Museum Collecting Lessons : Acquisition Stories from the Inside book cover
1st Edition

Museum Collecting Lessons
Acquisition Stories from the Inside

Edited By

Steven Miller

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after May 5, 2022
ISBN 9781032106427
May 5, 2022 Forthcoming by Routledge
198 Pages 45 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Museum Collecting Lessons explains how and why museums meet their fundamental duty to collect It is the first book of its kind to explore the diverse ways these unique institutions acquire what is preserved and used for exhibitions, programs, publications, and, online applications.

The eleven chapters that make up the volume are written by museum practitioners working in art, history and science museums in the United States, Canada and India. Together, the essays provide fascinating insights into a wide variety of significant acquisitions and museum collecting initiatives. The authors explain customary collecting methods, including donation, purchase and field retrieval. Commonly shared acquisition denominators are also covered and include mission pertinence, quality control, the feasibility and legality of acquisition, personnel and volunteer involvement, and long-term retention assurances. The philosophies and realities presented within the case studies shine light on recent debates about who is included or excluded in museum collections – especially when it comes to race, ethnicity, gender, political perspectives, places of habitation, and economic status.

Museum Collecting Lessons reflects upon past and ongoing issues relating to museum acquisition practices. Offering valuable insights about philosophical, practical and ethical collecting practices, the book will be of interest to aspiring, beginner, and experienced museum professionals around the world.

Table of Contents


Steven Miller

  1. Strategies for Stuff Management: Making Sense of Your Community Museum Collection
  2. John Summers

  3. Collecting our Culture: Eeyou Cree Collecting at Aanischaaukamikw Cree Cultural Institute
  4. Aanischaaukamikw Cree Cultural Institute

  5. Creativity and Collaboration: Acquiring Contemporary Art at the Birmingham Museum of Art
  6. Jennifer Jankauskas

  7. Collecting Period Rooms: Frank Lloyd Wright’s Francis W. Little House at the Metropolitan Museum of Art
  8. Morrison H. Heckscher

  9. A New Museum Builds A Collection: How one gift let to others. The James A. Michener Museum of Art’s acquisition success!
  10. Bruce Katsiff

  11. A Museum Defining Acquisition: The Murtogh D. Guinness Collection of Mechanical Musical Instruments and Automata. Morris Museum, Morristown, NJ, USA
  12. Steven Miller

  13. Unpacking the Baggage of the Lee L. Forman Collection of Bags
  14. Jodi Kearns, Fran Ugalde, Drs Nicholas and Dorothy Cummings  

  15. How We Got Our F-16 Fighter Falcon

James Walther

9. Community Collecting Conversions

Abantika Parashar

  1. History Collecting, Objects as Documents
  2. Steven Miller

  3. Barnum Brown’s Bones: Starting a dinosaur fossil collection at the American Museum of Natural History
  4. Douglas J. Preston

  5. Conclusion

Steven Miller

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Steven Miller began his museum career in 1971. He has served as a curator, administrator, director, trustee, writer, consultant, and museum studies educator. For sixteen years he was an adjunct professor teaching core courses with the Seton Hall University MA Program in Museum Professions, South Orange, NJ, USA.