Provenance research is at the heart of the DAM’s role as an encyclopedic museum that collects artworks from around the world and across time, and an important part of the work we do.
Ethical collecting practices are at the core of the museum’s mission and over the last several years, DAM has invested additional staff and resources toward researching the ownership histories of objects in our collections. One of these resources is the addition of a full-time staff position of Senior Provenance Researcher. Lori Iliff took on this new role in the summer of 2022 after spending years of her museum career in the museum’s Exhibitions and Collections department. Lori is meticulous in detail and uniquely qualified for this position thanks to an illustrious background that includes archaeology, museum collections management, and curatorial work. Her 25-year familiarity with the DAM’s collections and museum records that serves us especially well in this role.
In my various roles at the DAM overseeing registration and the collection services departments, provenance and related legal and ethical considerations have long been incorporated into our policies, procedures, and documentation and applied in our daily practices.
Having Lori singularly focused in this area allows the museum to prioritize provenance research for older collections, take advantage of new information as it becomes available, and provide new context that enhances the gallery and online experience for members and visitors.
Museums often reflect the history of creativity. For a collection as large and as varied as the DAM’s, ongoing provenance research is an essential component of our commitment to ethical collecting practices—all in support of the museum’s goals to spark creative expression and provide invaluable ways for our community to learn about cultures from around the world.