Wednesday, December 29, 2010
"Deaccession" a Fightin' Word in Little Falls, New York
Link to December 28 New York Times article, "Small Town, Big Word, Major Issue".
Excerpt: Deaccessioning is the kind of word that makes eyes glaze over and can seem to be the preserve of dusty intellectuals and large museums. But it’s just a fancy name for the sale or giving away of art and artifacts by museums and other cultural organizations, and the dust-up here in this city of about 5,000 demonstrates that such debates occur in all kinds of places, big and small, where people feel protective about materials in their care.
With her personal gesture of protest in late September, Ms. Phillips stepped into a growing public controversy surrounding institutions that have sold or considered selling parts of their collections, which have been entrusted to them for the public’s benefit. Some say such sales can compromise collections, and others argue that museums, libraries and historical societies have to cull their collections periodically, particularly if there is pressure to pay their bills.
In Little Falls, library officials said they were selling things to raise money, not to cover operating costs, which institutions try to avoid, but to preserve other artifacts.
"Board decision leads to resignation". Herkimer (NY) Telegram, 9/27/2010.