Curator’s Advent. Day 7. Object record

An object and a record, but not an object record

An object and a record, but not an object record

They say that without provenance the museum object is worthless. The object record acts as a certificate of authenticity and contains everything from vital statistics on materials, dimensions, broken or worn bits, to ownership history, exhibition history, publication history… quite a lot of history. Index cards used to be the favoured medium of the curator’s record keeping but now we use all manner of databases–all that history reduced to 0s and 1s. Led by simple names controlled by peculiar technical dictionaries called thesauri or vocabulary lists, there was a strange habit, that I believe some still indulge in, whereby it’s frowned upon to write in proper sentences so you might get something that reads like a Victorian telegram:

record, vinyl, 7″ (17.78cm), black and silver, with sleeve, paper, torn, 1964.

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