Jump to content
IGNORED

Video game museums versus selling to private owners


phart010
 Share

Recommended Posts

I’ve been thinking a lot about this topic lately. I have an item in my collection that I believe to be pretty rare. I’ve never seen another one before or even any information about it to research it. At some point when I am done enjoying collecting, I had always thought that it would be better off at a video game museum for preservation purposes.

However, I got to thinking about whether video game museums (or even any private museums for that matter) are as bulletproof as we’d like to think they are. For example let’s say someone has a private museum and ,God forbid, they were to pass away. All of that persons belongings at that point become inheritance to their family and would probably go up for private sale at an estate auction or something like that. So basically if I donated a valuable item for what I thought to be a good cause in this scenario, ultimately it would eventually become private profit in the hands of the museum curators surviving family. In that case I (and the item) would have been better off just selling the item to someone who would take good care of it.

Even in the case of a more organizational type of private museum, with a board of several people managing the organization, if there were some sort of disagreement or falling out among the management and the organization were to get dissolved, what would happen with the items? Lacking government funding, what if the organization were not making enough money to pay the rent on the museum. What would happen to the items in the museum if the organization were evicted from the building?

Edited by phart010
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Many of them aren't sustainable without private infusions of equity to cover the bills.  This is true even of the really big museums that house priceless works of art.  In a case such as those, I would assume most of the works would be transferred to other museums, but a private video game museum is likely to sell off its collection to cover outstanding debts.  It would be nice if there was a way to fund these in perpetuity, but that's just not in cards for our society right now.  Still, if you have a unique item, giving to a museum sounds better than just passing it to another collector.  Then, at least, more people can appreciate what it is for a time.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I got curious and found this article. In short, museums very rarely close, but when they do the stuff will get auctioned off. Even when the collection can be donated to another museum, the new museum may "decommission" pieces that don't fit their mission and sell them off to private buyers (or other museums).

I don't think there's a way to 100% ensure the long term preservation of something in museum forever, maybe the Library of Congress would take something like this? But they're far from on the bleeding edge of preserving the history of video games, they just have some stuff. All I think you can do is pick the most established institutions, which I guess are VGHF and ICHEG, rather than say donating it to John Hancock who hopes to make his personal collection into a museum.

Edited by DefaultGen
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Most people worried about this type of situation donate items with a Donation Agreement Contract where the donor retains the rights to the donated items until the museum no longer uses them or they purchase them from the owner. So, if the museum goes under the item would go back to you or your heirs.

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

46 minutes ago, Bubbapauls said:

Most people worried about this type of situation donate items with a Donation Agreement Contract where the donor retains the rights to the donated items until the museum no longer uses them or they purchase them from the owner. So, if the museum goes under the item would go back to you or your heirs.

 

I wonder how practically enforceable something like that would be. If the museum didn’t uphold their end of the agreement and they went under, you have no one to go after.

Not to mention that the act of donating the  item means that you no longer want the responsibility of the item anymore. It’s not that you don’t care about the item anymore, you just want to be assured that it has been transferred into good hands, hopefully for perpetuity

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It really depends on your intentions I think. If for pure preservation, selling to a private collector that you know would cherish the game and not to immediately resell, would be perfectly fine. If though you feel the item is special enough to be witnessed in person by the masses, then that’s the point of a museum.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Definitely don't trust museums blindly... Almost all museums of this variety are really just private collections put on public display. While I do agree that that's a noble cause, and in many way the ideal location for unique and interesting items, there's usually a bit of egoistic pride involved, and I've seen a few examples of people using this context to put a ticket in on items they want for personal reasons.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...