Creating a Collection: A Tour Through the Smith College Museum of Art

Sale or transfer of objects

When removing an object from its collection, a museum may choose to sell the work, transfer it to another institution, or destroy it (in extreme circumstances, when the condition is in bad shape). Here we will focus on selling or transferring objects.  

When the SCMA sells, exchanges, or transfers an artwork, it might to so to another institution OR to an established dealer. The SCMA might sell an artwork at public auction, or it might give the artwork to another museum that can take better care of the artwork.

In the 1940s deaccessioning, the SCMA sold artworks to dealers, Harry Eichleay, and Gimbels Department Store. 

The museum also could exchange the artworks for another by the same artist or with a gallery. 

Transfers of works of art are often internal, within the museum or affiliated institutions. For example, the SCMA has a lot of artworks that were transferred from the Rare Book Room, a special collection housed in Neilson Library. 

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