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Sharing Authority: A Community-Minded Collection Development

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Mackensie Hotz

on 2 September 2014

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Transcript of Sharing Authority: A Community-Minded Collection Development

Sharing Authority: A Community-Minded Collection Development Policy for the Burke Museum Japanese Folk Art Collection
Wilson O'Donnell, Chair, Associate Director of Museology
Dr. Holly Barker, Curator of Pacific and Asian Ethnology

Mackensie Hotz
Museum Theory
Museums of Anthropology & Ethnology
Art Theory
Folk, Craft & Art: The Problem of Definitions
Collecting Theory
Objects, Sustainability & The New Museum
Japanese Folk Art
Informal Interviews
Content Experts
Community Survey
Target Audience
UW faculty and students who identify as Japanese or Japanese American.
Document Analysis
Exhibition Catalogs
Gap Analysis of the Existing Collection
Defining Folk Art
Functional object handmade by people with a common identity, that is an expression of tradition.
Functional and Utilitarian
Continuous Tradition
Collective or Community Identity
New Museum Theory
“A museum is made a museum by its collections…”
"The most important change in the nature of institutional collecting is rooted in the changing nature of the museum itself from a focus on collection to a focus on public service."
Mingei: Japanese Folkcraft
“It is my belief that while the high level of culture of any country can be found in its fine arts, it is also vital that we should be able to examine and enjoy the proofs of the culture
of the great mass of the people, which we call folk art.”
Soetsu Yanagi
Why Japan? Craft Industry in Japan
: Create a collection development policy for the Japanese Folk Art Collection of the Burke Museum's Ethnology Division.
: Utilize a community outreach tool to aid in the formation of recommendations for the collection development plan.
Relevant Museums
Museum Collections
Framework for Collection Development Policy
Completing the Collection Development Policy
UW Faculty in Art History, Anthropology, & East Asian Studies
Local gallery owners who specialized in Japanese Folk Art
1: Museums with similar collections
2: Museums with community-based missions
Mingei International Museum
Japan Folk Crafts Museum
Brooklyn Museum
Museum of International Folk Art
Pacific Asia Museum
Seattle Art Museum
Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience
Japanese American National Museum
National Museum of Mexican Art
1. Determine which categories of objects to include in the CDP.
2. Deduce a set of iconic pieces.
3. Provide a standard against which other collections could be compared.
Object Categories
Iconic Pieces
Collection Standard
Frequency Analysis
Distribution Analysis
1. Folk art collections
2. Local museums with a focus on Japanese or East asian art or culture
Folk Art Collections
Local Collections
Survey Question
You are designing a museum exhibit, and the topic is traditional Japanese art and culture. What objects would you choose to display?
Distribution Analysis of Burke Collection
Object Category Analysis of the Burke Collection
Community Survey-Based Recommendations
Community Survey Results
Two types of recommendations were made for the Collection Development Policy:
: Focus on acquiring iconic pieces that are not represented in the collection, as determined through the frequency analysis of exhibition catalogs.
: Focus collecting on categories that are either underdeveloped or are typically underrepresented other museums
The Burke should focus their collecting efforts on acquiring the iconic pieces that are currently unrepresented in the collection, as well as focus on further developing their collections of Ainu Folk Art, folk basketry, folk masks and puppetry, folk toys, and Okinawan Folk Art.
: The analysis of exhibition catalogs was conducted under the assumption that they provided the most iconic examples of Japanese folk art. The process of curating an exhibition is ultimately a subjective process.

: Analyses of other museum's collections were performed under the assumption that representative samples of the whole were available for research

: The sample size of the community survey limited the conclusions that could be made.

Further exploration of the role that the community can play in the processes of a museum is needed.
Museums of anthropology are primarily concerned with the material aspects of culture.
"New museum theory is about decolonizing, giving those represented control of their cultural heritage."
Ethnology is the branch of anthropology that studies and compares different cultures, analyzing their historical development and the similarities and dissimilarities between them.
“The artifacts of folk art exist as complementary syntheses of the practical and aesthetic”
Henry Glassie
Mingei as strictly defined by Yanagi no longer exists.
Certain areas are commonly underrepresented in collections of Japanese Folk Art
Each museum seems to have one or two areas where they are strongest
It does not seem that local museums are collecting Japanese folk art.
Traditional Clothing
New Years & other traditional holidays
Tea ceremony
Traditional clothing is well represented in the Burke's collection
Materials associated with tea and the tea ceremony are well represented.
Several items relating to New Years and festivals are represented in the Burke's collection.
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