Category Archives: Announcements

Free Webinar Series:
Management 101: Getting a Grip on Collections Management

There’s a great series of free webinars coming up, organized by the Connecting to Collections Care Online Community ( The topics are different aspects of collections management, the webinars run always 2:00 to 3:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (time zone of New York):


September 15, Webinar 1: Basic Condition Reporting

Deborah Rose Van Horn

Basic Condition Reporting


September 22, Webinar 2: Managing Previously Unmanaged Collections: A Survival Guide for Messes Great and Small

Angela Kipp

Managing Previously Unmanaged Collections: A Survival Guide for Messes Great and Small


September 29, Webinar 3: There’s a Form for That: Documenting Your Collections

Beverly Balger Sutley

There’s a Form for That: Documenting Your Collections


October 4, Webinar 4: A Place for Everything and Everything in Its Place: Conducting (and Maintaining!) a Collection Inventory

Maureen McCormick

A Place for Everything and Everything in Its Place: Conducting (and Maintaining!) a Collection Inventory

You can either register for each individual webinar on the webinar’s page or you can register for all four webinars here (and earn a Credly badge if you attend them all):

Management 101: Getting a Grip on Collections Management

Of course, I feel especially honored to be part of a series where the other sessions are held by people I’ve been looking up to for years.

Hope to ”see“ some of you there!



Registrar Trek goes Milano!

Dear Registrar Trekkers,

I’m all excited that I will present a short paper together with Rupert Shepherd from the National Gallery in London at the CIDOC Conference in Milano. It is called ”Spreading the word: Explaining what Museum Documentation is and why it’s important“. We are part of the ”Introduction to Documentation Standards“ session that is scheduled for the 4th of July, 4 to 6 p.m.

photo by hikersbay via pixabay

Duomo di Santa Maria Nascente (photo by hikersbay via pixabay)

At the moment we are finetuning our talk which will be about the importance of initiatives like the hashtag #MuseumDocumentation, this very blog and all other projects who aim to make documentation and collections management more visible for the public and decision makers.

As the CIDOC conference is part of the big ICOM conference it will also be a great opportunity to meet colleagues I haven’t seen in years as well as meeting people I know so far only from the internet. I’m especially excited that I will meet our Italian translator Marzia Loddo in person. 🙂

And of course, I will write a short report on how it’s been when I’m back. Don’t forget to follow the hashtag #CIDOC2016 if you want to know what is going on.

See you in Milano!

This post is also available in Italian translated by Silvia Telmon.


Have a great time at ERC 2016 in Vienna, dear colleagues!

As we are close to the opening of the European Registrars Conference in Vienna, I wanted to send a quick reminder that we are glad to post session reports or general reviews and impressions about the conference at Registrar Trek. We already got some volunteers (thank you so much!) but we also have enough web space to post more reports. 🙂

I’m glad to inform you that Else Prüstner from the Steering Committee dropped me a line saying that the organizers are glad to provide information and help for our reporters. The ARC (Austrian Registrars Committee) colleagues who are with the organizing group will be visible at the conference, so just ask them for assistance if you have questions.

Have a wonderful time!


Ooops- Managing Previously Unmanaged Collections is already out!

Yesterday, I was taken by surprise when our library sent me a mail that they had just received their copy of “Managing Previously Unmanaged Collections” and were about to catalog it. Two hours later I received an email from my dear colleague Susanne Nickel with congratulations as she received her copy. Throughout the whole day, while I was desperately waiting for an important transport to arrive at our museum, the mails from contributors saying “just received my copy” hit my inbox. It seemed like literally EVERYBODY had my book in hand before me.

When I finally came home my heart missed a beat when I saw a parcel sitting in my backyard – soaking wet in the pouring rain. But fortunately, when I opened it, all was well:

P1020449 (2)

The best news is: My publisher, Rowman & Littelfield has provided a special perk for you, our faithful readers: you can get 30% off the list price if you order it directly from them, see this flyer for details (unfortunately, this is only valid for U.S. orders):

Managing Previously Unmanaged Collections Flyer

Now, with one day delay I finally managed to inform you all. Thank you so much for the support and I’m about to produce a more thoughtful celebration post. 🙂


This post is also available in Italian, translated by Marzia Loddo and in Russian translated by Helena Tomashevskaya.


In Search of Reporters for ERC 2016 in Vienna!

Dear readers,

Totally unrelated cat content. But isn't she cute?

Registrar Cat wants YOU to volunteer. Well, kind of…

sometimes life gets in your way. Due to more important family duties I will not be able to attend the European Registrars Conference in Vienna (more info: next month. As I initially planned to inform you all with session reports I am now looking for volunteers to step up. Who will attend and feels like writing something about the event? Or reporting on a single session that inspired him or her? Or a session that made him/her mad? These reports are all very welcome. Please leave a comment if you are willing to volunteer.

Thank you all very much!


High-Flying Project: Reconstructing the Junkers J1

Ever happened to you? You lose sight of a former colleague or fellow student and then, years later, you stumble upon an awesome project, just to discover that exactly this colleague is involved. When I learned that there will be a kickstarter campaign to reconstruct the first all-metall aircraft, the Junkers J1, I, as a technology enthusiast, was excited.

The Junkers J 1

The Junkers J1, undergoing flight preparations in late 1915 in Döberitz, Germany

Even more when I learned that Fabian, my fellow Museum Studies graduate and colleague from the days we developed the clay brick exhibition at the Deutsches Museum in Munich was involved. Of course I had to support the campaign, so here he introduces the project:

Dear Collegues,

we start on May 2nd, one of the largest support campaign for a museum project in Europe at Kickstarter.

It is one of the most important pioneer aircraft, the Junkers J1 that should be reconstructed in a 1:1 scale model. The J1 was the world’s first all-metal aircraft and it had its first flight 100 years ago. It was such an important masterpiece of aviation, that it was exhibited in the Deutsches Museum Munich. However, the plane was unfortunately completely destroyed by a World War II bombing raid.

Our campaign will to support the detailed reconstruction by the technical museum “Hugo Junkers” in Dessau. Please help us to make our campaign a success by posting the J1 Project page ( Join in at our Kickstarter campaign ( For every amount donated, we have come up with something very special: a limited Junkers J1 wristwatch, a J1 model plane, a postcard set with 24 facsimile designs, aviator glasses and more.

Only when many supporters participate in the crowdfunding campaign, we can finance this ambitious project and rebuild the Junkers J1 on the basis of the original plans.

Many Greetings from Munich

Fabian Knerr



Whooops – Little Registrar sent a note to you all, but shouldn’t have…

Dear Readers,

please accept my apologies that our faithful newsletter informed you about a post that was password protected. This was a mistake, as we are testing our new data logger at the moment and I needed a website to test if we all could have access to our climate dates from all over the world (or, in fact, from all our storages and offices). Didn’t have an idea that this would be sent out via our RSS feed just like any other blog post.

Well, anyway, to keep you in the loop: what is happening at the moment?

Over Christmas I was experimenting with arduino and other microcontroller boards. Of course, even if I try to do something just for fun, I end up doing something museum related. As I needed something to build, I built a data logger. And if it’s already built, why not take it to work with me?

There it glows... the experimentation zone at Christmas.

There it glows… the laboratory at Christmas.

At the moment one little prototype of the “Little Registrar” keeps a good watch over our climate in one of our offsite storages and sends its data to a website. And since this week this other little fellow records the climate in a storage room at our museum and logs it to a SD-Card:


As you see by the q-tip that serves as the restart button this is all in the prototyping stage at the moment. In fact, the “Q-tip Registrar” was a quick answer to an urgency call by our conservators. Assembled with parts I still had at hand, including an old cardboard box, a screw anchor, some ethafoam and, yeah, a q-tip.

Those who follow @RegistrarTrek on twitter know that I promised to write what we did and how and I will do, as soon as we passed the prototyping stage (and stopped creating e-mail bombs).

Have a great weekend, all!

This post is also available in Russian translated by Helena Tomashevskaya.


Happy Third Birthday, Registrar Trek!

JpegWas it already a year ago we raised our glasses to celebrate the second birthday of our project? Time passes so quickly! It’s been a turbulent and busy year, I guess for all of us. For me as the administrator it was especially packed: in my day job as the collections manager of the TECHNOSEUM there was much to do with managing taking over a large collection of broadcasting equipment and finding space for it in an already crowded storage area. At night and on the weekends I was busy writing about managing unmanaged collections. One of my cats was hit by a car and badly injured but fortunately is recovering and nearly back to normal. Of course, the departure of Derek as an author was a big loss, too. Well, this is a weak try to apologize for not being as active as in previous years in finding new contributors and topics for this project. I hope in 2016 I will have more time again to keep watching our profession and dig out more stories.

Anyway, we had some great stories: the most read post with the most active contributors was “How NOT to number objects“. We had many readers asking to have a follow-up on current best practice in object marking. If someone feels like writing something about that, even if it is just for one group of objects, this would be a great new series, helping people who are unsure, especially after this post! Nearly as popular was the post “Put a lid on it” by Anne T. Lane and the real-world examination of the damage light does on post-it notes by Judith Haemmerle. We saw some great new books being published, the forth edition of Basic Condition Reporting, Nomenclature 4.0 and The Rights and Reproductions Handbook were presented here. We also started a new series, “Failures in Figures“.

Will write something about this, soon.

Will write something about this, soon.

The topic of unmanaged collections was strong this year and even when the book is published I want to keep it as a focus, because I think those stories from the trenches really help those struggling with their own collections. The European Registrars Conference is in Vienna this year (Yay to our colleagues from the Austrian Registrars Committee!) And I hope I will be able to attend and write a report. There are still some promised reports from ARCS in New Orleans, hopefully coming soon!

As more and more of our readers coming here with mobile devices I hope I will find the time to adapt our layout to be more mobile friendly or find alternative solutions for this issue.

So much for a lookout on 2016, keep following us and keep wearing those gloves!



Season’s Greetings 2015

I’ve found this amazing video showing how “Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year” is said in sign language in English, Russian, Dutch, Chinese, Australian, Japanese, Finnish, Austrian, Hungarian, Swedish, French, American and German:

In the spirit of this video, let’s overcome all barriers! The whole Registrar Trek Team wishes you a merry Christmas and a happy, healthy and successful New Year 2016!

Merry Christmas in different languages


Unmanaged Collections – With a Little Help from my Friends

Managing Previously Unmanaged Collections - Book CoverAt the beginning of this year I asked you all if you were willing to join me in the journey of writing a book about managing previously unmanaged collections. And you did. Many of you were willing to support the project with stories, photos, comments, thoughts and encouraging remarks.
So today, I can proudly announce that I have handed in the manuscript and you can already find the book announced in the ”Essential New Books for Museum Professionals“ by Rowman & Littlefield on page 7.
Last week our colleagues in the U.S. celebrated Thanksgiving and in Germany we have a similar tradition of saying thank you at the end of the harvesting season, celebrating the ”Erntedankfest“. Today, it is my time to say thank you to all of you who contributed to the project! Thank you for investing your time, your knowledge and your thoughts!
Especially, I want to take the opportunity to thank my personal ”board of advisers“. If you are writing a book, you have to be aware of many pitfalls. But even if you aware of them in general, you sometimes need a second pair of eyes to spot them.

Pitfall #1: I know what I’m writing about!

Of course you know what you are writing about, otherwise you wouldn’t write the book. But your writing is shaped by your personal experience. You need someone who is as deep into your profession as yourself to help you see where you are missing important points or where your advise to the reader could backfire, given special circumstances you haven’t thought about. And you need this someone to discuss conundrums and definition questions with, because not everything is as clear and logical as you think it is, a fact that you only realize when you start writing about it.
For my book, my friend and colleague Darlene Bialowski, Principal of Darlene Bialowski Art Services, and a former Chair of the Registrars Committee of the American Alliance of Museums, who herself has seen a great many unmanaged collections, took this very time consuming job. She really read every chapter at least twice, sometimes more often, made suggestions and we discussed many aspects via email. Until today I don’t know how she crammed all of this into her already tight schedule, but I’m eternally grateful that she did. Thank you so much, Darlene!

Pitfall #2: A registrar’s way is not necessarily the best way!

If you are working in a profession you become extremely focused on the aspects that are most important in your everyday work. This lets you miss some aspects which are equally important if you look at the big picture. To help you see them, you need someone from a profession closely related to your own profession, but not from the same profession.
I’m grateful that Susan L. Maltby, Conservator at Maltby & Associates Inc., took the responsibility to read the manuscript from a conservator’s perspective and enriched it with many practical ideas as well as pointing me to some parts of the text where I missed either that artifacts could be damaged or health hazards I hadn’t thought about. Thank you so much, Sue!

Pitfall #3: What are you talking about?

My book is aimed at those who have never dealt with an unmanaged collection. Preferably people who have had a basic training in collections care and preventive conservation, but I also wanted the book to be usable as a guide for those who have never been in touch with the collections profession. But how could I be sure that someone who never cared for a collection understands what I’m writing about? I needed someone with no connection to the whole field of collections care who had the imaginative ability to put him- or herself into the shoes of someone who is confronted with the task of managing an unmanaged collection the first time.
Well, it turns out I have a friend who has the imaginative power to put himself in the shoes of a 19th century firemen on a steamship or a soldier fighting at Bull Run in the Civil War, so I asked Paul N. Pallansch of Up-Close Realism, Silver Spring, if he was willing to put himself into the shoes of a newly minted collections manager confronted with a chaotic unmanaged collection and only my book to help him. I’m glad he said yes, and I was quite relived when he wrote back that he had his doubts when he read my original question but now, after he read it, he thinks he could do it if he looks all the things up he doesn’t know about collections care. That’s exactly what I wanted the reader to think and feel like after reading. Thank you so much, Paul.

The manuscript goes now through the editing process now and I’ll keep you posted on the further progress of this project. As it looks now, ”Managing Previously Unmanaged Collections – A Practical Guide for Museums“ (Link to publisher’s catalog with pre-order option) will be available early next year.

Best wishes