0
The Pain of
Ownership
Dealing with the accessioning of insect
collections: the pros, cons, and if
entomological collection...
Museums
 “Museums make their unique contribution to the
public by collecting, preserving and interpreting the
things of t...
Synopsis
 What exactly is a “museum”, and who decides
 Accessioning versus cataloging versus ownership
 What is so spec...
Why Museums
 Finding fiscal support of collection infrastructure and
maintenance continues to be a challenge
 Pressure t...
Interactive
Museum
Borrow/Dis
play
Hold/own
and
Display
Collection
only
Museums
Hold/own
and
Display
Collection
only
Infor...
Museum vs. Collection
 American Alliance of Museums certification.
Museum Accreditation
 Individualistic per museum
 Each museum sets their own rules, but its up to them
to maintain them ...
All part of greater effort for
transparency in where,
when and how we got our
objects
Accessioning
 Accessioning is not the act of obtaining ownership,
but the documentation of where, when, and how we
got th...
Accessioning
 Mainly important for items in museums with high
commercial value, ethical complications,
endangered species...
Cataloging
 The “what we have” effort of museums
 Effort to quantify the holdings, both for internal and
external transp...
Accessioning
 Every specimen has to be accessioned
1. Accession as you catalog
2. Catalog everything, then retro-accessio...
Ownership
 When we accession and “own” a specimen, we own
the physical specimen, not the information
associated with it
...
Entomological Collections
 Large: some of the largest natural history
collections both in size and scope
 Prolific: Most...
Suggestions
 If your institution is considering becoming a formal
museum and getting accreditation:
 Determine how you a...
Suggestions
 How much effort are you going to place on
retroactive accessions? What is your collection’s
focus?
 Field a...
Suggestions
 Articulate the level of processing time needed in
field-collection acquisitions
 Processing specimens can t...
The earlier you can get involved,
the easier it will be to implement
standards.
MUCH harder to try to fit in with
establis...
Pros
 Being part of a larger museum helps with advocacy
of your specific collection needs and infrastructure
 Increases ...
Cons
 Increased paperwork and bureaucracy
 Possible redundancy of information for both
cataloging and accessioning
 Adv...
Discussion
 Following talks today.
 Thank you:
 Lindsay Palaima, SNOMNH Registrar
 Dr. John Oswald of the TAMUIC colle...
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Menard ecn 2012

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  • American Association of Museums (AAM) estimates that there are at least 17,000 museums in the united states. ~800 are AAM accreditedRange from all volunteers to 300+ paid employeesSNOMNH, for example, has ~150+ paid employeesIncludes historic sites, houses, zoos, science centers, children’s museums, nature centers, etc.“Academic insect collections” actually museums?
  • Museum submits a detailed self-study of all areas of their operationsTwo senior staff from comparable museums act as peer reviewers to the study, visit the museum and summarize their observationsThe report and self-study are then submitted to the Accreditation Commission for review and acceptance
  • De-accessioning: that we once had it, but why and how its not part of our collection anymore
  • Only until recently have many institutions used Deed of Gifts to relinquish ownership of donorsDifferent states have rules about donations, and who owns the material after a certain pointOklahoma has a rule that after a certain period it is considered “abandonment”, and as the state repository we therefore own it and are responsible for itMaterial we have that was in our collection before we did Deed of Gifts is considered abandoned
  • Transcript of "Menard ecn 2012"

    1. 1. The Pain of Ownership Dealing with the accessioning of insect collections: the pros, cons, and if entomological collections are a special case. You don’t own me!!...Yet?
    2. 2. Museums  “Museums make their unique contribution to the public by collecting, preserving and interpreting the things of this world. Historically, they have owned and used natural objects, living and nonliving, and all manner of human artifacts to advance knowledge and nourish the human spirit.” – American Alliance of Museums
    3. 3. Synopsis  What exactly is a “museum”, and who decides  Accessioning versus cataloging versus ownership  What is so special about entomology collections  How can we mesh the specific needs of entomology collections with the expectations and responsibilities of a museum  Pros and Cons, suggestions
    4. 4. Why Museums  Finding fiscal support of collection infrastructure and maintenance continues to be a challenge  Pressure to quantify and audit the “value” of a collection to granting agencies, general public.  When a collection becomes part of a “museum”, increased advocacy and visibility, but also need for accountability
    5. 5. Interactive Museum Borrow/Dis play Hold/own and Display Collection only Museums Hold/own and Display Collection only Information only Specimens/objects only Level of Interpretation
    6. 6. Museum vs. Collection  American Alliance of Museums certification.
    7. 7. Museum Accreditation  Individualistic per museum  Each museum sets their own rules, but its up to them to maintain them to have accreditation.  Overall goal: accountability  Written documentation of rules, best practices, standards  Important that your collection’s needs and voices are heard in establishment of best practices and standards.
    8. 8. All part of greater effort for transparency in where, when and how we got our objects
    9. 9. Accessioning  Accessioning is not the act of obtaining ownership, but the documentation of where, when, and how we got the material.  Did you have the proper permits? Other agreements?  Ownership: legal agreements with the donors releasing all rights to the material, such as Deed of Gifts  Deed of Gifts are not standardized, vary by state They are mine, all mine!!
    10. 10. Accessioning  Mainly important for items in museums with high commercial value, ethical complications, endangered species, etc.  Art, Antiquities  Human remains (NAGPRA)  Fossils (dinosaurs, etc.)  Vertebrate groups, botanical groups  If you are part of a museum with multiple departments with different needs, have to match the standards set for all
    11. 11. Cataloging  The “what we have” effort of museums  Effort to quantify the holdings, both for internal and external transparency, grants, etc.  Tied to accessioning  How did we get our material to catalog?  All specimens in the collection have to have both sets of data accounted for and processed Accession!! Catalog!!
    12. 12. Accessioning  Every specimen has to be accessioned 1. Accession as you catalog 2. Catalog everything, then retro-accession 3. Accession as you get new material, hold off on the rest until you catalog the existing material  If a specimen is missing/broken/damaged, it has to be de-accessioned before it is thrown away  Prove you know what happened to it
    13. 13. Ownership  When we accession and “own” a specimen, we own the physical specimen, not the information associated with it  Databasing efforts, digitization efforts make information free and available to the public  Portal out our data to GBIF  Images of specimens: another story  If museum has digital collections from original sources in other collections and considers them “owned” by the museum, gets tricky with digital products with entomology too.
    14. 14. Entomological Collections  Large: some of the largest natural history collections both in size and scope  Prolific: Most academic institutions have entomological collections (especially land-grand universities)  Most of us don’t have completely cataloged or digitized collections
    15. 15. Suggestions  If your institution is considering becoming a formal museum and getting accreditation:  Determine how you are going to deal with bulk material and lots.
    16. 16. Suggestions  How much effort are you going to place on retroactive accessions? What is your collection’s focus?  Field and real-time specimen research?  Historical information?  Endangered Species?
    17. 17. Suggestions  Articulate the level of processing time needed in field-collection acquisitions  Processing specimens can take weeks, months, years  Incoming units may change from finished product (lots of alcohol material to pinned series, sleeved, etc.)  Sooner you articulate the amount of time it takes, the less you’ll be bugged by the registrar/conservator about why your accessions aren’t done yet  Also depends on how much information the registrar needs.
    18. 18. The earlier you can get involved, the easier it will be to implement standards. MUCH harder to try to fit in with established rules, especially with large collections.
    19. 19. Pros  Being part of a larger museum helps with advocacy of your specific collection needs and infrastructure  Increases attractiveness for federal funding by aligning with museum standards and best practicesAccessioning and cataloging efforts will benefit research programs in the long run. - sets up a good track record for future donations
    20. 20. Cons  Increased paperwork and bureaucracy  Possible redundancy of information for both cataloging and accessioning  Advocate for the accessioning system to be able to import your cataloging efforts early on  De-accessioning of material that may or may not be worth the time
    21. 21. Discussion  Following talks today.  Thank you:  Lindsay Palaima, SNOMNH Registrar  Dr. John Oswald of the TAMUIC collection for perspective of a University collection  Entomological Collections Network
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