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Collections Manager

About the role

This is an exciting time to join People’s History Museum (PHM) and lead the Collections Team.  You’ll develop and launch a new sustainable collecting policy and work with the Head of Collections & Engagement to shape plans for a future redevelopment of the main galleries.  You’ll oversee several live externally funded projects to improve cataloguing and digitisation which form vital building blocks to improving collections management and future engagement with the museum’s collection.

We are looking for a dedicated professional to lead the care and management of PHM’s collection.  The ideal candidate will understand current issues and best practice within collections management and curation, and will have strong IT skills to lead on the ongoing development of our digital collections management systems, including our collections management system, EMu, and our new digital asset management system, Axiell DAMS – Powered by Piction.

The Collections Manager is responsible for the management of two Collections Officers, currently working on a project funded by the John Ellerman Foundation to digitise and catalogue PHM’s collection, as well as a new Collections Assistant, funded by the Headley Foundation.

The successful applicant will work closely with the Engagement, Archive, Conservation, and Communications & Marketing Teams on current and upcoming projects, including future exhibition development, digitisation, and sharing our stories with our audiences.

The role would be ideal for someone with experience in collections management and curation, and with strong experience of working with collections management systems.  Direct experience with EMu would be an advantage.

PHM’s collection of over 60,000 objects showcases ideas worth fighting for, including democracy, gender equality, votes for all, co-operation, social justice, disabled people’s rights, and LGBTQI+ rights.  Our vision is of a fairer society where people’s voices and actions make a difference.  We are seeking an individual with a strong commitment to equality, diversity and social justice to care for and democratise this nationally recognised collection.

About People’s History Museum

People’s History Museum is the national museum of democracy, telling the story of its development in Britain: past, present, and future.  The museum provides opportunities for all people to learn about, be inspired by and get involved in ideas worth fighting for; ideas such as equality, social justice, co-operation, and a fair world for all.

PHM currently welcomes a local, national and international audience, attracting 125,000 visitors annually, as well as reaching people online through digital activities.  The museum involves audiences and communities in all aspects of its work, using models of co-curation, collaboration and crowd-sourcing when developing and delivering programmes of activity.  Engaging people directly in the work of the museum helps to build a passionate and committed audience who become supporters and advocates for PHM, while ensuring we are shaping authentic content representative of diverse audiences, providing an inclusive space for their voices, stories and ideas.  PHM’s innovative programme-led approach explores important subjects and issues relevant to us all today.

PHM has an annual turnover of around £1.5 million, employs 36 members of staff and has a team of freelance staff and volunteers.  PHM is funded by Arts Council England (ACE) as a National Portfolio Organisation (NPO) and by Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) Culture and Social Impact Fund.  PHM is an independent museum, charitable trust and company limited by guarantee, with a Board of Trustees, a Trading Company Board, and an Audit and Risk Committee.

Staff structure

PHM staff structure.

Job Description

Collections Manager

Salary:  £28,900 (plus pension contribution to the Greater Manchester Pension Fund)

Hours: Full time (35 hours a week) with flexible working and consideration of part time or job share

Annual leave:  24 days plus bank holidays

Contract:  Permanent

Responsible to:  Head of Collections & Engagement

Responsible for:  Collections Officers (2 x 0.4 FTE) and upcoming Collections Assistant

Location:  Based at People’s History Museum and off-site store, with the opportunity for agile working in line with PHM’s flexible working policy

Key responsibilities

  • Provide strategic direction, line management, development and support to the Collections Team
  • Develop and maintain collections policies and procedures, leading on ensuring all collections work follows required policies and procedures
  • Lead on acquisitions to the collection, including leading the acquisitions panel
  • Manage the digital collections management systems, including the EMu collections management system and digital asset management system, Axiell DAMS – powered by Piction, including administration and data maintenance
  • Lead on the curation of the collection, including cataloguing and research focuses, collections development, review and rationalisation
  • Develop and deliver the loans programme
  • Ensure the collection is cared for to Accreditation, Spectrum 5.1 and other best practice standards
  • Manage of intellectual property (IP) of the collections, including gaining copyright licences or assignment for non-commercial and commercial uses
  • Collaborate with Engagement, Archive, Conservation and Communications & Marketing Teams to develop and plan exhibitions and content
  • Build strong relationships with other teams ensuring effective communication and collaboration
  • Ensure opportunities for income generation are identified, developed and maximised, including developing funding bids and supporting commercial activities such as retail linked to collections
  • Plan and monitor the collections budget and project budgets to ensure effective use of resources
  • Manage and deliver externally funded projects, including monitoring and reporting for funders as required

Experience, knowledge and skills

  • Experience of managing museum collections, including acquisitions, loans programmes, documentation, cataloguing, digitisation and storage, in line with Accreditation and Spectrum 5.1 standards
  • Strong knowledge and understanding of digital collections management systems, with specific knowledge of EMu an advantage
  • Good knowledge and understanding of key issues within collections management, including contemporary collecting, decolonisation, and democratisation, as well as intellectual property and copyright
  • Experience of managing, supporting and developing individuals and teams, including strong collaboration skills
  • Experience of effectively managing projects, workflows and resources (including budget management, evaluation and reporting to funders)


How to apply

Please complete the online application form.  Please outline how your experience, knowledge and skills meet the job description and provide details.  Your application will be assessed and scored against the job description using the information provided.

Deadline for applications:  9.00am on Friday 23 June 2023

Interviews:  Tuesday 11 July 2023, in person at PHM

If you require any information or the application form in an alternative format please contact Jackie Royle, Finance & Operations Officer at   Please also contact Jackie if you have any questions or would like to arrange to discuss the role.


PHM prides itself on being a welcoming and inclusive organisation, profoundly committed to advancing equality and diversity in the broadest sense.  We highly value the benefits that diverse perspectives bring to PHM’s mission.

We recognise the museum currently underrepresents people of colour, disabled people, LGBTQI+ people and those with intersecting identities in our workforce; PHM is actively working to address this and encourages applications from these backgrounds.  While the successful candidate will be selected purely on merit, in the event of a tie between two candidates with equal experience, we may select a candidate who helps us better represent the communities the museum serves.

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