@MarDixon Passionate about culture internationally. Run remixing events, workshops, create solutions, and an international speaker. Over sharer and Mom who loses arguments to a teen. Projects created: @CultureThemes @lovetheatreday @AskaCurator @MuseumSelfieDay @TeensInMuseums @52museums
  • Museums Collection & The Disposal Debate* Stolen Title – A Sunday Morning Debate

    February 24th, 2013mardixonCulture, International

    This morning, I got involved in a conversation on Twitter that was lively, with a hint of debate and sadly, still no answer.

    A little background:

    disposals (1)Back in April, 2012, Peter Davies sent me a copy of Museums and the Disposal Debate: A Collection of Essays @pjdavies2000 @museumsetc.

    As an archivist wife, I’m well familiar with the issues involved in decommission and disposal (as related to puppets). Every debate seems to be around money: storage, ownership, current economic issues, responsibility, etc.

    The big issue for me has always been this:  Once an item or collection is disposed, it can’t be undone.  Our current economics should not be the reason, or excuse, to decommission and ruin any chance for future generations to have the art/collection because we couldn’t handle our wallet.

    Reality is we mustn’t let economics be the assessor in evaluation of the works at that time.

    And today’s Sunday debate with Peter Davies @pjdavies2000, David Craven  @davidjcraven and Tiffany Jenkins @tiffanyjenkins was no different.

    I’ve Storified the Twitter conversation here (with permission). What are your thoughts?

    *Please note, these are our opinions and not those related to employee yada yada yada 



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2 responses to “Museums Collection & The Disposal Debate* Stolen Title – A Sunday Morning Debate” RSS icon

  • via @sidecarhammond Twitter:

    There is so much to unpack in that exchange (and thanks for you response) . Museums must guard against losing sight of their stated mission. This is where they get into trouble. Collections should NEVER be used in an attempt to sort out financial troubles. You can only divest works that are well represented in the collection and then only to fill in a weakness.

    NEVER divest for reasons of fashion or whim and never based on a curators personality. – this can be especially tricky in the case of the Contemporary collection/museum; they should be engaged locally/currently.

    • @sidecarhammond – your point is valid, BUT, the issue the sector has is it doesnt make those decisions – yet has the excuse – but rarely applies the same logic to the aquisition and accessioning of objects in the first place.

      Holding onto soemthign because you have it isnt a good enough reason. Taking something on because you are a curator is an even more implorable reason than not getting rid of it afterwards.

      Your point about selling to backfill finances is sound, yet (and as is said in the book several times, by several people), if you are willing to make difficult choices with public money (direct and indirect) in the first place (aquiring) then be prepared to make just the same sorts of decisions when it comes to review and rationalisation (disposals).

      If curators dont/wont/cant step up to the mark and do the job they are paid for, then someone else will, and most likely that will be someone who measures in £, and not cultural and historical value/significance.

      Hope that helps


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