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AAMD’s New Antiquities Acquisitions Registry Now Online (but not the objects)

As promised in its new antiquities acquisition guidelines, the Association of Art Museum Directors has now created on its website what it calls an Object Registry. You need to read the description below the title to find out that this page has something to do with antiquities:

The AAMD Object Registry provides access to all relevant information
known about our members’ acquisitions of archaeological material and
ancient art lacking complete provenance after November 1970, the date
of the UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the
Illicit Import and Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural
Property….For information on individual museums’
acquisitions, follow the links to their web sites.

We can only hope that AAMD’s member museums DO provide additional information about such objects on their websites. As of this writing, clicking on the AAMD registry’s “Browse All” button elicits a statement that “there are no objects in the registry. Please check back again soon.”

You know that I will! One object that won’t be posted, because its provenance isn’t problematic, is the Getty Museum’s 3rd century A.D. Roman sarcophagus, an acquisition it announced on June 5, while the AAMD’s annual meeting was in progress:

The provenance of the Sarcophagus can be traced back to the
19th century to the Villa Rondinini in Rome. In 1852, it was purchased
by François de Corcelle, the French ambassador in Rome, and was in the
possession of his descendents in France until 1994, when it was
auctioned at Christie’s in London. It had been in a private collection
since then.

Nonetheless, the details in the press release gave me traumatic flashbacks to my visit to the Getty Villa last February—not because of acquisition issues, but because of installation issues. More on that later.
Interestingly, the Indianapolis Museum is credited with developing the database for the new AAMD registry. Max Anderson, Indianapolis’ director, has always been the Mr. Technology of the museum world.

And in other AAMD news: Mimi Gaudieri, the organization’s long-time executive director, will be stepping down, effective Dec. 31.

an ArtsJournal blog