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Object on Icom's Red List for Syria. The revised code has provisions against illicitly traded cultural objects being accessioned by museums.

Draft Code of Ethics

The MA is reviewing its Code of Ethics
The Museums Association (MA) has published its revised draft Code of Ethics, which will be voted on at the MA's AGM in Birmingham in November.

The ethical questions that museums face today are growing in breadth and depth.

Alongside traditional concerns around acquisition, disposal, care and preservation of items, museums are answering new questions about their role in society in a globalised world, and about how they adapt to technological change and to the demands of new business models.

The current MA Code of Ethics has met the requirements of the past decade – but in a rapidly changing world, the need for updating the code has become more pressing.

The code was partially updated in 2007, when the guidance on disposal was reviewed, but has not been re-evaluated in its entirety since 2002.

An initial consultation into the review closed on 13 February. The MA has also carried out consultation events in all four nations and the MA's ethics committee has put together a draft version of the new code.

Following formal endorsement of the revised draft Code of Ethics at the MA Conference in Birmingham in 2015, the MA will ensure that the Code of Ethics is widely disseminated, and will provide training sessions across the UK.

Follow the consultation on Twitter at #MAethics

If you have any queries, please contact the MA's policy officer Alistair Brown:


July - August 2015
Online public consultation on draft code

September 2015
Final draft code

5 November 2015
Code of Ethics voted on at AGM at MA Annual Conference in Birmingham

November/December 2015
Public launch of code

MA Ethics Training events around UK