Digital Provenance: Expanding Collaborations Between Universities and Museums to Tell Bigger Stories

Thursday, July 13, 2017
Turnbull Room (University of Glasgow)
Jane Milosch , Smithsonian Institute
Provenance research is an important museum practice that documents a chain of ownership from the creation of an object to the present. It usually involves individual researchers engaged in meticulous work to identify a network of people, events and transactions, to build a body of evidence that documents that chain of ownership.  The results engage the public’s interest in the art works themselves, through new stories the research reveals.

This paper will discuss the ways in which the Smithsonian Provenance Research Initiative together with university, cultural and museum partners internationally have been engaging with collaborative projects to expand the scope of traditional provenance research through the use of digitised archives and collections, offering increased capacities to tell new stories that include social networks, spatial analysis that are conceptually and visually dynamic. A recent example which will be highlighted is the Asian Art Provenance Connections Project at the Freer-Sackler Galleries which joins biographies, with objects, events, and archival and curatorial records and papers.