Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Deaccessioning: Analyzing the Limits of Ethical and Legal Guidelines
by Ferrer, Crystal, M.A., California State University, Long Beach, 2018, 83; 10841000
Abstract (Summary)

In its extremes, deaccessioning—the practice of removing an object from a collection, can be a useful tool for pruning a collection, or in the cases covered by the media, a serious cause for ethical and legal concern. These latter instances cover a wide range of issues, which this thesis aims to explore to ultimately answer: Who is capable of enforcing deaccessioning when it goes awry, what are the consequences to be paid, and who pays them? The analysis herein uses as case studies two landmark deaccessioning campaigns of The Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1972 and the Rose Art Museum of Brandeis University in 1992, in addition to museum policy literature, analysis of the legal fiduciary structures of museums, periodicals, and industry blogs to lend a greater context. This thesis will demonstrate that central to the unabating nature of the deluge of deaccessions-by-sale is the lack of a clearly articulated stance of the legal system on these matters, inefficacy of ethical guidelines, and the prevailing trend of reducing the value of the art object into a financial asset by those the public entrusts with its safekeeping. Ultimately, I argue that the only efficient solution to regulate deaccessioning-by-sale is to increase legal regulations restricting the process, and increasing transparency on the part of museums.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Shaked, Nizan
Commitee: Proctor-Tiffany, Mariah, Simms, Matthew
School: California State University, Long Beach
Department: Art
School Location: United States -- California
Source: MAI 58/02M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Ethics, Law, Museum studies
Publication Number: 10841000
ISBN: 978-0-438-63374-2
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