Kelsey Wiggins, 2017
Associate Registrar, University of Michigan Museum of Natural History
I am the Associate Registrar at the University of Michigan Museum of Natural History. I first came to the UMMNH to assist in a museum move. This year-long project as the move coordinator for the museum included numbering every object with a tracking number, taking photos and establishing a basic but crucial Filemaker database, returning objects to other museums at the university, and closing historic loans (often with little to no paperwork). During this time I also extensively coordinated with move contractors and I established a moving and tracking plan. I taught this plan to student docents who progressed with this portion of the project, while I worked on an entirely different portion of the project: deinstallation. I deinstalled historic exhibitions that included objects from museums around campus and I collaborated with the various and relevant collection managers and registrars.
Once all of the objects were moved to the brand new museum (with no exhibitions yet installed), my responsibilities significantly shifted. I now act as liaison between the museum and its many contractors as it relates to exhibition objects: labels, mounting methods, and installation. I collaborate with our exhibits team and I coordinate object loans with the various other museums, collection managers, and curators at the university. I act as the onsite project manager during installation and provide the contractors with objects necessary for installation. I ensure that their practices are up to our standards of specimen care as we work to fully open the UMMNH.
The other large-scale project I have been working on is to provide the UMMNH with written policies and procedures regarding registration and collections management duties. The ultimate goal of the UMMNH is AAM accreditation. With this goal in mind, I have worked to establish integrative pest management, collections policies, emergency preparedness documents, database management policies, teaching collection guides, loan policies and paperwork, and written registration responsibilities moving forward. Some of these documents are intended to be professional policies and documents for the museum. Others are meant to be working guides and walkthroughs for exhibits staff, educators, and docents.