You Can’t Keep ‘Em All: ADC, Part 17

“You can’t have everything,” Steven Wright once quipped in his trademark deadpan monotone. “Where would you put it?”

With apologies to Mr. Wright, this week’s Blog asks: Why Not?

Why can’t we have everything? We can make room for one more, can’t we?

Unless you’re collecting farm tractors, there’s always room for one more. Another piece of pottery can be accommodated. As can another chair or side table. We can squeeze in one more candleholder, can’t we?

OK, maybe not one more grand piano. (Though I do know a couple who house two in their dining room. One teaches music. It’s their story, and they’re sticking to it.)

But for most things collectors collect, isn’t there always just a little more room available? What if you scrunch this with that?

As we liked to say in New Jersey: “Ga-head.”

One solution, should one reach the maximum space available, is de-accessioning.

That’s something museums do. They let go of items in their collection. But they do so neither willy-nilly nor mindlessly.

And if we collectors re-label our collection thinning “de-accession,” then we can bask in the halo of their reputation and stature.

Museums follow a process and have a procedure for de-accessioning objects from their collections. Institutions in New York, for instance, may soon have to follow a new set of rules associated with de-accessioning.

Betty Flood reported on the NY State regulations in Maine Antique Digest: http://www.maineantiquedigest.com/stories/new-rules-for-deaccessioning-in-new-york/3670

In most cases, the museum de-accession process is governed both by the organization’s internal rules and by external guidelines. And in virtually all instances, at least for museums receiving support or funding from governmental sources, those sources have rules that must be adhered to.

They are not suggestions, in other words.

Luckily for we collectors, in this regard our behavior is not governed by rules or laws.

And while Space may be infinite, our space isn’t.

“Small world,” Wright (again) drolly noted. “But I wouldn’t have to paint it.”

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