Connecting UK museums through the recycling of unwanted exhibition items is at the very heart of a free online service for the UK heritage sector called Museum Freecycle. The project was created in June 2014 and now has over 400 active members and UK museums, galleries and heritage sites are being encouraged to join to help make the Museum Freecycle community grow further.
All UK museums, heritage sites and galleries can sign up for free to use the service and Museum Freecycle has provided an easy and cost effective way for museums to dispose of unwanted items sustainably. Members can either advertise items that they no longer require or search for new items that they might not be able to afford.
One Museum Freecycle member that has benefited is Bloxham Village Museum in Oxfordshire. The museum gained a new purpose built donations box to replace their homemade donations jar and have since seen their visitor donations soar. “Museum Freecycle is a wonderful community. What are other people’s slightly used and no longer wanted items, are our source of supply of just what we want,” said Peter Barwell of Bloxham Museum
Museum Freecycle was founded by Caroline Keppel – Palmer when she was Managing Director for the architecture and design studio, Urban Salon. The company worked with many museums designing temporary exhibitions and noticed that much of the display kit from these exhibitions was ending up in the skip, even though most of it was perfectly reusable.
The project has also created strong bonds between museums in different parts of the country. “Museum Freecycle provides an interesting model for the museum sector linking museums and enabling swaps, gifting and sharing between those museums through a website. I am interested in exploring the potential for extending this ‘sharing economy’ model to other areas within the museum sector to see where else we can create value from underused assets,” said Caroline Keppel – Palmer.
Find out more about Museum Freecycle
Museum Freecycle: Museum Freecycle Website
Follow Museum Freecycle on Twitter: @MuseumFreecycle
Contact: Caroline Keppel – Palmer: firstname.lastname@example.org