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  • 1.  Collection Management - Appraiser for potential deaccesioning

    Posted 03-19-2024 02:08 PM

    Good Afternoon, 

    I recently started leading a small museum, which has been collecting for many years. From what I've seen in records and in practice, collection practices in the museum were a bit loose and the museum's collection is eclectic. Our location will be moving into a newer construction with less square footage. So we are looking into appraising the collection to evaluate if we deaccession some pieces. 

    Does anyone have experience with appraising collections for potential deaccessioning? Do you have any advice while I start embarking on this venture?

    Thank you all!

    Juliana Forero

    Coral Springs Museum of Art

    Juliana Forero
    Museum Manager
    Coral Springs FL

  • 2.  RE: Collection Management - Appraiser for potential deaccesioning

    Posted 03-20-2024 08:46 AM
    Dear Juliana - material value is not a reason to deaccession.  What's the real goal?  What are the institution's Goals?  its mission?  The measure must be how well the object supports and furthers the institution's mission, which appears to be " Featuring local, national and international artists over our 25 year history, our exhibitions have engaged and ignited careers and spurred countless conversations with emerging, mid-level, and accomplished artists alike. "

    You don't state how imminent the move is, but migrating collections is a significant undertaking that should include assessing whether the institution's mission remains true and appropriate for the community.  Perhaps the CSMoA is NOT a collecting institution?

    I'd suggest a CAP (Collections Assessment Program) from AAM which can be very cost effective and assist you in determining how well your collection is meeting the goals of your mission before migration.  It may even be premature for you to engage in a CAP... it's possible the more general MAP would be more appropriate first...


  • 3.  RE: Collection Management - Appraiser for potential deaccesioning

    Posted 03-20-2024 09:02 AM

    I think that Vivian's suggestion for your museum to engage in a MAP survey is a good one, although the application an approval process may take more time than you have, before your museum's major changes. It is well worth doing, in any case.

    Just to make it clear -- and you may with to look at the CAP website (, that program focuses on conservation and preservation (see below). I have been fortunate in being able to conduct qhite a few CAP surveys. and I have found that the subject museums find the program to be of great value in planning for conservation planning, grant applications, and so forth.

    "The Collections Assessment for Preservation (CAP) program provides small and mid-sized museums with partial funding toward a general conservation assessment. The assessment is a study of all of the institution's collections, buildings, and building systems, as well as its policies and procedures relating to collections care. Participants who complete the program receive an assessment report with prioritized recommendations to improve collections care. CAP is often a first step for small institutions that wish to improve the condition of their collections."



    Bruce MacLeish
    Curator Emeritus, Newport Restoration Foundation

  • 4.  RE: Collection Management - Appraiser for potential deaccesioning

    Posted 03-20-2024 11:47 AM

    I agree with both Vivian and Bruce that appraisal is not necessarily where you would want to start in evaluating your collection for deaccession, since value would usually be considered secondary to an object's importance within the scope of the museum's purpose and scope. However, if you do at some point need a valuation of some or all of the objects in your collection and want to find a qualified appraiser, I suggest that you consult the Find An Appraiser web pages on any and all of the three major professional appraisal societies for personal property appraisers: American Society of Appraisers (ASA), the Appraisers Association of American (AAA), and the International Society of Appraisers (ISA).  Each one has an accreditation process for member appraisers (personal property appraisers in the U.S. are not licensed). You can search by location and areas of specialization to find someone who fits your needs.  Also, be aware that if your collection is especially wide-ranging in terms of object type, you may need more than one appraiser.

    Melissa Leventon
    Curatrix Group
    San Francisco CA

  • 5.  RE: Collection Management - Appraiser for potential deaccesioning

    Posted 03-20-2024 11:49 AM
    Hi Juliana,
    Our Artwork Archive recorded webinar with Winston Art Group on appraisals may be of help:

    And we'll actually be covering deaccessions in an upcoming donation-focused webinar next week. Link to register:

    Best of luck!

    Elysian McNiff Koglmeier (she/her)
    Head of Partnerships
    Artwork Archive

    Part Time Hours
    Online: Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays

    National Organization for Arts in Health (NOAH) Board Treasurer

  • 6.  RE: Collection Management - Appraiser for potential deaccesioning

    Posted 03-20-2024 12:19 PM



    You can hire an appraiser who is certified with one of the two national appraisers organizations, Appraisers Association of America and the International Society of Appraisers. They have online directories of appraisers listed by state and specialization:



    It sounds like you want a fair market value appraisal report for inventory purposes. 


    I hope this is helpful.


    Best wishes,

    Martha Henry

    Certified Member, Appraisers Association of America


    Martha Henry, Inc. Fine Art

    400 East 57 Street, Suite 7L

    New York, NY 10022


    (917) 699 7894 Mobile

    (212) 308-2759 Office email










  • 7.  RE: Collection Management - Appraiser for potential deaccesioning

    Posted 03-21-2024 08:24 AM

    Hi Juliana! you've got a good number of excellent responses to what I'm sure you were hoping was a simple question! Most of the work I do is helping museums develop operationally sustainable collections. Here's how I usually approach an "oversized" collection.  

    1) Stop the flow mission-irrelevant objects into the collection:  Review, revise, and readopt the Collection Management Policy (if you have one). 

    2) Figure out what you have: Perform a high-level and eventually an item-level collection assessment. This will help you understand what objects really support the mission of the collection and which do not.

    3) Write down what the collection SHOULD contain to be a well-honed mission-delivery tool: Collection Development Plan. This is like a strategic plan for your collection (though there may be professionals who approach this a little bit differently). This is where you decide what to keep, what to deaccession (and disposal options for those deaccessions), and where to focus collecting efforts in the future.

    I know this seems like a huge amount of work (and it is!), it will help make solid, defensible decisions that you can transparently justify to the public.   

    Good luck!


    Erin Richardson PhD
    Founder and Principal
    Frank & Glory
    Cooperstown NY

  • 8.  RE: Collection Management - Appraiser for potential deaccesioning

    Posted 03-21-2024 01:15 PM

    Thank you everyone for this insightful comments and advice! Lots to unpack and excellent questions for us to review and think about. I appreciate your time and expertise. 

    ~Juliana Forero

    Juliana Forero
    Museum Manager
    Coral Springs FL