The Etches Collection Museum of Jurassic Marine Life and the Royal College of Music’s Museum and Library Collections have been selected by the nation’s Designation Scheme as worthy of recognition for their respective significance, quality and research value.

The Scheme has been operational since 1997 and aims to guard against the neglect or disposal of the nation’s cultural, scientific and historical treasures. Organisations selected for Designated status benefit from enhanced support and a profile boost – vital advantages during the sector’s current challenges.

The two new inductees “demonstrate the breadth of collections that exist in our museums, archives and libraries”, according to Dr Stella Butler, chair of the Designation Panel, who adds that she hopes heightened status “safeguards them for the enjoyment and enrichment of many generations to come”.

Why have they been selected?

Decisions regarding Designated status are made by an independent expert panel that is seeking outstanding collections able to deepen understanding of the world and what it means to be human.

The Etches Collection Museum of Jurassic Marine Life is described as an “extensive and diverse collection of marine fossils – including many specimens which are new to science”.

Steve Etches collected the items from the Upper Jurassic Kimmeridge Clay Formation of the Dorset Coast over a 35-year period.

The collection is said to fill a “major gap in knowledge of this important time period, making it a key global reference collection for fossil material of this age, attracting research interest from around the world”.

The Royal College of Music’s Museum and Library Collections documents the history of music making through over one million items, spanning more than five centuries.

The collection, which often appears in exhibitions, broadcasts and publications, includes the oldest guitar in the world, iconic portraits of famous musicians and manuscripts of culturally important pieces of music like Hubert Parry’s ‘Jerusalem’.

“The Museum and Library collections are the result of a long commitment by the College to build on our heritage in order to inform, promote and safeguard the future of music and this prestigious accolade will further boost our energy to share them as widely as possible,” states Professor Gabriele Rossi Rognoni, curator of the Royal College of Music Museum.

Discussing the recognition for the Dorset site, Steve Etches MBE, says “Designated status highlights the importance of the collection not only for academic and educational purposes but also will hopefully enable the legacy of The Etches Collection to be future proofed for the generations to come”.

Interested in applying for Designated status? More information is available here.

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