences) Act 2003
  • The Human Tissue Act, 2004
  • British Standards Institute, BS 5454: 2000 Guide to the Storage and Exhibition of Archival Material
  • British Standards Institute, PAS 197:2009
  • Department of Culture, Media and Sport Combating Illicit Trade: Due diligence guidelines for museums, libraries and archives when acquiring cultural material 2005
  • International Council for Museums (ICOM) Code of Ethics for Museums 2006
  • Museums Association Code of Ethics for Museums 2007
  • Department of Culture, Media and Sport Guidance on the Care of Humans Remains in Museums, 2005
  • Museums Association Guidelines for Ethical Disposal
  • Museums Association MA Disposals Toolkit, 2008
  • Arts Council England. Accreditation Scheme for Museums and Galleries in the United Kingdom, December 2011
  • Museums and Galleries Commission Spoliation of Works of Art during the Nazi, Holocaust and World War II period issued for non-national museums in 1999
  • Leeds City Council Scheme of Delegation 2018
  • Leeds Museums & Galleries Collections Access Policy 2018
  • Leeds Museums & Galleries Collections Information Policy 2018
  • Leeds Museums & Galleries Collections Care and Conservation Policy 2018
  • Leeds Museums & Galleries Human Remains Policy 2018
  • Leeds Museums & Galleries Intellectual Property Rights Policy 2018