Museum Freecycle: a treasure trove for museums

The Museum Freecycle project continues to grow and now has over 450 members from across the UK taking part in the scheme. Created in June 2014, Museum Freecycle helps museums to dispose of unwanted items such as exhibition furniture, display cases and office equipment through reuse by advertising items on its Freecycle based website.

Since it began, the scheme has helped to forge hundreds of mutually beneficial relationships across the whole UK museum sector and has prevented hundreds of museum items from reaching landfill. A Museum Freecycle Twitter account and Pinterest page have also been added to promote the scheme and to ensure that the reduce, reuse, recycle message can now reach even more museums.

The success of the initiative is thanks in part to the determination and vision of its founder – Caroline Keppel-Palmer. Caroline was motivated to start Museum Freecycle when she was Managing Director for the architecture and design studio, Urban Salon. The company worked with many museums designing temporary exhibitions and Caroline noticed that much of the display kit from these exhibitions was ending up in the skip, even though most of it was perfectly reusable.

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Since it began, the scheme has helped to forge hundreds of mutually beneficial relationships across the whole UK museum sector

“I am keen to see as many UK museums as possible join and benefit from Museum Freecycle, so we can reduce waste to an absolute minimum and help as many museums as possible get access to ‘new’ free equipment,” said Caroline Keppel – Palmer, the Founder of Museum Freecycle and the new Museum Bookstore. “The more members we have, the better the site will work for everyone. I would love to see other countries follow suit with their own national Museum Freecycle too.”

Museum Freecycle is a free and easy way for museums to dispose of unwanted items sustainably. It also provides museums with a source of free exhibition furniture and museum equipment; helping them to continue to develop and upgrade their visitor experiences in spite of financial constraints and ever-tighter budgets. To sign up, museums need to create a free Freecycle account and then apply to join the Museum Freecycle group.

It’s not always standard museum equipment and fittings that find new homes either: “We had three responses to our offer of the two Royalist and Parliamentarian mannequins – the phone rang within a minute of sending it out!” explained Lyn Palmer, Interpretation & Exhibitions Manager for Maidstone Borough Council. “So they’re going to the Fenland Trust – a Parliamentarian stronghold of course. I hadn’t put anything on Museum Freecycle before but was really impressed with ease of use and the response we had.”

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You never know what you might find up for offer on Museum Freecycle!

Further information and joining details can be found here:

Museum Freecycle

Follow Museum Freecycle on Twitter @MuseumFreecycle

 

 

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