Museums & Collections
When we think about a museum, what do we think about its Collections? The answer is often a combination of two concepts: collections and objects. What is the difference between these two concepts? How does one difference affect the other? How do collections differ from exhibitions? What is the difference between a museum and an exhibition? What are the benefits and drawbacks of each? Here are some common examples of how both concepts are affected by one another.
In a time of social division, environmental degradation, and demographic change, museums play a critical role in empowering people. For example, many museums see their role as supporting health, placemaking, learning, and active citizenship. They use collections to bring people together and tell stories that foster understanding. These institutions help equip people with the facts they need to make informed decisions. This article discusses the current state of museums and collections in the UK.
The first step in addressing these challenges is to understand the changing expectations of today's visitors and staff. Museums must be proactive and responsive to changing trends, listen to staff, and conduct regular visitor engagement surveys. They should be innovative in meeting changing visitor expectations and evolving museum practices. Complacency is a major mistake in today's cultural and economic environment. They should also collaborate with their peers to develop better services for their visitors.
The first museums gathered collections and then organized them. Most collections are divided into two categories. Permanent collections house museum assets, while loaned assets are displayed in temporary exhibitions. Traveling exhibitions, on the other hand, are curated collections that are shown in multiple venues. Most travelling exhibitions are collections of large loans or are selected from a museum's permanent collection. So how do museums organize their collections? Luckily, there are many ways to organize a museum.
Objects often contain a range of materials, including wood, canvas, oil or acrylic paints, ivory, paper, and textiles. The biggest challenge in conserving museum collections is temperature fluctuation. Relative humidity is the percentage saturation of air. Too much moisture will cause the object to fade and lose its luster. Museums must consider both of these factors when deciding on how to display their collections. If there are concerns, the object should be donated to another museum.
The best museums take advantage of people's love for the real things, and use it to their advantage. Dioramas and skeletal mounts, for example, are still highly appealing to today's audiences. Arrays of butterflies, marine shells, fossil fish, and stuffed animals also hold immense fascination for many visitors. Science museums have a unique opportunity to leverage this attraction to inspire questions. And in order to make their collections more effective, they must also encourage action.
Objects in a museum
Objects in a museum require specialized storage conditions. Museums vary in size and type, and many have areas of specialization, such as art museums or history museums. For example, a history museum may focus solely on objects from a specific county or even a single person. On the other hand, a museum dedicated to art may focus on a particular time period, artist, or region. Museums may have several separate sub-collections, such as those devoted to art, animals, or geology.
The relationship between objects and museums can be both beneficial and detrimental. Objects that can influence visitors' behaviour are called pilgrimage objects, because they are believed to complete a transformation by seeing a single object. Some traveling exhibits engineer such behavior through promotion. For example, an exhibition about the Tutankhamen mummy featured the death mask of Tutankhamen in the publicity for its exhibition. But what if the objects that are displayed in museums were used for more than mere display?
The process of deaccessioning involves a formal procedure for decommissioning objects. It is a legal and ethical process. Museums are required to comply with collection policies and field-wide standards when deaccessioning objects. The process includes deciding whether to dispose of the object, formalizing its removal from the permanent collection, and finding its appropriate disposal. It should never take into consideration the object's potential monetary value.
The final decision about an object's acceptance or decommissioning rests with the museum's board of trustees, but special committees may review objects for potential inclusion. Once an object has been accepted for the museum's collection, it is formalized by the addition of a Deed of Gift, and entered into the museum's catalog records. The museum assigns each object a unique catalog number and stores the object for exhibition or educational use.
The process of appropriation has been complicated by the changing role of museum collections. The role of the museum in the creation of public art has changed over the years, but the practice of categorizing primitive objects as art is a problematic process. It attempts to assign a new meaning to objects, including their use as ethnographic evidence. The display of non-Western objects has also been criticized for being a cultural appropriation.
Objects in a museum's collection
Objects in a museum's collections are often donated. Donors make these gifts with no expectation of monetary return. These donors may include individuals, organizations, clubs, or even corporations. Usually, donors contact the collection department. Occasionally, the museum will request that the donor personally visit the collection to make the donation. In either case, objects in a museum's collection should be properly labeled and protected from damage.
The process of accepting new objects into a museum's collection is known as accessioning. The museum accepts objects on the basis of criteria such as their age, origin, and condition. Once an object is added, it must be reconciled with the existing inventory of the museum. The museum's collections management policy will help ensure that the objects in its collection are worthy of being displayed. It also provides guidelines for deaccessioning unwanted objects.
While museums will consider the significance of ownership gaps, some objects may be unacceptable and therefore will be subject to extra scrutiny. However, some government policies allow museums to acquire objects without consent. If this is the case, the museum must obtain consent, documentation of legal export and import, and warranties of good title and legal ownership. If the museum cannot obtain permission, it must use the objects from a legitimate source. This will increase the likelihood of successful acquisition.
When it comes to collecting objects for exhibitions, the best writers in the field of interpretation stress the importance of connections. Visitors need to make connections between objects and ideas, not just to the museum's collection. Some of the best writing on interpretation, such as Freeman Tilden's The Art of Interpretation, emphasizes the importance of making connections between collections and audiences. The new book, The Art of Relevance, stresses this importance.
Curators oversee the museum's collection and put together exhibitions. They spend hours researching objects to ensure their value and authenticity. Designers create the layouts for exhibitions and brochures. Some museums employ horticulturists, web designers, and architects to help with their collection. Educators help visitors understand the value of the collection. They are the key to the museum's success. So, what do you need to know about preservation of museum objects?
Objects in a museum's collection that are not on display
There are a variety of reasons why a museum's collection of objects is not on display. Many of them may be illegally acquired or contain interests of other parties. Objects that were acquired during World War II are typically given special care by art museums, as are archaeological objects unearthed after the 1970 UNESCO Convention. Objects from other disciplines may also receive special attention, such as Native American artifacts. Museum staff may also examine permits carefully when acquiring such items.
Almost 95% of a museum's collection is not on display. Each museum must decide how to display this collection to the public. One example is the St. Joseph Museums in Missouri. This complex of six museums houses over 200,000 items from historic periods. While this amount may seem small, it is important to note that the St. Joseph Museums' staff has had to pull over 100 items at a time to facilitate research.
While it may seem impossible to locate a museum's unlisted object, there are ways to identify it. Museums normally catalogue their objects using a card index or computerized database. Some museums use digital means to do this, but most museum researchers use the internet to find an object. In fact, most museum research starts on the internet! If you are unable to find an object on display, you can use the Internet to find it on a museum's website.
During an archaeological dig or organised field walk, museum staff collect the objects that are displayed. Until these objects have been documented and are ready for display, they remain in a museum's collection. An example of a museum's treasure is a collection of flints from the Mesolithic period of Aberdeenshire. These collections are kept in a Treasure Trove system, which is used to store flints from the ancient world.
Objects in a museum's collections that are not on display are often housed in specialized rooms. While a museum's permanent collection includes assets that are owned by the museum, some of its objects are unframed or partially loaned. Likewise, some objects require special conditions. For example, an underwater archaeological site may require constant watering. Rare objects, such as fossils, may require oxygen-free environments.