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Subject: Selection for preservation

Selection for preservation

From: Nina Duggen <nina.duggen>
Date: Monday, April 12, 1999
I would like to put this before you: Is it necessary for everything
that was made in the past and is still in existence today to be
preserved forever? Are time and deterioration the only criteria for
assessment, or do we have the right, or even the obligation, to
choose what is to be preserved for posterity?

The term 'de-collection' sounds relatively new, but the concept has
been relevant for some time. Museums are struggling with shortages
of space, funds and staff, and this puts the conservation of
collections under pressure. Selection is a major instrument for
achieving efficient management and conservation, qualitative
improvement and maximal accessibility of museum collections. It is
therefore important for museums to include both a selection and a
disposal policy in their collection plan.

The Ministry of Education, Culture and Science has asked the
Netherlands Institute for Cultural Heritage (NICH) to address the
issue of selection. The NICH's objective is threefold: to gain
insight, together with museum partners, in the selection process; to
lay down a code of conduct regarding selection; to bring problems
related to selection and disposal to the attention of the museum
field. To achieve this, the NICH will organise an international
congress in 1999. Selection criteria and selection problems will be
illustrated by means of examples taken from the museum practice.
Based on these cases, we can jointly formulate the elements of a
possible code of conduct. These elements will form the structural
contents of the congress.

The NICH is compiling a list of individuals and institutions
involved in the selection and disposal of cultural heritage. In case
you (or one of your colleagues) are interested in issues regarding
the selection of cultural heritage, I would be most obliged if you
would contact me, or if you would send me the names and addresses of
others. To bring my request regarding selection and disposal
problems and our congress in 1999 to wider public attention, you are
kindly asked to announce this subject in the museum journals of your
country. For further information on the Museum Selection Project,
please contact Arjen Kok (+31 20 3054673) or Nina Duggen
(+31 20 3054672).

The Netherlands Institute for Cultural Heritage (NICH) was formed in
April 1997, when three existing institutions merged. The key tasks
of these institutions came together in the NICH: the Central
Research Laboratory for Objects of Art and Science, the State
Training School for Restorers and the Netherlands Office for Fine
Arts. A new organisation thus came into being, a national centre of
knowledge with the ambitious and challenging aim to promote the
improvement of management and conservation of the movable cultural
heritage. In brief: 'The Netherlands Institute for Cultural
Heritage: knowledge for better management and conservation.' It is
the NICH's central objective to generate and provide knowledge that
helps improve quality: to advise, research, inform, train and
support. In Dutch we are called 'Instituut Collectie Nederland',
which refers to the object of our activities. "Collectie Nederland"
indicates the whole of movable cultural heritage managed and kept in
museums, archives, libraries and other public collections in the

Nina Duggen
Instituut Collectie Nederland
Onderdeel van het Ministerie van OCenW
Postbus 76709
1070 KA  Amsterdam
+31 20 305 45 45
Fax: +31 20 305 46 00

                  Conservation DistList Instance 12:81
                  Distributed: Tuesday, April 20, 1999
                       Message Id: cdl-12-81-021
Received on Monday, 12 April, 1999

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