New acquisitions into the National Slag Collection

The control of new acquisitions into the National Slag Collection (NSC) Assessment Criteria.


The Historical Metallurgy Society Archives and Collections Committee (HMS ACC) provides expert advice for making recommendations on new acquisitions to the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust’s Academic and Curatorial Committee (IGMT A&C Committee. The HMS in conjunction with IGMT will ensure that the collections are appropriately housed, catalogued and made accessible through publications and the web sites of both institutions.


Donations to the slag collection can be proposed directly to the HMS Archives and Collections Committee (HMS ACC) by emailing the ACC chair. These proposals for donations or enquiries are passed directly to the IGMT representative (IGMT Museum Archaeologist) on the HMS ACC, and to the Secretary of the HMS ACC.

  1. The person presenting/donating specimens of slag must (and must be competent to) hand ownership of the collection to IGMT through the HMS ACC.
  2. There should be clear evidence of the source and provenance of the specimens. The HMS ACC will acquire information about the proposed donation, including any associated paperwork, visit the slag collection if necessary, make an assessment as to whether the whole or part of the slag collection is suitable for inclusion into the NSC and assess any financial considerations.
  3. The specimens should fill a gap in the collection.
  4. Where there is clear evidence as to the process which produced the slag and this is under-represented in the NSC, acquisition may be recommended even where provenance is missing, for example for use as a comparative material or as a representative of its type.
  5. There will be no duplication with specimens already in the NSC, unless the new material has better provenance, in which case recommendation for disposal of existing specimens may be considered.
  6. Archaeological assemblages of slag are not usually accepted and should go through normal procedures for acceptance by a local or county museum. This principle is implicit within: Brown, D. 2007. Archaeological Archives. A Guide to Best Practice in Creation, Compilation,Transfer and Curation. Reading: Institute for Archaeologists., and in earlier documents such as Society of Museum Archaeologists, 1993. Selection, Retention and Dispersal of Archaeological Collections. Society of Museum Archaeologists. These stress that “the integrity of the site archive should be respected” and all material (worthy of being retained) should be kept physically together.
  7. Occasional review of holdings may identify duplicates or less significant specimens which the HMS ACC committee may recommend to the IGMT for disposal.
  8. Any specimens not selected or de-selected may be offered to external institutions and schools as handling collections or to participants at HMS and IGMT conferences and workshops.