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Museum Minute: Registrars

GMOA Registrars
Georgia Museum of Art
The people behind the magic of the museum: registrars!

You might not see the Georgia Museum of Art’s registrars when you visit the galleries, but you enjoy their work whenever you view an exhibition, admire a well-preserved object, or learn about art via our collections database. Registrars keep track of every object in a museum’s collection while using proper art handling and storage methods to preserve those objects for future generations. They catalog every object that belongs to the museum, capturing the facts that curators and educators use to tell those objects’ stories. Registrars also take care of objects on loan to the museum and do thorough condition reporting every time something comes in or goes out the door. A condition report is a bit like what you do when you rent a car, checking it for any damage before you take it off the lot. Registrars carefully look at the entire object and note any imperfections; that way, they’ll know if anything has changed later.

What else do they do? They organize incoming and outgoing loans, working with lenders and borrowing venues across the country and sometimes internationally. Registrars organize the specialized crating and shipment of art, maintain fine arts insurance, and review exhibition contracts and loan documents to ensure that the museum and borrowing venues meet standards for temperature, humidity, and security. It takes a lot of planning for a work of art to be ready for display, whether it arrives on a climate-controlled truck from across the country or comes out of an archival box in the museum’s storage vault. Either way, the registrars have it covered!