EU Collections Competencies Project

Testing a European Competency Framework for VET in Collections Management

Partners & Participants

Primary tabs

Natural History Museum, London (NHM)

The NHM is one of the world’s leading natural history museums holding c.77 million collection items (preserved plants, animals, fossils, minerals, frozen DNA and tissue) which have worldwide representation and support a broad range of geo- and biodiversity research projects, public engagement exhibitions and learning programs. The NHM employs internationally-recognised experts in management of natural history collections, with wide experience of hands-on collections management, collections assessment, and design/delivery of training courses/workshops. An Organisational Development team supports staff development and training and works closely with the collections teams.

NHM are the project coordinator and act as WP6 (dissemination) and WP7 (management) leader, and co-leader of WP4 (piloting) with RBINS.

Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences (RBINS)

Founded in 1846, the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences (RBINS) houses a diverse and exceptionally rich zoological collection, palaeoanthropological and mineralogical collections and prehistoric items involving about 37,000,000 specimens with around 100,000 primary types. In terms of volume of specimens stored and available for research, RBINS ranks among the world top ten collections. As a museum it welcomes over 300,000 visitors annually.

Its key mission includes fundamental research, scientific consulting, collection management, public dissemination and outreach. RBINS employs around 450 staff. Taxonomic expertise covers a wide range of invertebrates and vertebrates groups worldwide and a variety of ecosystems and geographic regions.

RBINS has significant experience of running European training and is leading the Distributed European School of Taxonomy (DEST).  RBINS is involved in collection training for the Federal Scientific Institutions. It successfully participated in numerous EU projects and is currently involved in several projects. RBINS is coordinator for the BE-TAF partners in the SYNTHESYS project. RBINS hosts the secretariat of the Consortium of European Taxonomic Facilities (CETAF).  RBINS serves as Belgium’s National Focal Point to the CBD and it also has strong links to the Belgian GBIF node through the Belgian Biodiversity Platform.

RBINS are leader of WP2 (training) and co-leader of WP4 (piloting) with NHM.

Collections Trust (CT)

Collections Trust is a not-for-profit enterprise that works with museums, archives, libraries and creative industries worldwide to promote cultural collections and their benefit to society.

It is responsible for EUR15m in EU-funded programmes, focussed on the Digital Agenda for Europe and cultural heritage management. Its networks include 23,000 cultural organisations from more than 40 countries.

The main elements of its work are: research, advocacy, standardisation, skills and professional development in the management and use of cultural collections. In this capacity, it is responsible for SPECTRUM, the international collections management standard currently in use in 18,000 organisations worldwide.

It has specific competence in the delivery of professional development to improve standards of collections management practice, with experience of formal certification in partnership with UK universities, Higher Education providers and academic funders.

CT leads WP3 (Credits and certification).

Museum für Naturkunde (MfN)

MfN is an internationally well-positioned integrated research museum of natural history, Founded in 1810 as part of the now Humboldt-University, it has been one of eight independent research institutions of the Leibniz Association since 2009. The collections of more than 30 million natural history specimens and samples constitute a research infrastructure of international significance.

MfN is an internationally-recognised player in the fields of biodiversity, evolutionary biology and planetary science, and has been identified as one of the few natural history museums exploring new and exciting ways to engage the public with its science. The curators and professors of MfN are regularly involved in academic teaching at the universities of Berlin and in advanced training for museum personnel.

MfN has knowledge and understanding of existing national competency frameworks and national context for training. It is ideally placed to roll out products of EUColComp in the country.

MfN leads WP1 (adaptation and consolidation).

Narodni Museum (NMP)

NMP is the largest museum and most distinguished leading public scientific institution in the Czech Republic with about 400,000 visitors each year. It systematically enriches its collections including areas of natural and historical sciences which it actively exhibits.

NMP consists of five professional institutions: Natural History Museum, Historical Museum, The Náprstek Museum of Asian, African and American Cultures, Czech Museum of Music and National Museum Library. 

At present the National Museum houses almost 20 million items from the area of natural history, history, archaeology, arts, music and librarianship. The NMP collections of almost 15 million, biological, palaeontological and geological specimens represent a diverse selection of specimens.

NMP leads WP5 (extension to other sectors).

Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle (MNHN)

MNHN is one of the world’s leading natural history museums holding c. 68 million collection items (preserved plants, animals, fossils, minerals, frozen DNA and tissue) which have worldwide representation and support a broad range of biodiversity research projects, public exhibitions and learning programmes. MNHN employs 1574 staff, 247 of whom are responsible for managing, preserving and making accessible the collections.

Training for collections staff is organised by the collection department in connection with INP (Institut national du Patromoine), national leader in conservation training.  MN HN has led the definition of job description in the national scheme for recruiting staff in organisations depending on research and education. It is ideally placed to roll out products of EUColComp in country.

MNHN is one of the institutions in which the competency framework will be trialled.

Stichting Naturalis Biodiversity Center (Naturalis)

Naturalis Biodiversity Center is the recent merger of the National Museum of Natural History Naturalis, the Zoological Museum Amsterdam and the National Herbarium of the Netherlands. Staff and collections (37 million objects) have been or will ne merged in Leiden in 2012 and 2013, covering botany, zoology, palaeontology and geology.

Naturalis has been involved in a series of EU projects and national programmes (Research School Biodiversity and the Plant Health Infrastructure). It is the focal point for the national species register, houses offices of CITES and the Dutch branch of the Invertebrate Survey.

Different from most other natural history museums, Naturalis has fully separated departments of Collections (with staff committed to collections management) and Research (with scientists committed to research).

Naturalis will take part in all aspects of EUColComp, and in particular will contribute to the adaptation of the competency framework to meet local needs in the Netherlands.

Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas/Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales (CSIC/MNCN)

CSIC is the largest national research institution in Spain. MNCN houses Spain’s largest natural history collection and comprises the most competitive research groups in Spain working on biodiversity systematics, biogeographic modelling, palaeobiology and conservation biology. It is a major Spanish natural history museum with knowledge and understanding of existing national competency frameworks and national context for training. MNCN is ideally placed to roll out products of EUColComp in Spain.

MNCN will take an active role in extending the products of EUColComp to other collection-holding institutions. It will also be involved in WP2 (training).

Museo di Storia Naturale dell’Universitá degli Studi di Firenze (NHMF)

NHMF is considered to be the first European scientific museum opened to the public. It was founded in 1775 at the wish of Peter Leopold of Lorraine, the Granduke of Tuscany, who ordered the reorganisation of the existing Medici collections. With its 8 million specimens it is reputed to be the most important naturalistic museum in Italy.

NHMF is arranged in seven sections that house specimens of extraordinary scientific and naturalistic value, and is internationally recognised as a research infrastructure in the fields of biodiversity, morphology and cultural heritage.

The curators of NHMF are involved in training for museum personnel. NHMF has developed knowledge and understanding of existing national competency frameworks and national context for training and there it is ideally placed to roll out products of EUColComp in the country.

NHMF will take an active role in extending the products of EUColComp to other collection-holding institutions. It will also be involved in WP2 (training).

Rathgen-Forschungslabor Staatliche Museen zu Berlin Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz (RRL)

RRL was founded in 1888 as the chemical laboratory of the Royal Museums in Berlin. It is a conservation science institute which deals with the characterisation and analysis of materials and the preservation of objects of cultural history. RRL serves the national museums in all scientific and technological investigations on their collections as well as carrying out long-term scientific research projects within the conservation of cultural heritage. Its expertise lie in preventative conservation, including monitoring of environmental conditions within museum collections.

RRL is an extremely valuable partner institution in the cultural heritage sector with rich international experience, good laboratory equipment and teaching potential.

RRL are heavily involved in WP1 (Adaptation and consolidation) and WP5 (Extension to other sectors)

Hochschule für Technik und Wirtschaft Berlin (HTW Berlin)

HTW Berlin offers a range of study programmes in five different departments spanning fields from engineering, computer science and economics to culture and design. Courses include both traditional applied sciences, such as mechanical engineering, automative engineering and business administration and innovative studies such as information technology/networked systems and renewab;e energy systems technology. There were 12,537 students in 2012, including 1648 international students, 272 professors and 260 other staff.

HTW Berlin provides advances bachelor and master studies in Museology and Conservation Science mainly aimed at museum science and restoration in the classic cultural sector of artwork and is therefore a valuable partner from outside the natural history sector and will contribute both to WP5 (Extension to other sectors) as well as providing teaching and training expertise to EUColComp.

Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith