265 Chapters
Medium 9781442265790

Note from the Field

Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

Sophie White

Associate Professor of American Studies, Concurrent Associate Professor, Dept. of Africana Studies and Dept. of History, University of Notre Dame, 1042 Flanner Hall, Notre Dame, IN 46556; swhite1@nd.edu

I write as the digitization project for the Louisiana Colonial Documents Database (LCDD) nears completion. And as I do so, I recall the huge wave of relief that swept over me when I first heard that these extraordinary documents were scanned, and were now safe, permanently. For an archive housed in New Orleans, that is no small thing—as Hurricane Katrina so rudely reminded us. As I saw for myself the exceptional quality of the digitization, and how technology can magnify documents to facilitate deciphering, my thoughts meandered to the significance of this achievement for historians like me: unfettered access to a signal collection of national and international importance.

This astoundingly rich archive is quite simply a historian’s dream, because of the range of information contained within the collection, about economic, political, religious, and social events for example, found within documents ranging from business records, to marriage contracts, and criminal investigations. But it is in the evidence pertaining to the lives of the non-literate that this archive stands out, allowing us—and indeed nudging us—to re-interpret the experience of non-elites and of women, not least through the courtroom testimony of enslaved individuals (the scope of which is unique in any North American archive).

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Medium 9781442267909

The Eugene Garbáty Collection of European Art

Collections AltaMira Press ePub

Victoria Reed

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Abstract     Little has been written about the art collection of Eugene Garbaty, a Jewish industrialist from Berlin who fled Germany and settled in the United States in the late 1930s. Yet, many American museum collections include works of art that belonged to Garbaty, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA) is no exception; between the 1940s and the 1960s, the MFA acquired thirty-four works of European painting, sculpture, and decorative art from him. Based on a study of the provenance of these objects, this article offers preliminary observations on the formation of Garbaty’s collection, its fate during World War II, and its dispersal within the United States.

In March 2011, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA) reached a financial settlement with the heirs of Jakob and Rosa Oppenheimer, allowing the Museum to retain four seventeenth-century tapestries that have been part of the Museum’s collection since the 1950s (Figure 1).1 The tapestries come from a larger series, woven by the Barberini tapestry manufactory in Rome, to celebrate the life and achievements of Pope Urban VIII Barberini. In the late nineteenth century, the series was broken up and dispersed; by 1928, eight of the tapestries were on the art market in Berlin. Before coming to Boston, the MFA tapestries were included in one of the notorious, 1935 forced sales of the stock of Margraf and Co., a Berlin consortium of art galleries run by the Oppenheimers until the couple fled Nazi persecution and emigrated to France in 1933, losing control of their business. The gallery stock was liquidated at auction, so that Margraf—well-known as a Jewish-owned company—eventually could be erased from the German commercial registry. As the auctions were the direct result of racial persecution, and the Oppenheimers themselves received none of the proceeds, the sales were not legal; upon uncovering this information, the MFA contacted the Oppenheimer heirs who readily agreed upon a settlement that would allow the Museum to acquire good title to the tapestries.

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Medium 9781442267794

Objects of Engagement

Collections AltaMira Press ePub

Abstract Approaches contemporary issues related to engagement in exhibitions, including collaboration in visual art (Markopoulos), the incorporation of local indigenous groups and philosophies into museum praxis (Shelton), and envisioning how audiences can interact with African arts at Toronto’s Royal Ontario Museum (Forni).

Leigh Markopoulos

Curatorial Practice, California College of the Arts

The rise of the powerful curator-auteur in the 1990s, and the identification of exhibitions primarily with their originators/organizers (rather than necessarily the included artworks), has been addressed in recent years by a movement towards collaborative and more fluid structures for the conception and organization of shows. While the notion of curatorial identity, or authorship, is linked to Harald Szeemanns pioneering career, the consequent re-focusing on artists as the originators of ideas can also be seen in the Swiss curator’s approach to exhibition making, as first manifested in Live In Your Head: When Attitudes become Form (1969). This paper traces the re-calibration of the curatorial role away from branded stylization towards the artist, artworks, and ultimately the audience. Adopting diverse strategies, curators from Raimundas Malasauskas and Elena Filipovic to the Manifesta 8 hybrid collaborative curatorial teams, are seeking to arrive at new forms of presenting art through shared consensus. Challenging the authorial or sole voice, the process of creating meaning in exhibitions is being opened up to a multiplicity of voices—whether through a more democratic fashion of decision making, collaborative curatorial work, involving artists in curatorial decisions, or even appointing them as curators of shows, interventions, and education programs.

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Medium 9781442276147

Establishing Workflows and Opening Access to Data within Natural History Collections

Decker, Juilee Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

Establishing Workflows and Opening Access to Data within Natural History CollectionsSylvia OrliIT Manager, Department of Botany, National Museum of Natural History, orlis@si.eduJessica BirdData Manager, Department of Entomology, National Museum of Natural History, birdj@si.eduAbstract The Smithsonian Transcription Center (TC) is a transcription platform for a wide variety of collection items for the Smithsonian museums and units. The National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) collection items present a unique challenge for the TC, as the labels on these items contain a variety of information, requiring a complex transcription template. In addition, the transcribed collection data must be imported back to the NMNH database (EMu Museum Management System) with prescribed formatting. The Departments of Botany and Entomology at NMNH have worked with the TC through these challenges to create a workflow that addresses these issues while providing high-quality data at a rapid rate. Suggestions for further improvement are examined as well.

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Medium 9781442267848

Creative Conservation Risk Management Evolving a Collection Risk Management Strategy at a Major Heritage Attraction

Collections AltaMira Press ePub

Kate Frame

ACR, Head of Conservation and Collection Care, Historic Royal Palaces, Hampton Court Palace, Surrey, KT89AU, UK; email: kate.frame@hrp.org.uk

Abstract This paper describes the development of a collection risk management strategy within Historic Royal Palaces, which is a thriving commercially-based visitor attraction. The approach is two pronged. It first comprises a steering body, the ‘Agents of Decay’ Board, for strategic direction and collaborative decision making for risk mitigation measures that are supported and implemented. Second, at operational level, it offers a team approach between conservators and commercial staff to achieve conservation risk management goals whilst delivering a financial and client or visitor successful business. Collection risk management is woven into the activities of the palaces enabling the Historic Royal Palace business to be successful, which in turn leads to the generation of more funds for conservation.

This paper focuses on the way conservators have evolved their approach to managing collection risks at the Historic Royal Palaces (HRP), where it has moved from having a peripheral role within the palaces to a central position standing equal with other HRP business risk management strategies. We have reshaped our conservation approach, creating a flexible case-by-case solution to managing conservation risks that works with the changed circumstances at HRP and the changing expectations of our visitors.

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