modes collections management

understanding collections

About us

Setting the standard for collections management software for over 30 years

We have a long history of advancing collections management in the UK.

We're proud to provide collections management software, training and support services to museums, galleries, voluntary groups, businesses and many other organisations.

The Modes story

Celebrating 30 years of Modes software

The Modes story started in 1987 when the software was first released for use by the Museums Documentation Association (MDA). Since then, Modes has become the most popular collections software in UK museums.

Over the years, Modes has been developed by collections management experts for collections management professionals - and still is now. One of the very first Modes developers, Richard Light, continues to play a central role in advancing the software today.

The Modes Users Association (MUA) was formed as a not-for-profit company in 1996 to provide support to the growing numbers of organisations and individuals using Modes. The MUA became a Company Limited by Guarantee in 1997 and purchased the Modes suite of programs from the MDA.

Today, the MUA has more than 660 members and Modes continues to be the most popular collections software in UK museums.

Our Mission, Vision and Values

Our Mission

To enable collections owners and managers to create, protect, manage and use their collections data for public benefit.

Our Vision

A world in which collections owners and managers can unlock the full potential of their collections information to broaden public access to and engagement with their collections.

Our Values

  • Cooperative
  • Responsible for collections data, both in short and long term
  • Inclusive
  • The highest standards
  • Value for money.

Membership of the Association

All Modes users who pay their annual subscription fee automatically become full members of the Modes Users Association (MUA). When you join the MUA, you become part of an active community of more than 630 members. Membership gives you access to:

  • Regular updates and tips on how to get more from Modes software
  • Expert support from Modes specialists over the phone and direct to your desktop
  • Access to an online community of Modes users from across many sectors
  • The opportunity to shape the future of collections management.

Modes Users Association - About the board

The Modes Users Association is run by a Board which meets three times a year. The majority of the Board is made up of museums or archives professionals. The Board is responsible for the overall administration and finances of the Association and ratifies the decisions of working groups. Product development is managed by the Product Development Group.


The MUA team delivers software, support, training and consultancy services. The team also comprises system developers who work closely with collections managers throughout the UK.

Pricing policy

Modes software and services are available only to members of the Modes Users Association. The MUA is a not-for-profit company, which keeps the costs of software purchase, support and training to a minimum, for the benefit of its members.

See our current prices