NORFOLK Museums Service
Object Handling

Designated Collections

All the collections of th Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery are Designated. That is, the art, archaeology, biology and geology collections are officially recognised as being of outstanding quality and are eligible for special funding from the Government to assist in their care and to enable them to be more easily accessed by the public.

The Designation Scheme

Designation identifies and celebrates pre-eminent collections of national and international importance in non-national Registered museums. It recognises that museums with Designated collections care for a significant part of England's heritage.

The Designation Scheme was established in 1997 by the Museums and Galleries Commission (MGC) in collaboration with the then Department of National Heritage, as a result of a commitment in the 1996 Government policy document Treasures in Trust. There are currently over 60 museums or museum services in the scheme.

The Designation Challenge Fund

Since 1999 the NMAS has benefited from additional funding for its collections.
In the first round a team of staff worked on improving the documentation of the collections and getting them online to the public. This has culminated in searchable databases through NOAH ( In the same round assistance was also given to help furnish the Norwich Castle Study Centre in the Shirehall and to help equip the Town Close Auditorium.
In the second round, the Designation Challenge Fund has enabled a new gallery to be created to tell the story behind the Anglo-Saxon and Viking collections.

NMAS has been successful in the third round of awards and is to spend £100,000 in 2004-2006 on further cataloguing work, concentrating on the geology, biology and archaeology collections. The results will be available on the web.