Museums Today: Why Monetizing University Museum Collections Is a Bad Idea

Young woman wearing an infinity scarf holds a fist to her chin and looks down in contemplation.
© praetorianphoto/


The pandemic upended the business model of many institutions of higher education and independent museums, revealing unsustainable financial and operational structures and leaving many vulnerable to chasing short-term and short-sighted fixes, such as monetizing their collections.

This presentation seeks to recenter the purpose of academic museum collections, asserting their value to the academy and clarifying ethical collection management practices, including the use of proceeds from deaccessioning, to reinforce academic museums’ primary responsibilities to care, research, interpret and exhibit collections held in the public trust.

Association of Academic Museums and Galleries board members Kristina Durocher and John Wetenhall will explain why AAMG assumed a leadership role in condemning monetization of collections, encouraging responsible deaccessioning and endorsing the use of deaccessioning proceeds for progressive purposes, including restitution and repatriation.

This program is highly recommended for college and university museum professionals, as well as students seeking to understand the principles underlying the deaccessioning debates.

This program is a collaboration with the Association of Academic Museums and Galleries.

About Kristina Durocher

Kristina Durocher is director of the Museum of Art, University of New Hampshire. She is also president of the board of directors for the Association of Academic Museums and Galleries, and serves as a vice-president on the board of directors of the New England Museum Association. 

About John Wetenhall

John Wetenhall (Ph.D., M.B.A.) is co-chair of the Task Force for the Protection of University Collections and AAMG’s vice president for strategic planning. He currently directs The George Washington University Museum and The Textile Museum, with an appointment on GW’s Museum Studies graduate faculty. He is a longtime museum director and writes frequently on the ethics, values and “business” of museums.  

How to Participate

To participate, register online, and we will email you a link and instructions for joining the program on Zoom. Simply follow that link at the time the event starts  (6 p.m. EDT). When you register, you can also request to receive a reminder email one day before the program with the link included. 

About the Museums Today Series

Each month during the academic year, museum leaders lead lively online discussions about critical issues in the field. This series is presented in partnership with the Association of Academic Museums and Galleries. Browse upcoming programs