The COMCOL’s 2015 annual conference was organized in cooperation with ICOM Korea and hosted by The National Folk Museum of Korea. The conference was dedicated to the sustainability of collecting and collections. The theme links up with the theme of International Museum Day, “Museums for a sustainable society”, but will focus on the sustainability of the role of museums (and other heritage institutions) and their collections itself.
The most generally accepted definition of sustainability is the one given in the Brundtland Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development (1987) saying “Sustainable development is the development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”. In its brochure, Sustainability, and museums. Your chance to make a difference (2008), the UK Museums Association discusses how “concepts of sustainability have the potential to help museums improve their service to society, to make decisions about collections management, to secure long-term financial stability – and, of course, to serve future generations appropriately”. Speaking about collections, the Museums Association suggests that to flourish sustainability, museums should “acknowledge the legacy contributed by previous generations and pass on a better legacy of collections, information, and knowledge to the next generation”, and “manage collections well so that they will be a valued asset for future generations, not a burden”. In its conference, COMCOL will explore the meaning of this in terms of the composition and structure of collections. What specific methodological approaches towards collection development does sustainability require?