BROWSE RESOURCES ABOUT ‘Curatorial’

  • Museums hold collections in trust for the public. With that trust comes the duty of care. But with the duty of care comes the requirement that we not endanger collection items through improper practices or treatment. Where, however, is the line between what we can and can’t do? This webinar is for paid and unpaid […]

  • Collections of textiles—historic costume, quilts, needlework samplers, and the like—have benefited greatly from the digital turn in museum and archival work. Both institutional online repositories and collections-based social media sites have fostered unprecedented access to textile collections that have traditionally been marginalized in museums. How can curators, interpreters, and collections managers make best use of […]

  • In this StEPs Lab, we discuss FICs, those mysterious artifacts that show up in your collection without a signed deed of gift or other paperwork. What do you do with FICs? Do you accession and number them the same as permanent collection items? Where might you look for clues about their donor or lender? What […]

  • There’s been a lot of talk in the last few years about whether museums should consider breaking the “Rembrandt Rule,” the unwritten dictum that states every object in a museum must be treated equally, like a precious Rembrandt. Much of the discussion has been positive and probably has won a few converts, but is flexible […]

  • Interpreting slavery, with its powerful resonances, is a privilege and a great responsibility. We have an obligation to the public to share a comprehensive and conscientious story of the past, especially as studies show that the public considers museums to be their most trusted source of historical information. The Tracing Center conducted a survey to […]

  • Neil MacGregor’s 2010 book A History of the World in 100 Objects has inspired a number of copycat works. What lessons does the book impart about the power of artifacts and how museums use them? This article argues objects can and should be the stars of museum interpretation. Too often museums short change the power of […]

  • This article, by Ron Kley, offers recollections of a participant in the earliest developments of Nomenclature for Museum Cataloging. Kley remains actively involved in the evolution of that classification/lexicon project – with a retrospective look at antecedents dating back to Biblical times, and some speculation regarding the future course(s) of the initiative. Takeaway Messages  The Nomenclature […]

  • Difficult histories include the recollections of trauma, oppression, and violence. The challenge for museum workers to develop ethical representations of difficult histories is finding an equitable equation for combining the three conceptual components: Faces, Real content, and Narratives. When combined, these three components are the building blocks for developing ethical representations of difficult histories. A […]

  • This sample policy from the Early American Museum in Mahomet, Illinois, establishes the principles, procedures, and legal responsibilities for the acquisition, care, loan and use of its collections. From the policy: The Museum is committed to maintaining standards of professional and ethical excellence in all its actions and embraces the standards set forth by the […]

  • A well-thought-out collections plan is critical to an organization’s health and sustainability. This plan from the Early American Museum in Mahomet, Illinois, offers an example of collecting for a well-rounded institution. From the document: Given the depth and breadth of our current collection, and in keeping with the mission to collect, preserve and interpret the […]