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Increase in collections

In accordance with the conceptual definition of each museum in its museum plan, one of the functions of a museum is to acquire cultural assets to ensure the necessary and correct increase in its collections.

All museums must have a document that includes the basic criteria that guide this increase, with a plan for the future. Some of the aspects that must be taken into consideration are the following:

  • Collection increase priorities.
  • Sections of the collection that need to be completed to make the museum's exhibit more coherent and, in relation to that, the types of cultural assets that should be acquired first.
  • Preferential forms of increasing collections (purchases, donations, deposits...) and the means for collecting them (field work, auctions, compensation for donors...).
  • Deontological criteria related to the acquisition of cultural assets.
  • Technical criteria that must guide the acceptance of donations and deposits.
  • Internal procedures to be followed for increasing collections.


Donation of Cultural Assets

Donations are an important way of increasing the national museums' collections.
Donation is an act of generosity by which a person disposes of something for the benefit of another person, who accepts it, free of charge.
The eighth additional provision of Law 16/1985, of 25 June, on the Spanish Historical Heritage, establishes that the "acceptance of donations, inheritance or bequests in favour of the State, even where another body of the administration is designated as the recipient, concerning any sort of assets that represent an expression or evidence of human creation and have cultural value, either of a historical, artistic or technical nature, is responsibility of the Ministry of Culture. The inheritance will be understood as having been accepted for the benefit of the inventory”.
The procedure for the acceptance of an asset donation to the State, for a national museum, will be as follows:

  • It must begin with an offer, in writing, by the owner, addressed to the museum where he/she wishes the asset to be safeguarded or, failing that, to the competent bodies dealing with culture of the responsible Ministry or of the Spanish Central State Administration.
  • The offer must be accompanied by a detailed description of the asset, identification of the owner and certification or explicit statement of its ownership.
  • The museum will inform of and send the offer and corresponding documentation to the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport for its resolution, together with a report by the museum's director, where appropriate. If the offer is not processed by a specific museum, before the resolution it is necessary to ask the proposed recipient museum or museums to draw up a report on the convenience of accepting the donation, in accordance with the Museum Plan.
  • According to the documentation presented, the Ministerial Order for the acceptance of the donation, or the rejection of the offer, will be processed. The decision will be conveyed to the museum or the appropriate Department, for its communication and transmission to the concerned party.


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