I work with a small team of incredible museum professionals at the Kent State University Museum, where I facilitate incoming and outgoing loans for internal and external exhibitions by negotiating contracts and logistics planning. Working with students, faculty, and outside researchers, I provide collection items for classroom and research use. For the museum’s nearly 30,000 piece collection, I provide safe housing for the objects, maintain collection records and track locations.
I have a variety of resources on my “analog” bookshelf including manuals, auction and exhibition catalogues, handbooks and printed grant guidelines. Here is the short list:
Managing Costume Collections: An essential primer by Louise-Coffey-Webb
Introduction to Object ID: Guidelines for Making records that describe art, antiques and antiquities from the Getty Information Institute
Collection Care: An illustrated handbook for the care and handling of cultural objects by Brent A. Powell
A Legal Primer on Managing Museum Collections by Marie C. Malaro
Museum Registration Methods by Buck and Gilmore
Various auction catalogs from various auction houses
Various exhibition catalogs representing KSUM works loaned to other museums over the years
Thank you cards from researchers, colleagues and fashion houses.
On a practical level, auction catalogs help me to update and substantiate insurance values for similar collection items. Handbooks, legal primers, and manuals are at a hand’s-reach for consultation and provide standards, explanations and reminders that not every institution is alike. Grant guidelines keep me focused on writing detailed narratives that explain the need, importance and outcomes for improved storage methods.
On a broader level, exhibition catalogs and thank you cards serve as reminders that the collection is a resource for the world: for a scholar, a person interested in 19th-century dance, an archivist at Dior, a graduate student at Stanford, a curator at The Met. They remind me that I work with a team of individuals (past, present and future) whose collective effort and care for collections help maintain important cultural assets.