The Museums Association (MA) in the United Kingdom has launched its revised Code of Ethics, following an 18 month consultation during 2014-15, that led to approval of the changes at the MA’s annual general meeting in November 2015.
The revised code sets out three essential principles: public engagement and public benefit; stewardship of collections; and individual and institutional integrity.
This code supports museums, those who work in and with them and their governing bodies in recognising and resolving ethical issues and conflicts. It sets out the key ethical principles and the supporting actions that museums should take to ensure an ethical approach to their work.
The MA has acted as the guardian of UK museum ethics since the first Codes of Practice and Conduct were introduced in 1977. These were updated in 1987, 1991, 2002 and 2007.
The Code of Ethics for Museums is consistent with the ICOM Code of Ethics for Museums worldwide produced by the International Council of Museums (ICOM).
Although this code has been written primarily for the UK sector its approach can be applied to developing ethical standards for all museums.