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As with most responsible museums and collections, Greater Manchester Fire Service Museum operates within certain guidelines and procedures to ensure that what we do is in the best interests of the objects, our visitors and users. Our Access Policy and Acquisition and Disposal Policy are reproduced on these pages. Any person wishing to see the other policies (eg our Collections Care Policy) is advised to contact the Museum (see Contact Us for further information.

Greater Manchester Fire Service Museum

Access Policy

1. Our Commitment

1.1 Greater Manchester Fire Service Museum is fully committed to offering all sections of the community the widest possible access to our collections and resources.

1.2 The Museum’s Mission Statement (below) recognises that accessibility is fundamental to the existence and operation of the establishment :

“To explore, preserve and make accessible the history of fire, fire engineering and the fire and rescue services in the Greater Manchester region and, through our collections and resources, to further the education and promotion of fire safety in the community”

1.3 All Museum staff and volunteers are encouraged to present a friendly, welcoming approach when dealing with visitors and users.

1.4 We are committed to continually improving all aspects of our operation, including marketing, admission arrangements, visitor services, display, interpretation, events, correspondence, web services and outreach work, so as to encourage and maximise full access.


2. Definition of Access

2.1 All of our objects, archives and images will be regarded as being accessible under all reasonable circumstances, whether on display in the Museum or held in storage. In the case of stored items, this may mean “by prior arrangement.” (see also 7.1 below)

2.2 In making this commitment, the Museum interprets “access” in its widest possible sense, to include all sections of the community.


3. Specific Access Needs

3.1 More specifically, the Museum recognises that, for some groups of people, access to a Museum may be more difficult, or less familiar, than for others. This may include, for example, those with physical, sensory, cultural, social, financial, intellectual, psychological or emotional barriers to learning from - and enjoyment of – a museum.

3.2 Greater Manchester Fire Service Museum is therefore committed to removing all possible barriers or obstacles to full access in this context, by means of caring, welcoming staff, adequate circulation routes, clear interpretation and thoughtful visitor services.

3.3 Volunteer staff are at all times on hand to assist visitors with every need, including guiding, directing and assisting with interpretation.


4. Vulnerable Persons

4.1 The nature, location and subject material of the Museum makes it particularly attractive to children and young persons, also often to more senior citizens who wish to engage with the topic. In addition the Museum provides an education offer aimed at pupils and students of all ages, in particular primary school age children.

4.2 The Museum recognises that some of our visitors and users may be more vulnerable than others or have special needs. All staff having contact with visitors, either through our education service or general visitor contact, have undergone Enhanced Criminal Record Bureau checks.


5. Admission, Entry and Parking

5.1 The Museum is situated within the curtilage of a working fire station, but is provided with adequate signage to welcome and direct visitors to the Museum entrance. The provision of additional directional signage (“brown signs”) in the area around the Museum is in hand.

5.2 Off-street parking for all visitors is available immediately outside the Museum entrance, within the fire station yard, on most days. During major events, when normal visitor parking is not permitted, the Museum will nevertheless always facilitate parking for blue badge holders or other visitors expressing special need.

5.3 The main entrance is of adequate width for wheelchairs, buggies and motorised wheelchairs. In the event of additional width being required, the large appliance-bay doors immediately alongside can be readily opened.

5.4 In accordance with a culture of affording the widest possible access, there is currently no admission charge to the Museum. We will maintain this position as long as it remains possible.


6. Circulation

6.1 The Museum building is located at ground floor only with no steps.

6.2 Although the Museum building is not large, and contains many objects, adequate gangway and circulation space will be maintained to enable all visitors to enjoy our collections equally.


7. Visitor Services

7.1 The Museum has toilets (including disabled) and baby-changing facilities, interior and exterior seating (including garden area with ramped access) and refreshments.

7.2 The Museum endeavours to ensure continuity of access, by maintaining all its premises and visitor services in a clean and safe condition at all times.


8. Outreach

8.1 To further access to our collections, the Museum operates a Handling/Loan Box service for schools. A number of boxes are currently available, each comprising a selection of artefacts and images, some original, some facsimile. Loans are facilitated by prior arrangement.

8.2 The Handling/Loan Boxes are also used in the Museum to promote greater access and further interpretation of the collection by younger visitors.

8.3 To reach a greater audience, the Museum can undertake outreach work in schools, taking objects and other material directly to young persons.


9. Research Assistance

9.1 The Museum endeavours to provide assistance to researchers and students by making its object, archives and image collections (including items in storage) available by prior request.

9.2 At this time, the Museum does not have satisfactory reader facilities available, but every request for research assistance will be met as far as possible. Where it is not possible for a researcher to work in the Museum, staff will endeavour to assist with requests by means of letter, telephone or email.

9.3 The Museum’s Forward Plan includes the provision, as soon as possible, of a suitable facility for researchers visiting the Museum.


10. Restricted Material

10.1 Without prejudice to 2.1 and 9.1 above, the Museum reserves the right to impose restrictions on public access to archives or images it considers to be “sensitive,” in particular any images and reports relating to fires or other incidents which have been (or still are) the subject of fire service, police, HM Coroner’s or insurance investigations, and specifically any images depicting casualties or the interiors of private property. Access to such material will be at the discretion of the curators.


11. Review

11.1 The Access Policy will be reviewed every two years



Acquisition and Disposal Policy




This Document sets out the principles by which the Museum’s governing body, the Greater Manchester Fire Service Museum Trust, (“the Trust”) and its staff will ensure that objects held in its care are acquired or disposed of scrupulously and ethically. It underpins the Trust’s commitment to aspire to best practice and high standards in all aspects of collections management, and to comply with all applicable legal requirements.



1.1 The Museum’s Statement of Purpose is defined by our Mission Statement :

“To explore, preserve and make accessible the history of fire, fire engineering and the fire and rescue services in the Greater Manchester region and, through our collections and resources, to further the education and promotion of fire safety in the community”

and by our charitable objects, which are :

(1) To advance the education of the public in the history and development of the fire and rescue services in Greater Manchester and to preserve and restore, for the benefit of the public, artefacts and other associated items in connection with the fire and rescue services.

(2) To advance the education of the public in fire safety


2. EXISTING COLLECTIONS ( including the subjects or themes and
the periods of time and /or geographic areas to which the collections relate)

2.1 The Museum’s collections comprise objects, archival material and images relating (in the main) to the history of fire and rescue services, fire engineering, and associated incidents or events in the Greater Manchester region up to the present day. It includes fire appliances, equipment, uniforms and insignia, models, medals, still and moving images, sound material and other items connected to both public and private fire and rescue services, and to the fire engineering industry, in the region.


3. CRITERIA GOVERNING FUTURE ACQUISITION POLICY (including the subjects or themes, periods of time and/or geographic areas and any collections which will not be subject to further acquisition)

3.1 The Museum will endeavour to collect, so far as is practicable, only those objects or archives having a tangible connection or relationship with the fire and rescue services or fire engineering industry within the Greater Manchester region, up to and including the present day.

3.2 This may, however, include objects or archives which are representative of local practice, or which will assist in the interpretation of local history, also certain objects acquired by the Museum or previous owners in the form of official presentation or gift which it may be deemed relevant and pertinent to collect.

3.3 Objects or archives having no direct relevance to the region or declared subject matter will not be acquired.



4.1 The Museum recognises its responsibility, in acquiring additions to its collections, to ensure that care of collections, documentation arrangements and use of collections will meet the requirements of the Museums Accreditation Standard. It will take into account limitations on collecting imposed by such factors as staffing, storage, duplication and care of collection arrangements.


5.1 The Museum will take account of the collecting policies of other museums and other organisations collecting in the same or related areas or subject fields. It will consult with these organisations where conflicts of interest may arise or to define areas of specialism, in order to avoid unnecessary duplication and waste of resources, in particular, those museums and organisations affiliated to the Subject Specialist Network Fire Heritage Network UK



6.1 The Acquisition and Disposal Policy will be published and reviewed from time to time, at least once every five years. The date when the policy is next due for review is noted below.

6.2 Arts Council England for the region will be notified of any changes to the Acquisition and Disposal Policy, and the implications of any such changes for the future of existing collections.



7.1 Acquisitions outside the current stated policy will only be made in very exceptional circumstances, and then only after proper consideration by the governing body of the Museum itself, having regard to the interests of other museums.



8.1 The Museum will exercise due diligence and make every effort not to acquire, whether by purchase, gift, bequest or exchange, any object or specimen unless the governing body or responsible officer is satisfied that the museum can acquire a valid title to the item in question.

8.2. In particular, the Museum will not acquire any object or specimen unless it is satisfied that the object or specimen has not been acquired in, or exported from, its country of origin (or any intermediate country in which it may have been legally owned) in violation of that country’s laws. (For the purposes of this paragraph `country of origin’ includes the United Kingdom).

8.3 In accordance with the provisions of the UNESCO 1970 Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property, which the UK ratified with effect from 1st November 2002, and the Dealing in Cultural Objects (Offences) Act 2003, the museum will reject any items that have been illicitly traded. The governing body will be guided by the national guidance on the responsible acquisition of cultural property issued by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport in 2005.

8.4 The Museum will not acquire any biological or geological material.

8.5 The Museum will not acquire any archaeological material.

8.6 The Museum does not hold or intend to acquire any human remains.



9.1 The Museum will use the statement of principles ‘Spoliation of Works of Art during the Nazi, Holocaust and World War II period’, issued for non-national museums in 1999 by the Museums and Galleries Commission.



10.1 As the Museum holds archives, including photographs and printed ephemera, its governing body will be guided by the Code of Practice on Archives for Museums and Galleries in the United Kingdom (3rd ed., 2002).



11.1 Disposal preliminaries

(a) The governing body will ensure that the disposal process is carried out openly and with transparency.

(b) By definition, the Museum has a long-term purpose and holds collections in trust for society in relation to its stated objectives. The governing body therefore accepts the principle that sound curatorial reasons for disposal must be established before consideration is given to the disposal of any items in the museum’s collection.

(c) The Museum will confirm that it is legally free to dispose of an
item and agreements on disposal made with donors will be taken
into account.

(d) When disposal of a museum object is being considered, the museum will establish if it was acquired with the aid of an external funding organisation. In such cases, any conditions attached to the original grant will be followed. This may include repayment of the original grant and a proportion of the proceeds if the item is disposed of by sale.


11.2 Motivation for disposal and method of disposal

(e) When disposal is motivated by curatorial reasons the procedures outlined in paragraphs 11g-11o will be followed and the method of disposal may be by gift, sale or exchange.

(f) The Museum will not undertake disposal motivated principally by financial reasons


11.3 The disposal decision-making process

(g) Whether the disposal is motivated either by curatorial or financial reasons, the decision to dispose of material from the collections will be taken by the governing body only after full consideration of the reasons for disposal. Other factors including the public benefit, the implications for the Museum’s collections and collections held by museums and other organisations collecting the same material or in related fields will be considered. External expert advice will be obtained and the views of stakeholders such as donors, researchers, local and source communities and others served by the Museum will also be sought.


11.4 Responsibility for disposal decision-making

(h) A decision to dispose of a specimen or object, whether by gift, exchange, sale or destruction (in the case of an item too badly damaged or deteriorated to be of any use for the purposes of the collections or for reasons of health and safety), will be the responsibility of the governing body of the Museum acting on the advice of professional curatorial staff, if any, and not of the curator of the collection acting alone.


11.5 Use of proceeds of sale

(i) Any monies received by the Museum governing body from the disposal of items will be applied for the benefit of the collections. This normally means the purchase of further acquisitions. In exceptional cases, improvements relating to the care of collections in order to meet or exceed Accreditation requirements relating to the risk of damage to and deterioration of the collections may be justifiable. Any monies received in compensation for the damage, loss or destruction of items will be applied in the same way. Advice on those cases where the monies are intended to be used for the care of collections will be sought from ACE.

(j) The proceeds of a sale will be ring-fenced so it can be demonstrated that they are spent in a manner compatible with the requirements of the Accreditation standard.


11.6 Disposal by gift or sale

(k) Once a decision to dispose of material in the collection has been taken, priority will be given to retaining it within the public domain, unless it is to be destroyed. It will therefore be offered in the first instance, by gift or sale, directly to other Accredited Museums likely to be interested in its acquisition.

(l) If the material is not acquired by any Accredited Museums to which it was offered directly as a gift or for sale, then the museum community at large will be advised of the intention to dispose of the material, normally through an announcement in the Museums Association’s Museums Journal, and in other specialist journals where appropriate.

(m) The announcement relating to gift or sale will indicate the number and nature of specimens or objects involved, and the basis on which the material will be transferred to another institution. Preference will be given to expressions of interest from other Accredited Museums or those museums and organisations affiliated to Fire Heritage Network UK. A period of at least two months will be allowed for an interest in acquiring the material to be expressed. At the end of this period, if no expressions of interest have been received, the museum may consider disposing of the material to other interested individuals and organisations giving priority to organisations in the public domain.


11.7 Disposal by exchange

(n) The museum will not dispose of items by exchange.


11.8 Documenting disposal

(o) Full records will be kept of all decisions on disposals and the items involved and proper arrangements made for the preservation and/or transfer, as appropriate, of the documentation relating to the items concerned, including photographic records where practicable in accordance with SPECTRUM Procedure on deaccession and disposal.



12.1 This Policy will be due for review in 2015

Mission Statement

”To explore, preserve and make accessible the history of fire, fire engineering and the fire and rescue services in the Greater Manchester region and, through our collections and resources, to further the education and promotion of fire safety in the community.”

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