Deaccessioning for Education: It's Not a Four Letter Word

Author(s): Jenna Domeischel

Year: 2019


This is an abstract from the "Touching the Past: Public Archaeology Engagement through Existing Collections" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

Archaeological curators struggle with the growing number of collections in our repositories, a phenomenon commonly referred to as the ‘curation crisis.’ Yet ‘crisis’ is an acute term, when the problem is instead chronic. The discipline of archaeology marches on, and so must repositories, even as the quantities of collections increase every year. We must find increasingly effective ways to make collections work for us, rather than against us as drains on space, time, finances, or manpower. At Blackwater Draw, deaccessioning is viewed as revitalization, not inherent loss. Collections are re-imagined as ambassadors of knowledge, bringing the stories of past peoples out of the repositories and into the present day. Through selective deaccessioning we redistribute collections more appropriately for their size, item quantity, or classification, while simultaneously reinvigorating community programming, STEAM education, or specialized university curricula. Through education initiatives at Blackwater Draw and elsewhere around the nation we hope to see a growing understanding of the benefits of deaccessioning change to a willingness to incorporate it into our archaeological toolkit.

Cite this Record

Deaccessioning for Education: It's Not a Four Letter Word. Jenna Domeischel. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 451637)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -168.574; min lat: 7.014 ; max long: -54.844; max lat: 74.683 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 23500