Object disposal

In order to ensure that our collections are properly managed and made accessible, we take an active approach to the disposal of objects which are no longer appropriate for the National Collection.

In order to ensure that our collections are properly managed and made accessible, we take an active approach to the disposal of objects which are no longer appropriate for the National Collection.

We can consider objects for disposal if they fall into any of the following categories:

  • The object is more suitable for another museum or gallery
  • The object does not fit into the Museum’s Collecting Policy
  • The object is a duplicate of another inventoried object in the collection
  • The object has deteriorated
  • The object is hazardous.

Recommendations for disposal have to be approved by a ‘Board of Survey’  held at the individual museum sites, then the Collections & Research Trustee Sub-committee, followed by the Science Museum Board of Trustees. In the case of railway items opinion is also sought from the SMG Railway Heritage Designation Advisory Board.

When objects are approved for disposal we will always aim to keep them in the public domain. Priority will be given to National and accredited museums. We will not gift items to private individuals. Where a more suitable home in the public domain has not been found objects may be offered for sale. In this instance the Museums Association will be contacted to provide guidance.

These objects have been fully approved for disposal and are currently available (pdf)

We endeavour to maintain the list of objects that are available for disposal. However we cannot guarantee that the list is fully updated at all times. Objects are advertised for a limited period so early applications are recommended. The closing dates for applications are given next to the objects in the list above.

If you would like more information or are interesting in acquiring an object from the list please email collections.information@sciencemuseum.ac.uk and include the following information:

The object number and description

  • A description of how you intend to use the object(s)
  • The organisation that you are representing
  • Full contact details.

Please note all registered interest will be considered so that the object will be given to the most suitable home. The chosen recipient of the object(s) will be asked to sign our transfer paperwork in order to transfer legal ownership. The transfer of ownership is completed at the point of collection of the object(s) and not when the paperwork is signed. The recipient of the object(s) is responsible for the arrangement and cost of collection of the object(s) from a site specified by the Science Museum Group.

Our procedures are guided by the Museums Association’s Code of Ethics and Disposal Toolkit