Monday, November 19, 2012

How ‘Pawn Stars’ Crosses Paths With Museums

As programs like PBS’s “Antiques Roadshow” and the History Channel’s “American Pickers” and “Pawn Stars” attract millions of viewers by assessing crazy collectibles, august institutions like the American Museum of Natural History and the North Carolina Museum of Art are inviting people to haul in their heirlooms for expert appraisal.

“People think that museums and TV shows have little in common,” said Louise Mirrer, president and chief executive of the New-York Historical Society, “but there is tremendous crossover between these reality programs and our reality here on the intellectual and the emotional side.”  

Please view the entire article from The New York Times HERE.

1 comment:

Bruce Bernstein said...

There is more confluence than difference in the museum and art dealing worlds; and, an incredibly important one at that. In my view, museum professionals would be wise to cultivate these relationships. Collecting and objects are the very essence of museums, so wouldn't we be interested in anyone with similar interests and tastes.

To state the obvious, without private individuals donating art/objects and funds there would not be museum collections. But as important are the discussions about what is value and the cross-over learning that each group might learn from the other. Items that are high in monetary value don't necessarily have the highest value of cultural rarity. This is the teaching moment. Recently, I was contacted by Antiques Roadshow to settle a question of identity of a unique piece of Pueblo pottery. While it was clear how the antique dealer had arrived at her identification, it was to my advantage that I have had the privilege of studying many thousands of pieces in museum and private collections which the antique dealer had not seen. Writing an email about the correct identity of the ceramic animal was no different, if you allow me the latitude, than writing a text label to be used in the museum.

Certainly value is highly differentiated when there are sales of particular types of cultural heritage. However, for most of us the commonality of the museum and our homes is the presence of things, whether purchased haphazardly, curated with care, and/or inherited from a family member or predecessor.