trivial question / whom to thank

steve Lingafelter slingafelter at SEL.BARC.USDA.GOV
Mon Aug 12 10:42:10 CDT 2002

This varies tremendously: at the Smithsonian, for the vast majority of loan
requests, the collection manager (cm) merely signs the paperwork (of which a
copy goes to the borrower) at the final stage before the loan leaves the
building, after the loan has been assembled and packed by curators and their
technicians.  Therefore,  curators (and their technicians) have a much
larger role with loan requests than the cm.  Because of some paperwork
generated in the loan process that is boldly signed by the cm, the borrower
may assume that the cm went to the collection, pulled the specimens, checked
the addenda, etc., when, in fact the cm did nothing.  I wish I could count
the times I have spent hours pulling a loan together and even corresponding
directly with the borrower several times, to see only the cm thanked in the
final publication!  I think that's sloppy, but it is an admittedly confusing
situation when an institution provides an abundance of paperwork, some of
which includes formletters signed by the cm.  When I am not sure whom to
thank, I try to provide a broad blanket of gratitude that includes all the
people I suspect had a role in putting together the loan.  It's better to
thank people who had nothing to do with a loan than to omit people who had a
lot to do with it.

Steven Lingafelter, Ph. D.
Research Entomologist, USDA
National Museum of Natural History
Washington, DC 20560 USA

[Curator of Cerambycidae & Curculionidae]

>>> Bill Shear <wshear at EMAIL.HSC.EDU> - 8/12/02 10:06 AM >>>
Here's what may be a trivial question:

Is it now customary when acknowledging a loan of material from a museum to
thank the curator, or the collection manager, or both?  It seems that
curators, at least at the larger institutions, now have little to do with
making loans.

Bill Shear

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