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Working at the Smithsonian

Registrar

  • Registrars work very closely with curators, conservators and collections managers. Most have degrees in the field appropriate for the collection and have learned registration procedures on the job.
  • They are responsible for organizing and maintaining the records of the artifacts or specimens in a collection.
  • The records contain information on provenance (history of origin and ownership), any conservation applied to the artifact, loans, what the artifact is made of and its location in storage. Records are maintained using specialized software to manage the huge databases for our collections that now include digital images.
  • Additionally they oversee the loans of artifacts and specimens to museums and researchers including packing, shipping, negotiating insurance coverage, and handling customs procedures. Smithsonian loans approximately 3.5 million artifacts & specimens each year.
  • Occasionally a Registrar, accompanied by a Security Officer, will travel with an important artifact when it is being transported to another museum.

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