After a quarter century managing the Galt Museum’s collection, Collections Tech Kevin MacLean has developed conclusions on cultural objects and their capacity to transmit who we are and where we live.
One unintended outcome of his thinking is a more efficient use of resources.
At the beginning of his career, MacLean found that the Galt valued its objects on near physical form alone. This contrasts with today when their value is equally measured by the no. and quality of words solicited on their distinct ownership and use.
This shift did not happen overnight.
First, it took MacLean several years to recognize his privilege in being able to connect with specific living memory.
Second, he decided that best practice was to solicit and record objects’ contexts…at the point of donation.
Objects’ voices in the Museum should come from persons intimately familiar with them. Intangible voices are what make the Galt’s objects unique to its communities and region, expanding their value for interpretation, personal connection and Museum use.
Which returns us to sustainability. The greater the extent to which we develop our objects’ intangible value, the more useful objects are to us. Museums can do more with less. Simply being “old” is not good enough.