Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name



Fine Arts

Committee Chair

Begley, John P.

Author's Keywords

Museum policy; Deaccessioning; Modern art; Accessioning; Contemporary art; Art museum


Museums--Collection management--Kentucky--Louisville; Museums--Acquisitions--Kentucky--Louisville; J.B. Speed Art Museum


This research looks at current issues involved in the deaccessioning of works of modern and contemporary art in American art museums. In May of 2012 the Speed Art Museum in Louisville, Kentucky deaccessioned three sculptural works made by the artist Petah Coyne. This research aims to explore the issues that arose during this deaccessioning project of these three works and to discover how the staff at the Speed Museum addressed such issues. Of particular interest for this research are the issues that surround the deaccessioning process for works made by artists whom are still alive. Additional cases of deaccessioning, which caused controversy and informed the practices utilized by the Speed Museum staff are also discussed in their relation to serving individual donors and the general public.