Reply To: Housing other Institution’s Collections

Shannon Lindridge

We have been housing two collections (A and B) in addition to our own for over 50 yrs. Owner A is an active institution and owner B is not. We do not have an active agreement and although the topic has come up several times with owner A, no one can agree so we continue in limbo. Without getting into all the details, this is what I have learned.

Get an agreement down and signed by both parties ASAP (before anything moves in) and have it annually renewable.
Your right to get things covered like insurance, disaster, access and fees. But also think about space allocation-how much does each institution get. What if one institution brings in significantly more donations than the other, the size of the items brought in, etc.
Also, think about 10, 25, 50 yrs. down the road.

At one time owner A worked under our roof and we have the classic “how did this item get in our collections” The paperwork isn’t always clear, and it is difficult enough with one institutions FIC items, let only having two institutions laying claim to FIC. I have a number of items which just sit uncataloged due to this situation. I can’t even start to deal with my states abandoned property laws. (Hopefully, with standards put in place and CMP’s we won’t leave FIC for future caretakers)

Also, institutional relationships can get complicated as yrs go by…you have the “old-times” and the “newbies” which don’t always see eye to eye.

If someone approached me today about caring for another institution’s collection semi-permanently, I would advise against it. Sorry to sounds so negative and I would be interested to hear how others have hammered out an agreement and what the agreement entails.