Many of the museums MuseumDepotShop has worked with have said that between 10% and 15% of their collections can be deaccessioned. After a careful procedure, which follows strict regulations, museums can repurpose these objects by, for example, selling them to private individuals.

Customers can bring a piece of the museum into their homes and museums are presented with an interesting marketing proposition, because proud patrons will gladly talk about these objects and their backstories.

Items from the University Museum Utrecht

In the Netherlands, an increasing number of museums are working together with the company. After thorough research in Great Britain, MuseumDepotShop will also enter the British market. Art historian and BBC Four stalwart Andrew Graham-Dixon has been onboarded as the organisation’s British ambassador, following in the footsteps of Dutch counterpart Frits Sissing.

Further, the organisation has Letters of Intent with two museums, who are willing to repurpose objects through the MuseumDepotShop Foundation, with many other institutions also having shown interest in working with the firm after approval by the Museums Association (MA) Ethics Committee.

As it stands, after the completion of the full deaccession procedure set out in the Association’s Disposal Toolkit, museums are able to sell objects to the public via organisations such as the MuseumDepotShop Foundation.

The Temple of Salomo from the Bible Museum in Amsterdam

The specifics of the MA policy are detailed on its website: “We recognise that there are operators offering to help museums dispose of deaccessioned collections items by sale. We do not endorse any specific private organisation that enables sales of deaccessioned items, but note that sale can – in limited circumstances and provided that the full disposal toolkit process is followed – be consistent with the current guidance on ethical disposal.”

MuseumDepotShop hopes to be operational in the third quarter of 2021. With this in mind, the foundation will aim to speak with more museums about joining the movement in the coming weeks.

Building where MuseumDepotShop work and store the deaccessioned items

Any questions about the procedure of the Foundation can be send to [email protected], with virtual meetings set up to answer questions and to discuss possibilities fitting for the museum it concerns.

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