50th AGM and seminar - Building bridges between collectors and museums
• Bookings for the seminar are now closed - meeting links will be sent on Monday •
We are delighted to bring you news of our Winter Seminar and AGM. The ongoing conversation regarding the forging of links between institutions and private collectors has inspired our topic ‘Building bridges between collectors and museums’.
Good relationships between collectors and museums are critical for us to curate ethical collections, not just for individual museums but also to the wider geoscience community. These relationships have not always been fully harmonious in the past, so our theme this year is to address current and potential issues through a series of talks and discussions, from both sides. While 'happy ending' tales of scientifically important specimens being offered to museums are our desired pathway, these are balanced by other stories of collections being hidden away by disgruntled collectors, discarded by disinterested families, or lost due to lack of knowledge.
We have already invited a few speakers from a variety of backgrounds but we welcome talks and ideas from all, including individual collectors as well as curators, collections staff and volunteers, and look to finish with an open discussion about how we can improve these relationships in the future.
Topics will include:
- Many important specimens are held in private collections. How can museums gain an understanding of the scope of these collections and the needs of collectors?
- How can museums gain the trust of collectors and start to find ways to work around the sometimes strict conditions imposed upon them?
- How do collectors feel that museums can improve the way that they deal with such donations?
- Lack of ‘proof of legal ownership’ or ‘documentation of permission to collect’ can be major sticking points for museums; however, such provenance was rarely required or given historically (or even more recently). How can we ensure that important historic specimens can be integrated into museum collections? Do we need a more flexible approach to the ‘ownership’ of geological specimens collected from casual sites that are not SSSI’s or other protected statuses?
- What can we learn from previous experiences?
- Can museums produce advice to help private collectors to document their collections and highlight or label specimens that might ideally end up in a museum in the future?
In order to have all ages, career stages, and both 'amateur' and professional communities represented, the committee felt it was particularly important for the costs of this seminar to be kept to a minimum. The aim was to hold a hybrid conference, but the costs were regrettably prohibitive. Therefore, we hope you'll understand the decision to hold this meeting online. However, just to reassure those of you who would prefer an in-person event, we have two exciting 'in real life' events in October and December this year, and numerous in-person, hybrid, and online events planned for our 50th Anniversary in 2024. Watch this space!
Talks will be 15 minutes, including time for questions. They can be pre-recorded if needed, but would ideally be given live to enable Q&A. There is also the possibility of giving a five minute 'lightning talk' if that interests you. If you would like to speak at the conference, or discuss an idea with us, please get in touch at
The GCG AGM will be held in the afternoon on the 28th November. All are welcome to attend; however, please note that only paid up GCG members can vote. The GCG committee currently has four vacancies; Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator, Communications Coordinator, Web Coordinator Assistant, and an open position as an Ordinary Member. The role descriptions can be found here. If you would like to join our merry band of volunteers, please get in touch.