The Museum Freecycle UK portal has launched following a Design Week article written by Urban Salon creative director Alex Mowat, in which he proposed a scheme to reuse exhibition elements and tackle waste.
Urban Salon says the group is the first industry-wide and national Freecycle group created.
Following his article’s publication earlier this month, Mowat was contacted by a number of museum representatives, as well as Deron Beal, executive director of online network Freecycle.
This led to the establishment of Museum Freecycle UK, which is being run by Urban Salon, with support from SHARE Museums East and the The Collections Trust.
The network connects museums that are discarding elements from their temporary exhibitions with those looking for new materials.
Current listings include lighting fittings from the Charles Dickens Museum in London and a full exhibition ensemble from another London institution.
Caroline Keppel-Palmer, managing director of Urban Salon, says, ‘We are delighted that the idea for a museum Freecycle has had such a positive response.
‘We will learn as we go. We look forward to working with the museum sector to evolve the network and to continue to help museums reuse materials.’
Nick Poole, chief executive of The Collections Trust, says, ‘The Museum Freecycle UK is an important and timely initiative which has the potential to meet a real need for the UK’s museums and galleries.’
Paula McKeown, of the Paisley Thread Museum in Renfrewshire, says, ‘Museum Freecycle UK would be really helpful to us as we are a very small museum run by a very small team of volunteers.
‘We don’t have a lot of funds to spend but we are currently trying to refresh all our displays so any display items that we can obtain via a Freecycle system are vital.’