Statement of public task

The British Museum’s ‘public task’ under the Re-use of Public Sector Information Regulations 2005 (‘the Regulations’) consists of its functions under the British Museum Act 1963, the Museums and Galleries Act 1992 and related legislation, such as the Treasure Act 1996, the Public Records Act 1958 and the Freedom of Information Act 2000. It also includes objectives set for the British Museum by its sponsoring government department in its Management Agreement and administrative practices for which the Museum is responsible, but for which there is no specific statutory or regulatory provision, including the management of the UK government-funded Portable Antiquities Scheme and the provision of general advice relating to museology and cultural heritage to the public sector in the UK.

The Museum holds and uses documents for the following purposes within its public task:

  • The promotion and provision of access to the Museum’s collection and exhibitions: in the Museum; on loan, in partnership with other museums, art galleries, research, educational or cultural establishments or communities, nationally and internationally; and in all and any media formats.
  • The production of exhibition and collection-based, educational, scholarly, conservation, archaeological, laboratory, research and other documents related to the collection: whether directly; through partnerships with museums, art galleries, research, educational or cultural establishments or communities, nationally and internationally; or through Museum-associated companies or third parties.
  • The distribution of those documents: whether in printed, filmed, digital or any other format or media; and whether directly or through partnerships with museums, art galleries, research, educational or cultural establishments nationally or internationally; or through Museum-associated companies; or through third parties commercially or non-commercially.
  • The maintenance, development, safety and security of its buildings, galleries, infrastructure and grounds.

Information about the Museum’s general activities in carrying out its public task will be found in the About us section of britishmuseum.org.

The Museum permits (whether directly or as above described) the commercial or non-commercial re-use of certain documents created for its public task. More information about the categories of Museum documents available for re-use and the terms on which they are available will be found here (PDF 94KB).

Questions about the Museum’s public task statement or complaints about the decisions made by the Museum under the Regulations may be submitted via the Contact us page of the Museum’s website.

This statement of the Museum’s public task is reviewed regularly and is due to be considered again in July 2016.