This reading reminded me a lot of what Maegan Smith and Marianna P. Luquette spoke with us about during the Fall 2017 Public History Workshop. They pulled up PastPerfect on the projector and explained the importance of collections management. I have also dealt with this stuff during my graduate assistantship at the Hilliard University Art Museum and currently while working at the Center for Louisiana Studies.
Collections management is important for many reasons as the reading states. At the center we make sure that each collection given to us has the right documentation because without that the collection is pretty much useless. A collection given to the center, or anywhere, might be cool to look at privately, but if someone can’t use them to inform the public because the right papers were not signed then what good does that collection do? The reading explains the importance of having the right documentation on artifacts that you are borrowing, that is being given to your institute, or that your institute is loaning out, as well.
At the Hilliard I experienced preventive conservation, as mentioned in the reading, when one of the sculptures made out of gourds began showing signs of termite damage. According to the pictures taken when the collection arrived at the museum there were not little holes all over this sculpture until being in one of the galleries for a few weeks. The museum regularly sprays for insects so it was concluded that the bugs were brought over from the owners house. Once finding the holes the collections manager quarantined the sculpture in order to protect the rest of the collection and had an exterminator come out to spray the museum to prevent the spreading of the bugs any further.
Insuring that the collections is safe and preserved for future generations should be one of the most important parts within the museum and public history world.