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How Museums Tidy Up

Category: Collections Stewardship

Deaccessioning and disposal are part and parcel to a healthy museum collection and can help a museum clarify its mission. In this article, Ellen C. Caldwell discusses the challenges and necessities involved in this complicated process.

“While there are often theoretical and practical reasons for avoiding this process, there is also an unspoken, underlying benefit to reappraising and deaccessioning. Both are integral to a healthy museum collection.”

-Ellen C. Caldwell

On April Fools' Day, Artnet teased its readers with a fake headline about how the Met Museum had hired Marie Kondo to help "tidy up" unwanted art from its collection. While they were joking, the questions that arise around deaccessioning museum collections are serious.

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