Wednesday, October 24, 2007


The start of the New Year will be very busy for the Registration Office here at the Addison. Five shows will close at the same time, four of which are composed of objects lent by private collectors and institutions. Meanwhile, William Wegman: Funney/Strange will also close at the Wexner Center of the Arts. It will be up to us to arrange returning the objects from all these exhibitions to their lenders. That means, this time around, dispersing a total of 362 different objects to 67 individual lenders.

This is no simple task. We can’t just pop objects into the mail. In most cases, we use fine art shippers: companies that specialize in safely handling, packing and transporting antiques and artwork. There are several different ones that serve the New England region, but it’s up to the Registration staff to decide which would be best to use for each shipment. Our decisions are based on what other regions those shippers serve (for example, we would not use a local company to transport something to California), what kind of trucks they use (you can’t ship a huge painting requiring a tractor trailer with a company that uses only straight trucks), how much they charge, and, most importantly, what the lenders require. For example, a lender may want a courier to accompany their object. We need to find a shipper who can accommodate a courier and will be able to provide the most direct route between us and the lender’s home.

The upside to having so many returns is that we can save money by combining shipments. If objects from two or three different shows are being returned to the same area, we can make those shipments on one truck. It does get very complex, though, working this out, especially given that four shows are dispersing from the Addison and one will be dispersing from Columbus, Ohio. It’s enough to make the head spin of even the most savvy of Registrars.

Thankfully, our winter shows will draw more heavily from our permanent collection. This will help as we start another major project: packing and moving our entire collection off site as we prepare to shut down for renovation. That’s probably the biggest dispersal we’ll ever have to arrange!

James Sousa
Associate Registrar for Collections and Archives

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