NEW YORK.- The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded a major grant of $3,925,000 to the Brooklyn Museum to undertake the first complete inventory, collection review, digital photography, and cataloguing of the Museum’s historic holdings of approximately 70,000 American and European costumes and accessories. The goals of this three-and-a-half-year intensive study are to assess and document the collection and ultimately to provide electronic access to scholars, students, and a broader public.
Arnold L. Lehman, Director of the Brooklyn Museum, commented: “We are enormously grateful for the farsighted and generous support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. This grant will make possible unprecedented access to and knowledge about this collection, considered one of the richest and most important in the world.”
The collection will be transferred from its current limited storage space within the Museum to a spacious, climate-controlled off-site location for review, inventory, and digital photography. A newly appointed curator, project director, and conservator will supervise a staff specifically dedicated to the project. For the first time in the hundred-year history of the collection, a detailed record of the complete contents will be created, together with a digital image of each object. Four thousand of the most important works will be photographed at high resolution and documented in such a way as to support broad electronic dissemination.
It is expected that this selection will then be made available to scholars, students, and the broader public through ARTstor, an innovative online initiative of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, that provides access to curated collections of art images and associated data for non-commercial, scholarly, and not-for-profit educational use.
Anne d’Harnoncourt, director of the Philadelphia Museum of Art which owns a large and distinguished collection of costume and textiles founded in the 19th century, noted that “this extraordinary grant will be a great boon, not only to the Brooklyn Museum and the treasures it holds in public trust but to all museums with related holdings and to the intertwined fields of art history, material culture, and design, which this important cataloguing and digitizing project will illuminate for all of us.”