A museum registrar is responsible for implementing policies and procedures that relate to caring for collections of cultural institutions like archives, libraries, and museums. These policies are found in the museum's collections policy, the guiding tenet of the museum explaining why the institution is in operation, dictating the museum's professional standards regarding the objects left in its care.[1] Registrars focus on sections that include acquisitions, loans, exhibitions, deaccessions, storage, packing and shipping, security of objects in transit, insurance policies, and risk management.[2]

As a collections care professional, they work with collection managers, conservators, and curators to balance public access to objects with the conditions needed to maintain preservation. Focusing on documentation, registrars are responsible for developing and maintaining records management systems, with individual files for each object in the collection. Smaller and mid-sized institutions may combine the role of registrar with that of collections manager, while large institutions often have multiple registrars, each overseeing a different curatorial department.

Responsibilities and duties

The role of registrar was first defined in the early 1900s, and while the job description has not changed appreciably over time, the responsibilities have evolved with technology and increasing global awareness. Successful registrars deftly manage many projects at once, maintain calm focus, and diligent attention to detail. Collaborating with other departments and community associations is key.[3]

A selection of the most critical responsibilities include: