Protesters demonstrate against BP's sponsorship of the British Museum. The ethics of sponsorship is one of the new additions to the MA's Code of Ethics. (c) Kristian Buus

MA publishes draft Code of Ethics

Patrick Steel, 13.07.2015
Draft is open to consultation until 7 August
The Museums Association (MA) has published a draft of its revised Code of Ethics.

The draft is the first full revision of the Code of Ethics since 2001.

It sees the introduction of three key new principles to underpin the code – access and public engagement, stewardship, and integrity – to help support ethical decision-making in museums on a day-to-day basis.

The publication follows extensive consultation online and via a series of public events across the UK this year.

Feedback on the draft, which is now open to consultation online, will lead to the production of a final version that MA members will be asked to vote on at the AGM in Birmingham at 2pm on 5 November.

Alistair Brown, the MA’s policy officer, says: “The MA has listened to the sector’s views on a new Code of Ethics.

“We held events on the review of the code at the MA conference last year and in each of the four nations this spring, as well as conducting a comprehensive online consultation over the course of last winter and holding discussions with sector bodies throughout the process.

“The result of this exercise is the draft code that we are publishing today.

“I believe that it is a good balance of the old and new. It seeks to retain and build upon the best of the previous code, while introducing a succinct new statement of guiding principles and questions to enable self-evaluation.

“It also updates ethical responsibilities in areas where the sector has told us they expected the code to do more – digital issues, loans, research, sponsorship and employment, to name a few.

“We are now seeking comments on this draft before producing a final version of the code to put before the MA’s AGM in November.”

Jane Arthur, a freelance consultant and member of the MA's Ethics Committe, said: “We've come a long way to get to the current draft of the code

“It builds on and takes forward the work of previous codes of ethics and has had input from across the sector to get to this stage.

“It's really important that the MA receives a wide response to this online consultation.”

To comment on the draft code, please take part in the MA’s online consultation. The deadline for responses is 7 August.

Links and downloads

Draft Code of Ethics (pdf)

Draft Code of Ethics online consultation