News & Updates

Registrars Committee to become Collections Stewardship

The Registrars Committee of the American Association of Museums (RC-AAM) was established in 1977. Since that time, both the committee and the roles of registrars in museums have evolved considerably. Many other job titles have been created in the profession, including collections manager, collections specialist, preparator, and art handler. In addition, there were changes in the management of the professional networks when the American Association of Museums became the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) in 2012, particularly opening membership in all of the professional networks to any individual AAM member without additional membership fees.

A series of discussions about the changes that have affected RC-AAM culminated in a roundtable discussion at the Marketplace of Ideas at the 2016 American Alliance of Museums meeting in Washington, D.C. The roundtable discussion included Mary Case, long recognized as a respected leader in the field. Ms. Case, who was present at the founding of the RC-AAM nearly forty years ago, pointed out that the original purpose of the organization was to help define the profession, a goal which was accomplished some time ago, and that RC-AAM was now addressing more comprehensive issues of collections care. As a result of these discussions, a task force was formed from both RC-AAM and Art Handling, Collections Information, and Preparation Professional Network members to further consider the topic. Based on a consensus of task force and RC-AAM board members, a decision was made to change the name of the group to more accurately reflect its members and purpose and thus transition to serving a broader museum community who advocate for collections stewardship. The merger and name change was approved by the AAM Board of Directors in March 2017. The Board thanked the leadership of the two networks for their thoughtful and collaborative decision-making and for their focus on how to best serve the members.

At the business meeting during the 2017 AAM Annual Meeting, RC-AAM will officially become Collections Stewardship, and merge with another group long allied with registrars, the Art Handling, Collections Information, and Preparation Network (which started as an RC-AAM task force in the 1990s and became its own professional network in 1997). By combining forces and adopting a new name, Collections Stewardship will be able to address critical issues of collections management and collections care, and work with other peer organizations, such as ARCS (Association of Registrars and Collections Specialists) and PACCIN (Preparation, Art Handling, Collections Care Information Network.

We have assembled a FAQ document to walk you through the transition.

April 2017

Welcome to the RC-AAM website.

Many of us are preparing for an exciting time at this year’s annual AAM meeting in St. Louis, MO, May 7-10, 2017.  We hope you will be able to attend this world-class event with its outstanding lineup of guest speakers, great museum sessions and exceptional networking opportunities.

Visit the AAM website to learn more about the specifics at

The RC-AAM Board has been working to provide informative and enjoyable activities for this year’s meeting.  If you have an interest in museum collections, mark your calendars for these events:

RC-AAM Marketplace of Ideas

Monday, May 8, 3-5 pm, St. Louis America’s Center

Engage with museum professionals in collections-specific topics through round table discussions and poster presentations. Topics will include the challenges of working at a museum affiliated with a college or university, planning for the next update to the General Facility Report, how to effectively communicate condition concerns to a conservator and more.

Collections Stewardship Emerging Museum Professionals Reception

Monday, May 8, 5:30-6:30 pm, Marriott St. Louis Grand

This event is open to anyone interested in collections stewardship and working with collections. Join us for a beverage and appetizers while you mix and mingle with newcomers to the field as well as senior professionals, and hear about changes to our mentoring program. Registration Required

RC-AAM Annual Business Luncheon

Tuesday, May 9, 12-1:15 pm, Marriott St. Louis Grand

Meet us for lunch and hear brief presentations from officers and committee chairs; see a slideshow highlighting RC-AAM 2016-17 activities; and learn about our annual service project, fellowship winners, and sponsors for the 2017 AAM Meeting. Registration Required

Please feel free to contact me or any of the other RC-AAM Executive Board members if you are interested in getting involved in our professional network.  We advocate for collections specialists in all realms and strive to be active, unified, and inclusive.

Suzanne Hale, Chair