Skip to content

The mirage of riches in museums’ vaults

Category: Collections Stewardship

The article examines recent discussions about the financial implications of deaccessioning from collections. In particular, the author challenges the assumption that selling collection objects can offset a significant portion of annual operating expenses.

For these reasons, some museums have recently concluded that any prudent campaign to reduce some excess in storage would actually cost more than they could ever expect to garner in return in the marketplace. The notion that museums could simply liquidate the bottom 1% of their collections for a cash windfall that would solve most fiduciary challenges is simply a canard.

-Martin Gammon

The recent debate over deaccessioning by the Berkshire Museum in Massachusetts has led some to conjecture that such sales might easily solve the scourge of museum admission fees. Michael O'Hare, a professor of public policy at the University of California, Berkeley, boldly asserted in the San Francisco Chronicle that museums "should sell works in storage to avoid raising admission fees".

Continue Reading at The Art Newspaper

AAM Member-Only Content

AAM Members get exclusive access to premium digital content including:

  • Featured articles from Museum magazine
  • Access to more than 1,500 resource listings from the Resource Center
  • Tools, reports, and templates for equipping your work in museums
Log In

We're Sorry

Your current membership level does not allow you to access this content.

Upgrade Your Membership


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to Field Notes!

Packed with stories and insights for museum people, Field Notes is delivered to your inbox every Monday. Once you've completed the form below, confirm your subscription in the email sent to you.

If you are a current AAM member, please sign-up using the email address associated with your account.

Are you a museum professional?

Are you a current AAM member?

Success! Now check your email to confirm your subscription, and please add to your safe sender list.