The Long Goodbye: Curation Through Careful De-accession

Posted on January 10, 2016

Sean Savage, Academy Film Archive
Stefan Palko, Academy Film Archive
Deborah Stoiber, George Eastman House

It’s simply not feasible to save all the media consigned to our institutions, and we must inevitably come to terms with our limitations in collection criteria, storage and staffing. In this session, representatives from the Academy Film Archive (AFA) and George Eastman House (GEH) will trace the journey of a hypothetical collection (illustrated by several real world examples), from arrival at the repository, to assessment and inventory, de-accession and disposal—in short, distilling a collection to essential material that effectively honors the work, artist and/or donor. Stefan Palko will discuss managing the unprecedented volume of incoming collections, and AFA’s tribunal process. Sean Savage will present examples from processing the Saul Bass collection and others, and consider what effectively amounts to curation at this level. Finally, Deborah Stoiber discusses the GEH’s drafting and implementation of new de-accession policies, and contending with large donations of 16mm film, technical books and video items.