Collections with legs

Why is the New York Times taking notice of a dispute between a library director and trustees in the small hamlet of Little Falls, NY?  Perhaps the library’s surprisingly mobile collection has something to do with it:

“A 13-star flag and an invitation toAbraham Lincoln’s inaugural ball should never have been put up for auction, argued the director, Marietta Phillips.”

Most institutions have to cull their collections from time to time, but said flag may have adorned Washington’s headquarters at Newburgh.  Might’ve been a good idea to hang onto that one.

“And she was also bothered, she said, that trustees sometimes took artifacts home, for good reason, perhaps, but without anyone’s bothering to note it on her sign-out sheet at the circulation desk.”

Oh my.

The notion of trustees carting items off without so much as initialing a form is, to put it mildly, distressing.  This isn’t a field where you’re encouraged to take your work home with you.

Maybe the fact that these folks were shedding themselves of some of their more significant holdings isn’t such a bad thing after all.

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Filed under Museums and Historic Sites

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