Registrar

A registrar’s job is primarily concerned with the movement of objects in and out of museums and galleries.

In the past, registrars only existed in larger institutions and were mainly concerned with object movement and the registration or accessioning of objects, but today the role is very different, much more broad, and exists in many more museums across the country.

It has become a specialist role, requiring in-depth knowledge of national and international ethics and legislation, the upholding of national and international guidelines and standards and best practice.

Sophisticated information management systems mean that many registrars are IT experts too.

In larger institutions the role of registrar is now very often split into two separate jobs – collections registrars and exhibitions registrars – and although they share similarities, they are quite different types of role.

It can also be a role that is "hidden" in other job descriptions, for example exhibitions organiser/manager, collections manager – or, in smaller museums, it may be undertaken by curators.

The UK Registrar's Group defines the role as:

Any person working in a museum, art gallery, collection or similar organisation that has a stated remit to collect, preserve, interpret and/or display objects of artistic, historical or scientific importance, and who has a responsibility for carrying out and/or documenting one or more of the following activities:

• Object entry, acquisition and disposal

• Loans management

• Collection care

• Object packing and logistics

• Exhibition installation

• Exhibition tour management

• Location control

• Indemnity and Insurance

• Interpretation and advice on legal and regulatory issues applicable to the sector

A national museum service that recently advertised for a collections registrar wanted someone to lead and manage the delivery of collections registration work across the museum group. It offered a salary range of £28,500 to £31,000.

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