Creating a Collection: A Tour Through the Smith College Museum of ArtMain MenuHow do museums build and unbuild collections?How This WorksInstructions on How to Use this WebsiteHow to Read a Museum LabelThis will help you navigate the SCMA and other museumsWhat is "Public Trust"?Why Museums CollectHow Museums CollectWhy Museums Remove Objects from their CollectionsHow Museums Remove Objects from their CollectionsSamantha Page4d4aad3cbb232d6b14d08c9a79a502129237df5c
Smith College Museum of Art
12017-04-13T13:58:12-07:00Samantha Page4d4aad3cbb232d6b14d08c9a79a502129237df5c156232Smith College Museum of Art (SCMA)plain2017-05-05T11:49:21-07:00Samantha Page4d4aad3cbb232d6b14d08c9a79a502129237df5c
Museums talk about "Public Trust" a lot. What does this mean and why is it important to the collection?
When museums talk about holding "public trust," they mean that the institutions are supposed to work for the public. This means that they don't work for just one person or one family, but they serve the entire community of museumgoers who walk through their doors.
The Incluseum, a website that thinks about how to make museums inclusive of many different types of people, says,
"The museum doesn’t serve the public trust simply by displaying art for its members, it does so by keeping and caring for the art on behalf of a greater community of members and nonmembers alike, preserving it for future generations to study and enjoy."
This idea of "preserving [art] for future generations" is important for understanding the rules behind how museums collect and deaccession art. If museums are supposed to think about future visitors at the same time they think about current visitors, museums must be very careful when they consider what artworks to buy and sell.
By studying the Smith College Museum of Art (SCMA) and its collection, we will explore how an art museum builds and unbuilds its relationship with visitors and the "public," too.