The Cranbrook History Centre has begun the process of deaccessioning nine of the railcars in its current collection of 29. Photo via cranbrookhistorycentre.com

The Cranbrook History Centre has begun the process of deaccessioning nine of the railcars in its current collection of 29. Photo via cranbrookhistorycentre.com

Cranbrook History Centre releasing nine railcars from its collection

The Cranbrook History Centre has begun the process of deaccessioning nine of the railcars in its current collection of 29.

The cars have been determined to be historically significant, but beyond the resources of the Centre to maintain of restore, the CHC said in a press release Monday.

Deaccession is the process of officially removing an item or items from the listed holdings of a library, museum, or art gallery, often in order to sell it.

“In 2019, the CHC began a complete assessment of its Historic Railcar Collection with the intention of creating a rationalized collection and a sustainable organization,” the Centre’s press release read. “The History Centre currently maintains 29 historically significant railcars, 17 of which are open to the public through year-round tours.”

The final collection assessment was completed in August of 2020 and reviewed by the Board of Directors of the History Centre. The Board concluded the organization could not sustain the historic railcar collection in its entirety. The Centre has begun the process of deaccessioning nine railcars which will enable the museum to direct its available resources towards completing restoration work on its core collection.

The CHC will now begin receiving expressions of interest from museums, railway preservation societies, and other public institutions.

“Every effort will be made to keep these significant pieces of Canadian heritage within the public domain as the Centre’s Collection Policy dictates. It is hoped that by releasing these objects from the collection, another organization with the resources to do so will have the opportunity to restore, maintain and showcase these important pieces of Canada’s railway history.”

The CHC said railcars could be purchased by a suitable private collector if an appropriate public organization cannot be found. Any money received from the sale of the nine railcars will be put back into maintaining the rest of the collection.

“This is a transformative period for the Cranbrook History Centre,” the CHC said. “With the completion of the first phase of the Heritage Railcar Preservation Building and the decision to rationalize the collection, the organization is prepared to move forward responsibly, thereby ensuring the Centre’s long-term sustainably.”