Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Duluth Deaccessioning

Responding to my post yesterday connecting Nigel Warburton's thoughts on Scotland's Titian problem to various recent U.S. deacessioning controversies, Derek Fincham points out that "the difference in Scotland and the UK is the process is somewhat more regulated. If a work is slated for export outside of the UK, important 'Waverley' level works are temporarily delayed so funds can be raised. Perhaps a similar idea could work in the United States, though that idea is anathema to the ethos of many American cultural institutions which are often eager to acquire works to build collections."

He also identifies the next case on the deaccession docket: the City of Duluth is considering selling an antique Tiffany window located in a downtown railroad depot to help fill the city's budget deficit. The window is said to be worth between $1 million and $3 million. Derek wonders "what differences there might be between the city of Dulth's potential decision to sell the window, and the University of Iowa's potential decision to sell its Pollock." His advice: "I'd recommend to Duluth, that if it is considering selling the window, it give civic groups and interested parties an opportunity to raise funds to keep the window in Duluth (as the Waverley criteria accomplish in the UK), or try to work out a sharing agreement to allow the window to be viewed by its citizens. If so, then it seems like a good idea to allow the city to continue its day-to-day operations in exchange for auctioning off the window."