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Clean House to Survive? Museums Confront Their Crowded Basements

Category: Collections Stewardship

The New York Times dives deep into the problem of swelling storage and the routes some museums are taking to address it, including the controversial practice of deaccessioning.

“It doesn’t benefit anyone when there are thousands, if not millions, of works of art that are languishing in storage,” said Glenn D. Lowry, the director of the Museum of Modern Art. “There is a huge capital cost that has a drag on operations. But more importantly, we would be far better off allowing others to have those works of art who might enjoy them.”

—Robin Pogrebin

Fueled by philanthropic zeal, lucrative tax deductions and the prestige of seeing their works in esteemed settings, wealthy art owners have for decades given museums everything from their Rembrandts to their bedroom slippers. It all had to go somewhere.

Continue Reading at Nytimes

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Comments

1 Comment

  1. This article does a brilliant job of highlighting the fact that millions of artifacts, manuscripts, and artwork fill the collective storage rooms of countless museums across the globe. It’s a shame so much history and beauty is locked away for years with little hope to be shared. Even a more active borrowing scheme would help.

    As the director of a small museum, I would advocate for carefully freeing up those collections and creating more equity among the many smaller but no less important institutions often unable to finance or fortunate enough to receive more of a collection.

    I know one museum in Dayton willing to help lower your storage costs!

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