190 Slices
Medium 9781442267893

The Importance of Being Human: A Case Study of Library, Archives, and Museum Collaboration

Collections Altamira Press ePub

Heather Fox

Archivist for Metadata & Scholarly Communication, University of Louisville, 400 Ekstrom Library, Louisville, Kentucky, 40292; email: heather.fox@louisville.edu

Abstract   Libraries, Archives, and Museums (LAM) convergence has been a topic of discussion for nearly a decade, with a particular focus on harnessing technological know-how to create efficiencies around managing and providing access to collections cared for by these similar yet distinct professions. This case study examines the interaction amongst the University of Louisville (U of L) Art Library, U of L Archives, and the Speed Art Museum (Speed) as the three separate entities worked together to complete an IMLS-funded grant project focused on streamlining the Speed’s library. Although the initial work centered on surveying and weeding the Speed’s collection and creating electronic catalog records of the materials, shifts in the grant budget supported the hiring of a Project Archivist to transfer the Speed’s institutional archives to the University of Louisville. This formal partnership developed from a history of informal collaboration, impelled by exigencies of impending construction to create a new museum space. The project improved access to Speed Library’s collection, enhanced the U of L Art Library’s collection and facilitated preservation of and provided access to the institutional records of the Speed Art Museum. In addition, conversations about LAM convergence tend to emphasize technology. This case study draws on the Collaboration Continuum introduced by Zorich, et al in a 2008 report on the topic and examines the power of interpersonal relationships, which ultimately proved to be the important drivers of this collaboration.

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Medium 9781442267848

Collections Risk Assessment at the Royal BC Museum and Archives

Collections Altamira Press ePub

Kasey Lee

Chief Conservator, Royal British Columbia Museum, 675 Belleville Street, Victoria, BC V8W 9W2 Canada; email: klee@royalbcmuseum.bc.ca

Delphine Castles

Collection Manager, Royal British Columbia Museum, 675 Belleville Street, Victoria, BC V8W 9W2 Canada; email:dcastles@royalbcmuseum.bc.ca

Abstract The Royal British Columbia Museum (RBCM) has a large and valuable collection of archival records, artifacts, specimens and associated information pertaining to the Province of British Columbia’s human and natural history. In 2004 and again in 2010 the RBCM conducted a comprehensive risk assessment to identify and quantify the potential impact of threats to the collections. Methodology was based on the Cultural Property Risk Assessment Model (CPRAM).

The RBCM risk assessment projects, which included over 30 staff members, were each completed over a period of several months. The results of the latest comprehensive review provide a corporate-wide perspective of the risks to the collection. Some risk related assumptions were confirmed and new issues came to light. As a result of these risk assessments, a Risk Management Implementation Plan has been developed to address the most damaging and imminent threats to the collections. A discussion of the evolution of risk assessment at the RBCM is included.

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Medium 9781442267879

Review Essay: The Routledge Research in Museum Studies Series

Collections Altamira Press ePub

Reviewed by Margot Note, Director of Archives and Information Management, World Monuments Fund, 350 Fifth Avenue, Suite 2412, New York, NY 10118; email: mnote@wmf.org

Tiffany Jenkins. New York; London: Routledge. 2011. 174 pages. ISBN 978-0-415-87960-6

Tiina Roppola. New York; London: Routledge. 2012. 322 pages. ISBN 978-0-415-89184-4

Catharine Coleborne and Dolly MacKinnon, editors. New York; London: Routledge. 2011. 218 pages. ISBN 978-0-415-88092-3

Juliette Fritsch, editor. New York; London: Routledge. 2011. 264 pp. ISBN 978-0-415-88575-1

Laurajane Smith, Geoffrey Cubitt, Ross Wilson, and Kalliopi Fouseki, editors. New York; London: Routledge. 2011. 340 pages. ISBN 978-0-415-88504-1

The first five books of the Routledge Research in Museum Studies series offer a promising start to a needed body of literature. Unfortunately, the series lacks an editor or a statement of purpose, making it difficult to determine the criteria for publication or projected goals of the series beyond the field of museum studies—which ranges from administration, fundraising, collections management and exhibition design to educational programming and curatorship. Thus far, the series concentrates on comprehensive subjects (an edited volume on interpretation and a single authored manuscript on visitor experience) or specific, controversial topics (the material culture of human remains, madness, and enslavement).

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Medium 9781442267831

Energy Savings Trial in the Library of Congress John Adams Building Stacks

Collections Altamira Press ePub

Nancy Lev-Alexander

Head, Collections Stabilization Section, Library of Congress, Conservation Division LMG-38,101 Independence Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20540; phone: 202-707-8844, email: nlal@loc.gov

Abstract In 2009, Preservation staff at the Library of Congress (LoC), working in collaboration with consultants from the Image Permanence Institute (IPI) and Herzog Wheeler Associates (H/W), proposed an experiment to determine whether a programmed nightly shutdown of all HVAC operations within a targeted collection area could achieve significant energy savings without posing unacceptable risk to the long term stability and usefulness of the volumes stored in these stacks. This article will briefly present the reasons for proposing this trial and selecting its location, steps taken to prepare for the shutdown test, results from two years of nightly shutdowns, and lessons learned.

In 2009, Preservation staff at the Library of Congress (LoC), working in collaboration with consultants from the Image Permanence Institute (IPI) and Herzog Wheeler Associates (H/W), proposed an experiment to determine whether a programmed nightly shutdown of all HVAC operations within a targeted collection area could achieve significant energy savings without posing unacceptable risk to the long term stability and usefulness of the volumes stored in these stacks. Multi-year analysis of environmental conditions in this stack area accompanied by detailed study of HVAC operations led us to believe that this experiment would confirm the ability to condition carefully selected collection areas while running HVAC operations in an energy and cost savings mode. This modified HVAC operation initiated in 2010, and still running, has provided an opportunity for preservation staff and building engineers to study how various mechanical settings impact the preservation quality of a critical collection storage area and identify achievable climate targets using existing equipment. Two years since the January 2010 start of this experiment a frequent and close review of data is required along with fine tuning of operational settings. The experiment dovetails neatly with more recent energy-savings HVAC adjustments independently proposed by the building engineers for other collection areas and has provided a template by which to evaluate the preservation impact of such modifications.

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Medium 9781442267824

The Role of Museums in the Illegal Antiquities Market

Collections Altamira Press ePub

Michelle D’lppolito

University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20740; email: mrdippolito@gmail.com

Abstract The ability of investigative agencies like Interpol and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to effectively recover stolen works of art depends in part on how comprehensive and complete their databases of stolen works are. The scope of these databases and their effectiveness in recovering artwork depends on how many reports of theft are submitted by museums to the investigative agencies. This paper considers how a lack of funding leads to discrepancies in and between museum collection records and databases maintained by investigative agencies, resulting in negative publicity and affect a museum’s public image. Ultimately this paper presents some strategies to mitigate these discrepancies and help deter future museum theft by streamlining the investigation process for agencies like Interpol and the FBI.

On October 7, 2010, police in Landskrona, Sweden discovered three stolen paintings during a raid in a credit card fraud case. The paintings were found in plastic bags each with a label identifying it as belonging to the Malmö Museum of Art (Durney 2010). These labels matched the records the museum had for the paintings (Durney 2010). The police contacted the museum and informed them of the find. According to Goren Christenson, the director of the museum, the paintings had been taken down to be put in storage two weeks prior to the raid (Associated Press 2010; CBC 2010; TT 2010). They had been unaware that anything was missing until the police contacted them; their records still had them listed as being in storage (Anonymous 2010; Associated Press 2010). News articles covering the theft and recovery of the paintings dealt primarily with the fact that the museum was unaware of their absence. The day of the recovery, headings such as “Munch stolen in Sweden and nobody notices” from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) (2010) and “Museum in Sweden unaware of theft of Munch painting, artwork recovered” by the Star Tribune (2010) cast the museum in a negative light. While eventually reports of arrests prompted the museum to receive funding to help increase their security measures, initial reports characterized the museum as inattentive rather than as a victim. Little to no information was originally given regarding the theft of the artwork or who stole it (Associated Press 2010). Since the recovery of the three paintings, three men have been arrested and convicted of theft and of receiving and handling stolen goods (TT 2010). According to The Local, the thief “found” the paintings by a wharf next to the museum and assumed they were being discarded (2010). Whether or not this is an accurate reflection of the events, it demonstrates that there was a discrepancy between the actual locations of the paintings and where the museum thought them to be located.

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