NY State Assemblyman Richard Brodsky
The recently released proposed final regulations governing deaccessions by museums and historical societies chartered by the NY State Board of Regents are a big step in the right direction. But they don’t go far enough.
What’s missing is a key provision of the bill introduced in the State Legislature (and later revised) by Assemblyman Richard Brodsky, which would regulate deaccessioning by all museums in the state, including those older institutions chartered not by the Board of Regents but by the State Legislature.
The Brodsky Bill would require that museums publish registers of deaccessioned objects and also “list an item for actual or potential [emphasis added] deaccessioning” on a new, statewide, online registry created by the Board of Regents and publicly accessible. This can realistically be accomplished, as the Indianapolis Museum has so effectively demonstrated under director Max Anderson‘s leadership.
Why does the public have a right to get a heads-up about plans to dispose of works from the public patrimony? The definition of “public trust” in the Regents’ proposed final regulations says it best:
“Public trust” means the responsiblity of institutions to carry out activities and hold their assets in trust for the public benefit [emphasis added].
We eagerly await the NY Times‘ catch-up story, which at this writing is absent from its pages (and its website). These new rules are highly newsworthy: They will have major impact on museums around the state and, potentially, around the country, because of their possible use as a role model.
I invite CultureGrrl readers who e-mail comments on these proposed regulations to the State Board of Regents (deadline: Sept. 25) to also send me a copy (or key excerpts) for possible publication. Just click my “Contact me” link in the middle column.
And and while you’re scanning that middle column…did you also notice my yellow button? Clicking that will perk up drooping CultureGrrl, the blogger who never sleeps (as witness last night’s post-midnight post!).