Monday, June 21, 2010

Guest Blogger: Tommie Rodgers

At the Museum: Collections Database Now Online

Lauren Rogers Museum of Art is pleased to unveil its newly redesigned website, It has a crisp, clean look as well as additional information concerning the Museum, its collections, classes and events. You can keep up with us on a daily basis through Facebook and Twitter as well.

If you need to do art research for your classes or you’re an art lover who just can’t get enough of the Museum’s collections, you will enjoy the access you can have to all of the Museum’s art.

Thanks to a $10,000 matching grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Museum was able to purchase equipment and hire a part-time cataloguer to photograph, scan images, and compile data from the accession records, the artist files, the Museum’s library and the Internet. This compiled information resulted in a well-completed catalogue within the Past Perfect Collections Database system for the Museum staff.

The Museum hired Anna Smith, a former intern, who holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Museum Studies, to compile the information for accessibility. She worked directly with Curator Jill Chancey and Registrar Tommie Rodgers. Since the position was temporary and created just for this grant, the system will be maintained by the curator and registrar.

The Past Perfect Collections Database allows staff to create accession and deaccession records, loans, condition reports, appraisal records, as well as track locations, create exhibit lists and perform research using specific parameters (i.e., Mississippi artists, works on paper, Choctaw baskets, etc.)

The completion of the two-year project now allows the Museum to share selected non-confidential information with anyone who has access to the Internet. This availability means that our local school children, college students, academic researchers, as well as people from all corners of the globe have equal access to any object that the Museum has accessioned into its collection.

When one views a catalogue record, they see an image of the artwork and pertinent data such as artist name, title, date, size, medium, technique, credit line, accession number, provenance, and related publications.

Each image is watermarked with the Museum’s name printed across it in faded letters. This marking is intentional and prevents viewers from downloading or using the images for publication purposes. Anyone interested in using an image from the collection must contact the Museum directly for permission and pay the related fees associated with reproduction rights.

One must also contact the copyright owner when obtaining permission to use an image. While the Museum owns the objects in its collections, we do not own copyright to many of them. In fact, we do not own the copyright on most images created after 1940 so the researcher will need to obtain the copyright permission from the artist or entity representing the artist’s estate. To access the database of artwork, go to the Museum’s website, click on "Collections," then click on "Collections Database." Work can be searched by a keyword or a researcher can perform a random image search.

To request images and permission to use them, click on "Collections," then click on "Rights and Reproductions." Under this heading, one can download the Fee Schedule and the Image Request Form.

I hope everyone will take advantage of the research options now available. We thank the National Endowment for the Arts for their financial support for this project.

Tommie Rodgers is the registrar at the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art.

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