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What the Martin von Wagner Museum Teaches Us About Collection Management

Museums face numerous challenges in maintaining and expanding their collections. A recent example is the Martin von Wagner Museum at the University of Würzburg, which launched a fundraising campaign to prevent the loss of valuable permanent loans. This situation underscores the importance of nurturing relationships with donors and managing collections effectively.

The Collection of Antiquities in the Martin von Wagner Museum is at risk of losing numerous important items. A collector couple had provided the museum with valuable pieces on permanent loan over many decades. However, after their passing, a descendant is now demanding the objects back to sell them, giving the museum the right of first refusal. Jochen Griesbach-Scriba, the museum’s director, estimated that acquiring the nearly 80 objects would cost around one million euros. Without a budget for acquisitions, the museum launched a fundraising campaign to retain these treasures, including Greek pottery, wine amphorae, and marble sculptures, which are vital for exhibitions and educational programs.

The Importance of Donor Relationships

Establishing and maintaining strong relationships with donors is crucial for any museum. Donors provide the financial support necessary to acquire new pieces, preserve existing collections, and fund exhibitions and educational programs. The case of the Martin von Wagner Museum highlights how sudden changes in donor circumstances can impact a museum’s collection. By using Museum Advocate’s tools, museums can build and sustain these essential relationships more effectively.

“It’s very desirable, because we are always trying to reach new audiences.”

Dr. W. Marvin Dulaney, COO, African American Museum of Dallas

How Museum Advocate Can Help

The recent fundraising campaign by the Martin von Wagner Museum highlights the importance of finding new sources of support. Museum Advocate’s software offers a powerful donor cultivation tool designed to streamline the process of identifying new potential donors rather than relying too heavily on current donors:

Helps museums identify new potential donors who are likely to support their collections based on their art and collecting preferences.

Provides detailed insights into the art collecting community’s preferences and interests by creating themes for each artwork. The software allows museums to see aggregated data on the most popular themes among potential donors and the general public at large.

The software enables museums to export art community profiles (excluding profile images) for use in their own email marketing and engagement campaigns. This includes exporting self-described budget, location, and email.

 

Holistic Collection Management

Effective collection management goes beyond acquiring new pieces; it also involves making strategic decisions about existing works. Our software assists museums in managing their collections holistically, ensuring that each piece serves the institution’s goals and mission.

Museum Advocate provides tools to assess the value and relevance of each item in a collection. By analyzing data on visitor engagement, historical significance, and condition, museums can identify works that may be candidates for deaccessioning. This process helps free up resources and space for more significant acquisitions.

By managing your back storage with ease through artificial intelligence (AI) and audience insights, your museum can free up more space, and your staff can have more time. This allows you to more easily manage the acquisition process to improve your collections.

Museum Advocate’s inventory management system tracks the location, condition, and provenance of each item in a collection. This ensures that all pieces are accounted for and properly maintained, reducing the risk of loss or damage.

The recent appeal by the Martin von Wagner Museum serves as a reminder of the challenges museums face in maintaining their collections. By leveraging the tools and insights provided by Museum Advocate, museums can nurture relationships with donors, make informed decisions about their collections, and ensure their long-term sustainability. Our software empowers museums to manage their collections holistically, providing a comprehensive solution to the complexities of modern museum management.

Free Inventory Assessment

Take your museum to the next level by performing an inventory assessment.

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