Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Inventory's Hidden Treasures

Collections inventory is an important part of the work we do here. We need to track the locations of the 16,067 objects in our permanent collection. This is not an easy task given how often our exhibitions change, how many objects we send out on loan, and how often our collection is used in-house for study. Inventory not only keeps us on top of where everything is, but it gives us the opportunity to rediscover treasures in our storage areas that rarely see the lights of the exhibition galleries.

Recently, I came across our Larry Stark print collection (see right)while resolving some outstanding inventory issues. Research into our archives indicated that Mr. Stark and former Addison Director Chris Cook made an agreement years ago that the Addison would be the repository of one copy of every print he made. We now have almost 400 prints by the artist.

We recently made a similar agreement with Carroll Dunham, a Phillips Academy alumnus of 1967, who, just a few months ago, gifted us one of every print he made, totaling over 200 pieces in all. We are organizing a traveling show of his work next year.

We are also the repository of the George Tooker archive (see left) which came to us in 1996 and contains nearly 200 studies and drawings by the artist, also a Phillips alumnus, of 1938. Representatives from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and the National Academy Museum and School of Fine Arts were here recently to select objects for a George Tooker exhibition they'll be organizing next year.

As they were studying the Tookers, they asked me which little-known, hidden treasure in the Addison's vaults is my favorite. I chuckled, saying, "I couldn't possibly choose just one object!" There are too many objects and I'm discovering new favorites with each and every inventory. Who knows what the next one will bring to light?

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On a slightly related note, today Margaret Leahy, our Assistant Registrar and Development Associate, finished her two year project scanning over 12,000 slides of our collection from our archives. This now allows us to post digital images of over 80% of our objects online. Congratulations are in order for a job well done!

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