Case Study: V&A


Responsible for managing and maintaining one of the world's largest collections of art and design objects, the V&A devotes a great deal of effort to loaning out objects from the collection. This activity helps build an even bigger audience for the collections. The V&A also offers entire exhibitions to venues in the UK and overseas. The museum also borrows objects from major museums worldwide and hosts temporary exhibitions. Managing the movement of these priceless objects and exhibitions is a huge logistical challenge.

The Results

The V&A has been using a relatively basic FileMaker application for years to record the inflow and outflow of objects. But the system was not relational. There was no cross-referencing of data between staff members and across projects. With a large number of items moving into and out of the museum every year and with over 30 exhibitions being presented worldwide, it was essential to get a top-down view into exactly what was being offered, accepted or declined, loaned to and borrowed from whom.

What the client says

"We'd been using FileMaker, but in a very basic way. We knew it could do a lot more. Now we have a more user-friendly, integrated system that helps give us a wide overview across our exhibitions and loans operations.

"The simple and easy-to-use solution Cordis developed has helped us streamline our processes, and significantly improve the way we manage our exhibitions, all without the inconvenience of changing the technology that underpins it.”

Rebecca Lim
Head of South Kensington Exhibitions
Victoria and Albert Museum

Read more

Read the full case study on the FileMaker website here.


Organisational Benefits

  • Contact management system stores and manages an up-to-date record of key individuals at museums and venues worldwide. In addition to basic information, the system keeps a record of items loaned or borrowed, what sort of objects are of interest to whom and what communications have been made and are ongoing.
  • Incoming objects are recorded and managed. Records are kept of item descriptions, dimensions, packing and shipping requirements, conservation work underway or required, lux and humidity levels, display requirements, valuation and insurance and much more.
  • Credits and acknowledgments can be attached to all items showing the author or creator name, the name of the institution owning the piece and, if required, the name and an acknowledgment of the original donor.
  • Funding organisation details or sponsorship information can be attached to single items or entire exhibitions.
  • Outgoing items are recorded and managed and similar records kept. When items are loaned out, records can be easily exported to the receiving venue.
  • FileMaker solution helps manage the promotion of exhibitions to external venues. System gives all staff members visibility into who has been contacted about what exhibition and what response has been received.
  • System cross-references exhibit items to avoid possible conflicts where one object is attached to more than one exhibition.
  • Easy searching by research or market interests help target potential venues with demonstrated prior interest


Client Version: Filemaker 11
Server Version: Filemaker Server 11
Users: Approx 60