Ron, I think your point is excellent. It is problematic that some of the items are quite generic ‘surplus’ type maritime objects. In every email I’ve sent I have included a list of objects including their catalog entry, dimensions, etc., but sometimes our own information is quite limited, and as you said, it uses a lot of time and energy to comprehensively research something that won’t be in the collection for much longer. I recognize that some of the more generic items may need to be auctioned, but I like to view that as my last-resort option.
Lois, thank you for your offer; I am now working on compiling a list of Maritime museums using CAMM’s website, and will be trying to contact some more institutions. One issue also is geographic location – our west coast location may make it difficult to transport fragile ship models, etc. across the country without considerable expense.
Janice, you’re right. The UK Museums Association has a nice resource for deaccessioning (http://www.museumsassociation.org/collections/find-an-object), and it would be great to see something akin to that emerge here.
I am hoping to complete my Master’s thesis on some aspect of deaccessioning for small institutions. Hopefully I can help generate some solutions and maybe make a small impact! Thank you everyone for your thoughtful responses.