The art of removal: An analysis of deaccessioning in clothing and textile teaching collections

Kristin Morgan DeiTos, University of Rhode Island

Abstract

This thesis is an analysis of deaccessioning and disposal policies and procedures in clothing and textile academic collections. As a collections management tool, deaccessioning, or the removal of an object from a collection, is a recognized part of museum stewardship. High profile controversies have increased interest in the ethics surrounding deaccessioning and disposal, yet little scholarship explores the realities of the processes in relation to ideal museum practices. Smaller museums and collections with unique missions are often left to interpret policy guidelines and literature meant for large museums. Clothing and textile teaching collections are institutions that vary in teaching mission and internal structure from the typical large art museum. This in turn affects their policies, criteria, justification, and procedures of deaccessioning. This thesis discusses the information provided from interviews with thirteen clothing and textile teaching collections staff on their deaccessioning policies and practices, including motivations/justifications, criteria for object selection, disposal methods, successes, and challenges as a compendium of the act. This study found that clothing and textile teaching collections’ staff are engaging with deaccessioning and disposal, creating formal policies and procedures, and informing their choices with literature on museum best practices. Ten out of thirteen academic clothing and textile collection’s staff interviewed use deaccession and disposal to better serve their mission and collection objectives. The lack of collections management literature focused on these collections serves as a hindrance in systematic deaccession and disposal. Further research and development of collections management guidelines are vital for the support of these unique collections.^

Subject Area

Cultural resources management|Museum studies|Textile research

Recommended Citation

Kristin Morgan DeiTos, "The art of removal: An analysis of deaccessioning in clothing and textile teaching collections" (2016). Dissertations and Master's Theses (Campus Access). Paper AAI10103225.
http://digitalcommons.uri.edu/dissertations/AAI10103225

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