A NEW COURSE IN COLLECTIONS MANAGEMENT AND DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY

by leslierankowfinearts

PARTNERING WITH NYU, GERI THOMAS, MUSEUM EXPERT AND FOUNDER OF A RECRUITMENT AGENCY SPECIALIZING IN WORK IN THE ARTS, HAS  DESCRIBED  THE HISTORY OF HER FIRM, HER BACKGROUND AND THE UNIQUE NYU PROGRAM. THIS WEEK, SHE WILL EXPAND ON THE TRAINING AND EXPERTISE THIS COURSE PROVIDES FOR THOSE INTERESTED IN POSITIONS IN THIS FIELD.

GERI, THANK YOU FOR YOUR DETAILED CONTRIBUTION. PLEASE TELL US MORE ABOUT THE ARTS COLLECTION MANAGEMENT PROGRAM AND THE SYNERGY BETWEEN YOUR EXPERTISE IN THE   RECRUITMENT FIELD AND THE SKILLS AND KNOWLEDGE THESE COURSES PROVIDE.

The Arts Collection Management Program at NYU is very new, two years old, and so popular that you are adding additional certification courses and programs. With the diversity of experience that you have had in the museum world and heading a recruitment and job search agency in the area of arts and culture, the program must be very sensitive to the needs of museums, galleries, exhibitors at art fairs and private collections of substantial holdings. Please explore for us the availability and scope of employment that a career in arts collection management can include.

WHAT IS THE VEHICLE THAT YOUR AGENCY CAN PROVIDE THE STUDENT WHO ATTENDS NYU’S PROGRAM IN ARTS COLLECTION MANAGEMENT IN A PROFESSIONAL CAPACITY?

As an agency,Thomas and Associates often places exhibition and collections staff in galleries, museums and private collections. Many art handlers, for example, are artists and with this certification, they are sought after for full-time positions and also to work on a free-lance basis, for instance, at many art fairs that draw both international and American exhibitions around the globe.

The course is under $7000 as opposed to a Master’s Degree program that runs anywhere between $60,000-80,000 per year. It is a practical approach which provides real learning skills that are valuable to the consumer whether it be a gallery, private collector or museum.

For example, the Samuel Harn Museum of the University of Florida is just opening its new 26,000 foot Asian art wing in March for which we put together the conservation and environment teams to work with the architect. That is just one of the many venues that is expanding and looking for specialists in not only curatorial but practical areas of the arts. In this collection, there are specific conservation and environmental issues because of the delicacy and rarity of the objects that require knowledgeable specialists.

YOU HAVE ADDED A NEW COURSE, BEGINNING THIS FEBRUARY, IN COLLECTIONS MANAGEMENT AND DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY. I FEATURED EXHIBIT-E, THE WEB DESIGN FIRM FOR THE ART WORLD, IN MY FIRST BLOG.

EXHIBIT-E HAS DEVELOPED GALLERY COLLECTION DIGITAL TEMPLATES AND IS NOW WORKING ON A COLLECTORS MANAGEMENT  PROGRAM –  OBVIOUSLY REFLECTING AN INCREASING DEMAND TO REGISTER AND RETAIN THESE RECORDS IN A MODERN FORM. AS AN ADVISOR,  I FEEL IT IS IMPORTANT  FOR MY CLIENTS  TO KEEP EXCELLENT RECORDS OF THEIR COLLECTION. WHAT IS THE FOCUS OF THE COURSE AND TO WHOM DOES IT APPLY?

The course is being introduced this semester and taught by the extraordinary William Yang, who is COO of ARTstor, an initiative to digitize and provide access to images in art, architecture, the humanities, and sciences with accessible suites of software, tools for teaching and research. The course is given in a lab with access to databases and includes such practical aspects as a session on the physical characteristics of scanning an object.

Museums and art institutions use advanced digital technology fora multitude of purposes, including the documentation of object information and corresponding digital images, security, and environmental control systems. Art institutions can  choose from  a variety of collection management systems and software for everything from cataloguing, loans, shipping, enhancing viewer experience, and widening public access to their collections. This course will provide a survey of the range of digital resources and tools available for collections management and explore how cultural institutions use these resources worldwide. It will address the timely issue of online publication of collections and other methods used by art, history and scientific institutions to increase accessibility to the public.

THIS OPENS UP THE FIELD FOR THE FUTURE BY CERTIFYING ARTS PROFESSIONALS IN THE MOST CURRENT LANGUAGE OF ARTS MANAGEMENT COLLECTIONS. NEXT TIME, I’D LIKE TO EXPLORE YOUR VISION FOR FUTURE ACADEMIC PROGRAMS AND THE DIRECTION YOU ANTICIPATE FOR THE ARTS COLLECTIONS MANAGEMENT FIELD.