Counting Collections

By: Jane Weinke, curator of collections/registrar on October 25th, 2017

Recently, I had a conversation with a longtime volunteer who asked how many objects comprise the Woodson Art Museum collection. His question was prompted by the number of artworks in Birds in Art that are accompanied by additional labels designating them as recent acquisitions. I smiled and replied how difficult that question is to answer.

For years, I’ve kept a tally of the collection, categorized into several groups. For example, if someone inquired about the number of glass objects, I could check the list and share a total of 762. But that doesn’t provide enough information for my purposes. What’s more helpful is:
215 Victorian glass baskets
115 pieces of contemporary studio glass
111 historical glass objects
321 assorted blown and pressed glass tableware

Likewise, each of the other groups is categorized.

Avian collection
381 paintings
714 works on paper
365 sculpture
256 Andrea Rich woodcuts
70 Anne Faust serigraphs
Total                         1,786

Drawing Collection
5 paintings
929 works on paper
2 sculpture
32 Old Master
1,116 Owen J. Gromme
7,475 Don R. Eckelberry
Total                         9,559

Several segments of the collection were acquired as groups. The John and Alice Forester Miniature Collection includes gifts by artists to honor the Foresters. There are also larger group bequests and donations that are tracked separately.

Miniature Collection
65 paintings
65 works on paper
30 sculpture
Total                         160

Eckelberry Bequest
214 works on paper
81 other artists
Total                         295

Donaldson Endangered Species Collection
317 works on paper
48 paintings
Total                         365

302 National Wildlife Federation
18 others
Total                            320

Historic Collection
208 lithographs/etchings   
10 rare books
Total                            218

99 Dorothy Doughty birds
13 Doughty plates
126 tableware
5 figurative
Total                         243

215 baskets
115 studio
111 historic
321 pressed/blown
Total                         762

These totals provide an overview of the 13,708 works in the Woodson Art Museum collection, selections from which comprise various exhibitions including On the Wing: Birds in Flight, Passionate Pursuits, Conservation in Action, and Fowl Play currently on view in the galleries.

In the November 1 Woodson Wanderings blog post, I’ll share a list of the artworks acquired from the 2017 Birds in Art exhibition and explain how these acquisitions were made possible.

Check back next week and visit often to learn more.

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