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Authentication at a small museum: the kindness of strangers
Author(s): Douglas K. S. Hyland
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Paper Abstract

Over the last twenty years, I have served as curator and director of several small and medium size museums including the Helen Foresman Spencer Museum of Art, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas; the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, Memphis, Tennessee; the Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham, Alabama; the San Antonio Museum of Art, San Antonio, Texas, and most recently, the Fuller Museum of Art, Brockton, Massachusetts. The largest budget approached three million dollars, minute in comparison with the Metropolitan Museum of Art of the National Gallery. Our resources were limited and the demands of building maintenance, programs, acquisitions and conservation far outstripped the amount of money available to be spent. Each museum housed between five and thirty thousand art works and generally speaking the collections were eclectic. It is not unusual at these city museums to find extraordinary oddities ranging from the finest Wedgwood collection in the world in Birmingham to the most extensive group of Latin American folk art objects to be found anywhere in San Antonio. Each year museums of comparable size are offered thousands of art works on all shapes and sizes form all periods and cultures. Only rarely does the staff have the expertise to evaluate and determine the authenticity of the eclectic group of objects both in the collection and being offered. With few curators and in many cases even fewer local experts to call upon, the museum professional must be both bold and creative.

Paper Details

Date Published: 16 March 2000
PDF: 6 pages
Proc. SPIE 3851, Scientific Detection of Fakery in Art II, (16 March 2000); doi: 10.1117/12.379874
Show Author Affiliations
Douglas K. S. Hyland, Fuller Museum of Art (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 3851:
Scientific Detection of Fakery in Art II
Duane R. Chartier; Walter McCrone; Richard J. Weiss, Editor(s)

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