Leadership Ledger

August 29, 2019
Join in! CSAAM at AAM in 2020

This is the year for you to submit a session proposal for AAM in San Francisco!  The relative richness of Collections Stewardship’s session offerings at AAM is wholly dependent on what is submitted.  Were you hoping to see more, different, or specific collections topics at the next conference you attend? Help make that happen!!

In an effort to increase the diversity of panelists and make the proposal evaluation process more equitable, the first round of session evaluations are anonymous. Evaluators don’t see the names or the institutions associated with session submissions. That means that your session will be evaluated on its merits, and your idea can shine.

We, Valerie and Leslie, are this year’s CSAAM representatives to the AAM National Program Committee. We have many session ideas we’re happy to share, and we’re here to help if you have questions or want feedback on an idea. You can reach us at vhuaco@museumca.org, and freund@berkeley.edu 

The AAM website has a wealth of information about proposing a session, to familiarize yourself with all the particulars. September 23 is the submission deadline, but don’t wait for the last minute! 

Valerie Huaco and Leslie Freund

July 17, 2019
Planning for AAM 2020

Even though AAM New Orleans was just about two months ago, the planning for AAM 2020 is well underway. In very little time, we will be making plans to visit San Francisco and gather to share lessons learned, experiences, and best practices. 

Relatively soon, AAM will open the portal to submit sessions proposals for AAM 2020. This year, the window for submitting proposals will be August through September, just about 6 weeks. It is already mid-July, so August will be coming up much more quickly than expected. We need to start formulating plans for submitting proposals, gather speakers and be prepared for next May. It is imperative that collections specialists have plenty of sessions to submit, so that we have them to attend in San Francisco. 

The Collections Stewardship Professional Network Leadership is here to assist with sessions proposals. In addition to the elected officers (chair Sebastián Encina, chair-elect Linda Endersby, secretary Lindsay Palaima, secretary-elect Caitlin Podas), this year we have Valerie Huaco (Director of Collections, Oakland Museum of California) and Leslie Freund (Collections Manager, Phoebe Hearst Museum, UC Berkeley) offering their help with sessions proposals. Both Leslie and Valerie are representing Collections Stewardship at the National Program Committee, the board that gathers proposals and approves them for the conference. Leslie and Valerie, along with the leadership team, can work with you to fine-tune some proposals. 

This year, we hope to not only assist with reading and editing some proposals, but also to reach out to members to plant seeds for sessions. We know AAM would like to get sessions related to DEAI, technology, career management, financial sustainability, and a few other themes. Though these themes are not requirements, they provide a good spark for brainstorming. 

Proposals can be geared towards beginner “101” level topics, or they can look at functional area-specific topics or big-picture ideas. However, these are recommendations and your session will not be rejected for not following or fitting in these themes. 

We know that there are some topics that are popular for collections specialists. Deaccessioning is always a hot topic. Working with unique and challenging collections. Advocacy! Career management. Equipment and databases. Best practices. Findings and new ideas. Education. 

This is just a taste of what we can discuss. Please use those ideas to formulate a proposal. And if you do have interest, please reach out to the leadership and we can see if someone else is thinking the same topic. If we know about you, we can put you in touch so proposals are not duplicated. If you need more people to join your session proposal, we can also suggest colleagues who would best fit your session.

At any point, if you have any questions, feel free to reach out to your leadership team. Remember, we have a new email address you can use: collections@aam-us.org Send us a note and we will reply as soon as we can.

Thank you for your contributions and for all you do for collections and museums. We look forward to working with all of you.

Sebastián E. Encina
Chair, Collections Stewardship of AAM

Valerie Huaco

Leslie Freund

June 25, 2019
Notes from the Chair

It has been about a month since we all met in New Orleans for the annual AAM conference. To all the people who were present, who presented, who shared their presence with us, I thank you. Our organization, our community, this event, cannot happen without all of you. 

A lot happened in New Orleans. We had some great sessions, some wonderful get togethers, and a lot of important business accomplished. 

First, I want to introduce the membership to the new leadership. As of May, your PN leadership is:

Sebastián Encina, chair
Linda Endersby, chair-elect
Lindsay Palaima, secretary
Caitlin Podas, secretary-elec

I will serve as chair for 2 years, until 2021 in Chicago, where I will hand off responsibilities to Linda. Same for the secretary position, when Lindsay will pass the torch to Caitlin.

I want to thank our previous chair and secretary, John Simmons and Amy Heggemeyer. They both did so much for our group. To them both we owe so very much. Thank you for the years of service. We look forward to continued connections with you both for years to come.

We also now have a new email address! If you would like to communicate with Collections Stewardship leadership, email us at collections@aam-us.org. This email will go to the chair and chair-elect, regardless of who happens to be in that role at the time. Now communicating with us is much easier!

Those aren’t the only changes we have to report. Corie Audette has graciously taken over as Development Chair after many years of Suzanne Hale’s brilliance. Thank you, Suzanne, for all you have done, and thank you, Corie, for your willingness to take on this important role.

Over the course of the next year, we hope to accomplish so much. Of course, we will prepare for our annual meeting in San Francisco. We will work with you to have sessions of interest to our field.

We will present the Dudley-Wilkinson Award to a collections specialist who has made a significant contribution to our field. That person will be announced at our next meeting.

We plan to have new guidelines written for the professional network to codify our policies and practices.
We continue working on editing and updating the General Facility Report (GFR). We are working closely with AAM to get this to you. Be on the lookout for this later this year.

We will look for ways to connect with regional organizations more this year. We want to promote and support the work happening in each geographic region, within each state, even within more local areas. How that will look is still to be determined.

Thanks to AAM, we now have access to Zoom, an online video conferencing software. We will use this to connect with you and help educate on important matters that you want to learn more about. 

At a roundtable in New Orleans, I sat with a group of you and listened to what you had to share. I took detailed notes, and will look to implement what I heard. More on that to come!

The leadership hopes to be quite involved this year, and we need you to help us! This won’t work without collaboration, without teamwork. We are all excited about what we can do together. We are stronger together. We have the ability to accomplish so much.

Thank you to everyone who has contributed in one way or another to Collections Stewardship and to the field in general. There are so many of you that it would be difficult to list all of you. But please know your names are in my heart and my gratitude is sent your way.

If you have any questions, or concerns, or suggestions, or problems, please do not hesitate to contact us at any time. Remember, you can use our new email address: collections@aam-us.org 

We are eager to hear from you, to work with you, to connect with you.

Thank you, and here’s to a wonderful and successful 2019!

Sebastián E. Encina
Collections Stewardship of AAM

Bienvenue en New Orleans, CS-AAMers!
MAy 13, 2019

The American Alliance of Museums’ Annual Conference and Expo is nearly upon us and we couldn’t be more excited!

Early last year, the Collections Stewardship Professional Network sought out a local representative to welcome y’all to this fair city, offer tips and recommendations, and ensure your conference experience is as rewarding and enjoyable as possible. As the then-Collections Manager at The National WWII Museum, long-time CS-AAMer, and all-around New Orleans enthusiast, I happily volunteered. Without further ado:

Tip #1 Get out in the neighborhoods!

I love the French Quarter (Vieux Carré), as do many natives/residents. The really touristy areas (Bourbon St. and its immediate vicinity) only make up a small percentage of the neighborhood. I do recommend strolling through its quieter residential neighborhoods. But to truly experience New Orleans in all its rich culture and splendor, you need to experience the local scene.

New Orleans is such unique, vivacious, charming city - there is none like it in the world. There is something to see, eat, or do literally around every corner. The Marigny, Treme, Bywater, Lower Garden District, and Mid-City are a few of the lively neighborhoods to explore. See more details in the links under Tip #2

Tip #2 Eat, drink, and be merry

Needless to say, there are thousands of places to eat, drink, and enjoy all that is New Orleans. With the help of some wonderful friends and colleagues, I have compiled a list as well as provided a map (credit: Kate Swisher) of some great spots. Many establishments can fall under several categories because New Orleans is a social city. Where you eat and drink there will almost certainly be music and entertainment.

Note: These compilations do have some overlap but they are not identical. The map includes many museums, the list does not.



Tip #3 Transportation

There are several streetcar lines that can take you to most parts of the city. Jazzy day passes are $3.  A great alternative to Ubers and taxis is the pedicabs found around most tourist-y areas and can take you nearly anywhere. New Orleans also now has Blue Bikes, a bike share with stations located around the city. https://bluebikesnola.com/

Driving: Driving in New Orleans is pretty easy, with typical rush hour traffic. Note that celebrations, particularly Second Lines, are commonplace and happen frequently in several neighborhoods. They stop traffic and it’s accepted as part of the fabric of the city. Sit back and enjoy. *Driving to the French Quarter isn’t recommended, but if you do, I recommend parking on Esplanade or Rampart on edges of the Quarter. There are parking regulations/meters, so check the signage.* Limited paid parking areas are also available within the Quarter and on/around Decatur.

Tip #4 Use common sense

Don’t wander around  or walk back to your hotel late at night/by yourself/while intoxicated. Pickpockets target tourists in the French Quarter, particularly on Bourbon Street. Don’t go into the cemeteries alone, especially at night.  

Tip #5 General notes and suggestions:  Please don’t say “Nawlins.” NOLA is ok, but never “Nawlins.”  Also, a common mispronunciation is New or-LEANS. It’s pronounced New OR-lins.

  • Pack appropriately; it gets hot and humid. Bring an umbrella

  • Carry cash; some establishments/attractions are cash only

  • Consider using a pedicab for transportation; it’s many locals’ livelihoods!

  • Wear close-toed shoes if wandering around Bourbon St.

  • Don’t pick up beads off the street

  • Ride the St Charles streetcar uptown

  • Join a Second Line if you see one (or enjoy from the sidelines)

Tip #6 Remember you’re here for a conference

I hope you take advantage of all that New Orleans has to offer, but remember, of course, that we’re here to connect, learn, and affect change as museum professionals. Please note the following CS-AAM events and related gatherings:

Shipper's Party
Sunday, May 19, 7:00-10:00pm
House of Blues Voodoo Garden & Restaurant
225 Decatur Street
New Orleans, LA
RSVP was required by 5/3

Collections Stewardship Luncheon
Monday, May 20, 12:30-1:30pm
Registration required through AAM events

Hear what the leadership and your colleagues have been up to in the past year

Solutions Center Deaccession Toolkit
Monday, May 20, 3:00-5:00pm
Free, Expo Hall
Learn about the new deaccession toolkit

Collections Stewardship Emerging Museum Professionals Reception
Monday, May 20, 5:00-6:30pm
Free, but registration preferred through AAM

An opportunity for both emerging collections/museum professionals and established collections care professionals to meet and network

Solutions Center, Collections Stewardship
Tuesday, May 21, 4:30-6:30pm
Free, Expo Hall

We will discuss the results of AAM's professional network survey in 2018, what we learned, what Collections Stewardship can do for you in the future, how we can better connect with each other.

Tip #7 Ask me

This list only scratches the surface. If you have any questions or particular interests, I’m happy to help. Feel free to contact me at tiffanycharles@att.net.  I can’t wait to see you all in New Orleans!

Laissez les bon temps rouler!

-Tiffany Charles, Host City Coordinator

February 2019
Join us in New Orleans in May!

It is already February 2019, and the annual conference is right around the corner. We here on the Leadership Panel at Collections Stewardship have continued to keep busy, despite so many winter storms and school closings affecting so much of the country.

In just a few months, we will all gather together in the fun city of New Orleans for the annual AAM conference. This will be our opportunity to see familiar faces, meet new colleagues and friends, and connect with those people we correspond with on the listserv but have never met in person.

The Leadership Panel of Collections Stewardship has been working diligently behind the scenes to ensure your visit to New Orleans will be a splendid one. Tiffany Charles will act as city host, and will welcome you to New Orleans with plenty of recommendations to get around, places to visit, and things to do while in the city.

Our wonderful friends will again host the Shipper’s Party, so be sure to keep your eye on the listserv for your invitation and details.

Reinforcement Crew is back, and a call for volunteers to assist will be coming soon. This is a wonderful way to give back to the community, and also to make new friends.

Registration is still open for the conference, and events along with it. Be sure to register before March for your early bird rate. And when you do this, remember to register for the Collections Stewardship luncheon (Monday, 20 March at 1230pm). Also remember to register for the Collections Stewardship Emerging Museum Professionals Reception (Monday, 20 March at 500pm). Tickets for the reception are free, but we need to know how many attendees to plan for.

Of course, there will also be plenty of wonderful sessions to attend and learn from. Before arriving in New Orleans, look through the schedule and pencil which sessions you will want to attend. Too many to choose from? You registration includes speakers presentations so you can get the information you seek.

If this will be your first time attending an AAM conference, be sure to connect with another Collections Stewardship member. Going to the conference is a lot of fun. Going with a buddy or a group of friends is even more fun.

If you have questions about any events, any sessions, or anything taking place in New Orleans during the conference, be sure to reach out to the Collections Stewardship Leadership Panel. We will be happy to assist in whatever way we can.

Looking forward to seeing you all there.

Sebastián Encina
Collections Stewardship PN of AAM

November 2018
Call for Nominations

Dear CSAAM members,

The CSAAM Nominations Committee is seeking nominations for Chair Elect and Secretary Elect. The two-year term of service for winning candidates begins at the AAM Annual Meeting at the CSAAM Annual Business Luncheon in New Orleans, LA on May 20, 2019.  Upon the end of their terms, the Chair Elect and Secretary Elect will move into the respective offices of Chair and Secretary serving for two more years; hence, members interested in running for Chair Elect and Secretary Elect should consider a four-year commitment to the professional network. If you would like to learn more about the elected positions, please contact a member of the CSAAM Nominations Committee. To nominate or self-nominate, please submit a statement of interest and an updated CV to the CSAAM Nominations Chair by January 18, 2019.

Suzanne Hale, Nominations Chair

October 2018

The leadership of Collections Stewardship, a Professional Network of the American Alliance of Museums, applaud our colleagues of the National Emerging Museum Professionals (EMP) Network in their efforts to promote salary and hiring transparency within the museum field. We encourage our fellow Professional Networks to voice support of these endeavors as well.

We appreciate the statements of Laura Lott, President & CEO, AAM on October 4, 2018, https://www.aam-us.org/2018/10/04/leading-by-example-not-by-mandate/ . We agree with Laura, though we continue to believe that transparency in the hiring process through clearly stated salary and compensation information are necessary to support and promote AAM’s goals of Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion. 

Reviewing the definitions provided by AAM’s Working Group on Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion (https://www.aam-us.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/AAM-DEAI-Definitions-Infographic.pdf), we note the following:  

Diversity and Inclusion: In order for diverse individuals to fully participate in all aspects of the museum profession, fair salary and compensation are necessary.  

Equity: It has been well documented that the salary negotiation process perpetuates inequitable pay practices, negatively impacting women of color and women in particular. In order to promote equity in compensation, a stated salary range on job postings is necessary.

Accessibility: Unpaid internships favor those who can afford to work for free and do not provide an accessible method of entry to the museum field. 

For these reasons, we would like to see the following requirements to JobHQ, as presented by the National EMP Network (https://nationalempnetwork.org)  and Philadelphia EMP:

1.     Require accurate salary range 
2.     Paid positions only
3.     Include the name and title of the person to whom candidates should address applications
4.    Encourage that job posts accept relevant experience alongside degree requirements
5.     Include a breakdown of the hiring process and interview format 

Collections Stewardship

July/August, 2018

Planning for AAM 2019, New Orleans

Dear friends and colleagues,

The aftermath of Phoenix 2018 is still fresh on our minds, but it is not too early to start thinking about New Orleans in 2019. In fact, it is highly encouraged!

As you are aware, AAM will be meeting in New Orleans next year, 19-22 May 2019. This is an exciting opportunity for us, and it will be fun and informative and beneficial to us all.

Planning for the AAM conference takes a long time. We on the board have already started planning for events next year, speaking to our colleagues at AAM and other PNs. We are busy making sure your experience at AAM is a great one.

AAM staff is also hard at work, visiting the site and finishing the details on the conference. We all know how much work an AAM conference is, and we are thankful for all they do.

But we cannot do this alone. We need all of you to participate as well. The AAM conference would be nothing without all of you wonderful presenters and the valuable sessions you put together. We go to those and come away learning so much. We put your lessons to use in our home institutions, in our personal careers, and in the museum field in general.

The calls for sessions proposals has not come from AAM yet, but the time will come soon. In years past, session proposals are submitted in August, with closing deadline early September. Since AAM has not mentioned anything to us yet, the dates are flexible. However, this will happen suddenly, and the window to submit will draw close sooner than expected.

In order to make best use of time, it is advised that if you have not started working on session proposals yet, you get started! We on the Board are happy to assist you, in either working on topics, finding presenters, or being presenters ourselves. However, we need to start having those conversations now, as we only have a few weeks to submit everything.

For those who have been to AAM before, you know how much we value the sessions. New Orleans promises to be a heavily-attended conference, so we will need as many collections-related sessions as possible.

The Board is willing to assist in the process. We can and will suggest ideas that you can run with. We can scour the listserv to see what were the pressing topics this past year.

Please think about submitting a proposal for New Orleans. We have a CS representative on the review board who will push to get as many collections session as possible on the schedule. We just need to give the board plenty of sessions to choose from.

If there are any questions, please please please reach out and ask. Use the listserv to start conversations with your colleagues. Throw out ideas we would love to see. We need you and your brilliant minds to help.

As a reminder, you can reach your Board through the Collections Stewardship Web site: https://www.collectionsstewardship.org/who-we-are/

You can also contact us directly.

John at simmons.johne@gmail.com
Sebastián at sencina@umich.edu
Amy Heggemeyer at amy.heggemeyer@gmail.com

Thank you all, as always.

April 11, 2018

A Message from AAM Host City Coordinator Nate Meyers!

Greetings from Phoenix!

Well, technically not Phoenix.  Chandler, one of Phoenix's largest suburbs.  So let's start again.

Greetings from Chandler Museum!

Well, technically Chandler City Hall, where Chandler Museum staff are working while we go through a construction project that will quadruple the size of our museum.  It's an exciting time for us, just as it's an exciting time for Arizona's museums!  The Arizona museum community can't wait to show you all the great things our state, and our largest city, Phoenix, have to offer.

Within a few blocks of the conference center and hotels are several world class museums - Heard Museum, Phoenix Art Museum, Children's Museum of Phoenix, and Arizona Science Center. 

Small museum fan?  We've got you covered - Rosson House at Heritage Square, Arizona Latino Arts and Cultural Center, Wells Fargo Museum, and the George Washington Carver and Cultural Center are all nearby. 

Hop on the light rail or hail a ride share and in just a few minutes you'll find yourself at Arizona Capitol Museum, Desert Botanical Garden, Phoenix Zoo, Musical Instrument Museum, Downtown Mesa (with several great museums), Scottsdale's Museum of the West, or Arizona State University, which boasts over 30 museums and galleries on campus.

Love the outdoors?  You can't beat Phoenix in the spring.  Phoenix boasts hundreds of miles of hiking trails, including beautiful Camelback Mountain in the center of the city or South Mountain, the largest municipal park in the country.  Make sure you dress for warm temperatures, wear sunscreen, and drink lots of water!

Sports fan?  The Dbacks are off to a great start and their stadium is just two blocks from the convention center.  Year in and year out they boast the most affordable tickets in baseball.

I would never encourage anyone to play hooky from the conference....but if you were so inclined, sitting poolside, heading out to a rooftop or patio bar, or visiting a world famous shopping destination in nearby Scottsdale are great ways to spend your leisure time.

And then there's the food.  Phoenix is rapidly growing into a culinary destination.  So many incredible cuisines are available in our diverse city, and many restaurants feature locally grown and produced foods.  You won't want to miss Pizzeria Bianco, Haney's, Mother Bunch Brewing Company, or countless other restaurants within an easy walk of the conference.

So consider this your unofficial welcome to Phoenix, and all the amazing museums, restaurants, and activities you're going to experience in our great city while attending the AAM conference next month!

-Nate Meyers, Host City Coordinator

March 13, 2018

Summary: AAM's Deaccessioning Crises Workshop

In December 2017, AAM hosted a workshop called Don't Raid the Cookie Jar: Creating Early Interventions to Prevent Deaccessioning Crises. As with most folks in our field, I had become increasingly discouraged by what I was seeing in the news with other institutions and was very happy to see that AAM was opening the dialogue about Deaccessioning crises.

When I first signed up, I thought we might be touching on the ethical debate on the heels of the current events, but I was happy to see that the focus of the discussion was far from that. It was about warning signs and prevention. A week before the workshop we were sent these two questions which would be the basis of our discussion for the two days.

  • How can we create mechanisms for early detection? Are there early warning signs that could help surface and address potential deaccessioning dilemmas before they become crises?

  • What resources can we provide for support and intervention that would help give museums time to make measured and thoughtful decisions about deaccessioning and sale of collections?

Arriving at Harvard on December 14th, I was most surprised by one thing: How few Registrars were in the room. From what I could tell the majority of the 60 attendees were made up of Directors, Trustees, Curators, and representatives from national and regional organizations. I was also the youngest person in the room by many years. I admit this was a bit intimidating and I wondered if I completely misread what this seminar was about and it's target audience. But I was happy to be there. I could bring the emerging/midcareer perspective and represent collections staff.

Once the initial shock of being in the room with museum directors wore off, I found that I was pleased to be able to learn from our colleagues in positions of authority. We as collections professionals have a particular perspective when it comes to financial crises. Hearing from those who are continually looking at the broader picture helped me contextualize some of the reasons why one might see monetizing collections as a last-ditch effort to dig out of debt.

Over the two days, we worked through brainstorming what resources we could provide to museums that would help eliminate that "final hour" decision to monetize the collections. We have a lot of work to go, but I think we came up with some interesting ideas. I hope that this workshop is just the first of many on the topic as we work on the question that became my biggest takeaway: "How as a field do we hold each other accountable?"

AAM has put out a summary of the two-day workshop that does an excellent job of illustrating where our conversations led.  I encourage you all to take a look at it. A link is at the end of this post.

AAM's "Don't Raid the Cookie Jar" Summary Report

-Mell Scalzi, Web Chair

February 19, 2018

AAM Annual Meeting Registration & Events

It is already February, and before we know it, it will soon be May. In May, we will gather together in Phoenix for the annual AAM conference. Registration for the AAM annual conference remains open, and the Board of Collections Stewardship strongly encourages you to attend. By coming together in Phoenix, you will have the opportunity to meet your colleagues, learn from them, connect to new ideas, thoughts, and technologies. You are also encouraged to share your own stories, ideas, and thoughts. The annual conference is always educational and thought-provoking, and it is also an extremely fun time.

The focus of the conference, naturally, is the sessions where we get to learn from our colleagues and friends, where they share updates and news from their home institutions and new projects they have been working on. These tend to get us thinking about how we are working back home, what ideas we can bring back with us, and how we can continue to grow and expand the field. What we hear, what we see, what we engage with, spurs us to action, be it at home, or on the local level, nationally, or just within ourselves.

Besides the sessions, the conference allows us to engage with each other in other manners. There are the special evening events, hosted by local institutions. There are Meet-Ups, often organized by attendees. There is the Museum Expo, where we can learn about new services and tools offered to us by companies servicing museums.

As you register for the conference and these promising events, we remind you to keep certain Collections Stewardship events marked for attending. Each year, the Collections Stewardship Board gathers with its members at the business lunch in order to share with all of you the happenings of the last year. Here you will learn what the Board has been doing for you.

This is a ticketed event. No one without a ticket will be allowed entrance, as it is catered. When you do register for this, be sure to indicate any dietary preferences so you are served the proper meal. The lunch is scheduled for Tuesday, 8 May, from 1200-115pm.

Collections Stewardship will also be hosting the Reception for Emerging Museum Professionals. This is a free event, though we ask people to register. This is an opportunity for all of us to gather together, meet new faces in our field, and give them the chance to meet many of us who have been attending AAM for years. All members of Collections Stewardship are welcome to attend, as it is not for emerging professionals only. This will be held Monday, 7 May, from 500-600pm.

Finally, on the same Monday, the various AAM professional networks hold spaces at the Expo to discuss important topics arising in their field. Collections Stewardship will host the Marketplace of Ideas, where various roundtables will be set up to discuss topics relating to registry and collections.Topics will be announced beforehand. This, too, is a free event, no registration necessary. Be sure to visit to give your input on some important matters. The Marketplace runs from 300-500pm, Monday, 7 May.

It is only a few months until Phoenix, and already we are excited to see all of you there. We stand to learn so much, and have a fantastic time. If this is your first time attending, do not fret! It may seem overwhelming, but we are all here to assist you. And if you have been to many AAM conferences, there is still much to do and much to learn. A splendid time is guaranteed for all!

December 13, 2017

During this season of giving, one of the best gifts to yourself is time. Time to be inspired and engaged with new ideas, to interact with your fellow collections care colleagues, not to mention time to explore an exciting city. You can have all of this and more in Phoenix, Arizona during the AAM Annual Meeting and MuseumExpo. Join Collections Stewardship members May 6-9 as we explore this year’s theme of Educate, Engage, Elevate! Museums on the Rise. Early registration is now open, and you can lock in the lowest rates if you register by February 16.

Phoenix is a great location to visit with so many museums and cultural activities. Collections sessions on policies and preservation, working in new spaces, and even Collections Conundrums are on your plate if you attend. This is your opportunity to meet and share ideas, off-the-record horror stories, and generally have a good time.

To quote a former registrar: Be kind to your future self. Visit http://annualmeeting.aam-us.org to register. We look forward to seeing you in Phoenix in May.

September 13, 2017

Collections StewardShip Mission Statement Task Force

In May, the Registrars Committee of AAM (RC-AAM) officially changed to Collections Stewardship. This change was precipitated by a long discussion among many parties over many years, as the question of who RC-AAM represented kept springing up. Who was a registrar? For many, the name implied membership only for registrars. Those who identified with other titles felt as if they did not belong.

Along with the name change, Registrars Committee merged with the Art Handling, Collections Information, and Preparation Professional Network. This merger, coupled with name change, signifies a desire to reach out to a wider group of museum professionals, people who regularly work with collections but do not call themselves “registrars.” It is also an acknowledgement that the profession has evolved significantly since 1977 and encompasses a range of collections care professions. The Committee needs to acknowledge the contributions of many professional positions in order to further the mission of the CS, of AAM, and of our respective museums.

That announcement was approved by the AAM board and presented to the membership in St Louis at the AAM conference. When presented to the RC membership at the business luncheon, there were no objections. However, the work of the merger is not complete. Just as the name change was necessary, so is a review and change in mission. The original RC 1977 mission is still the mission of Collections Stewardship. That mission set to define the profession, a task that has been accomplished. The newly merged network must revisit the 1977 mission and consider it from many perspectives. We must be inclusive, we must honestly assess where our profession currently finds itself, and we must set sights for the future of the field.

A task force has been assembled to tackle this endeavor. This will not occur in a vacuum, as we will seek assistance from our colleagues and AAM. Before formal adoption, it will be shared with the CS membership for approval. We hope to have the new mission ready and available for distribution long before the 2018 annual conference in Phoenix.

If you have thoughts on the project, and care to make suggestions, please reach out to me, your Chair-elect. You can reach me at sencina@umich.edu.

We are excited to move forward with this, and to continue making Collections Stewardship work for all of us.

August 14, 2017

AAM 2018 Session Proposals

It is now August, and though AAM 2017 seems like it was only a few months ago, it is time to start planning for AAM 2018 (Phoenix). AAM has opened their portal for panel submission proposals, which can be found here:


AAM relies on the expertise of the field, and it is crucial to have collections-related panels every year. Even if you have just a basic idea, be sure to submit a proposal to solicit feedback, get others excited, and collaborate with colleagues who can assist. There are no bad proposals, so be sure to get something started.

Even if you do not feel like an expert on any topic, beginning conversations is the most important aspect at AAM. We are not always looking for answers, as examples and stories are just as important. How things went well, how they did not, where you succeeded, and where you failed. We all learn from your experiences, so be sure to share them.

The portal will remain open through 1 September, so please be sure to complete and submit your proposal by then. In the meantime, the Collections Stewardship Board will be happy to review proposals, so reach out to us to get feedback. If you need inspiration, next year’s theme is Educate, Engage, Elevate! America’s Museums on the Rise. Also, be sure to check the listserv, remember past discussions, or put to paper conversations you have had at your own institutions.

Phoenix 2018 may seem like a long ways away, but it will rush upon us sooner than expected. Let's generate some enthusiasm for seeing each other and working together. I am already excited to see all of you and hear the wisdom you can shine upon us.

Thank you.

Sebastian Encina
Collections Stewardship

July 20th, 2017

Greetings from the Board

Greetings on behalf of the newly re-named and re-organized Collections Stewardship Professional Network (formerly the Registrars Committee). As most of you know, at the 2017 AAM meeting, the Registrars Committee and the Art Handling, Collections Information, and Preparation Professional Network merged to become the Collections Stewardship Professional Network. By combining forces, we will be able to better address critical issues in collections management and collections care and promote the work of collections stewardship. We are all very excited to be leading this newly revised group, and look forward to using this space for Collections Stewardship board members to provide regular updates on the group’s plans and activities.

During the coming year, Collections Stewardship will be developing a new mission statement and goals in order to better promote registration and collections management with the American Alliance of Museums. For this, we are seeking input from the membership. What do you think are the most important issues and concerns that the group should address? What activities and initiatives would you like to see the group involved in? How can we as a group get our message out and get it heard? How can the board best serve its members?

One goal for the network is to find ways that we can work with similar organizations, particularly with the Association of Registrars and Collections Specialists (ARCS), to better advance the cause of collections care both in the United States and internationally. Thanks to Sebastian’s efforts on behalf of RC-AAM/Collections Stewardship, we already jointly administer a successful mentorship program with ARCS, and we will be looking for more opportunities to cooperate with other organizations in the future.

This is just the beginning, as we look at new initiatives and projects in order to promote the needs of collections staff. We will need your assistance and your ideas and voices as we move forward together.

Your board is eager and excited to serve in our capacity representing and working for you. We will be in communication on a regular basis, but please do reach out if you ever have any questions, complaints, or suggestions.

John E. Simmons, Chairperson
Sebastian Encina, Chairperson-elect
Amy Heggemeyer, Secretary
Lindsay Palaima, Secretary-elect

April 23, 2017

Announcing the Collections Stewardship Professional Network

The Registrars Committee of the American Association of Museums (RC-AAM) was established in 1977. Since that time, both the committee and the roles of registrars in museums have evolved considerably. Many other job titles have been created in the profession, including collections manager, collections specialist, preparator, and art handler. In addition, there were changes in the management of the professional networks when the American Association of Museums became the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) in 2012, particularly opening membership in all of the professional networks to any individual AAM member without additional membership fees.

A series of discussions about the changes that have affected RC-AAM culminated in a roundtable discussion at the Marketplace of Ideas at the 2016 American Alliance of Museums meeting in Washington, D.C. The roundtable discussion included Mary Case, long recognized as a respected leader in the field. Ms. Case, who was present at the founding of the RC-AAM nearly forty years ago, pointed out that the original purpose of the organization was to help define the profession, a goal which was accomplished some time ago, and that RC-AAM was now addressing more comprehensive issues of collections care. As a result of these discussions, a task force was formed from both RC-AAM and Art Handling, Collections Information, and Preparation Professional Network members to further consider the topic. Based on a consensus of task force and RC-AAM board members, a decision was made to change the name of the group to more accurately reflect its members and purpose and thus transition to serving a broader museum community who advocate for collections stewardship. The merger and name change was approved by the AAM Board of Directors in March 2017. The Board thanked the leadership of the two networks for their thoughtful and collaborative decision-making and for their focus on how to best serve the members.

At the business meeting during the 2017 AAM Annual Meeting, RC-AAM will officially become Collections Stewardship, and merge with another group long allied with registrars, the Art Handling, Collections Information, and Preparation Network (which started as an RC-AAM task force in the 1990s and became its own professional network in 1997). By combining forces and adopting a new name, Collections Stewardship will be able to address critical issues of collections management and collections care, and work with other peer organizations, such as ARCS (Association of Registrars and Collections Specialists) and PACCIN (Preparation, Art Handling, Collections Care Information Network).

We've put together a FAQ to help answer questions you may have.