What Is A Registrar?

Meet Jobi Zink and her dog Bourbon!

Jobi has been the registrar at The Rosenbach since 2014.

What is a registrar you ask?

“Well,” says Jobi, “much like a university registrar keeps all the files on all the students a museum registrar keeps all the files on all the museum’s objects.”

Jobi studied art history and environmental sciences and received her master’s degree in feminist art history and museum studies from American University. She came to The Rosenbach by way of the Jewish Museum of Maryland. Her love of details and what she calls minutia are one of the things that make her a great registrar. She keeps the records of where all the objects are in the museum, whether in storage or on display, and manages the process of loaning our objects to other institutions who would like to use them in an exhibition. Jobi does a fair amount of art-handling as well.

This means moving objects from place to place but packing objects so they can be safely moved or stored. Jobi also installs objects in our exhibitions and builds supports or mounts so that they can be displayed to best advantage. Here Jobi has just installed some objects in a case for our exhibition American Voyager: Herman Melville at 200, and is using suction cups on the plexiglass to safely and, without leaving fingerprints, close the case.

When asked about some of the more unusual things she has moved, Jobi told me “Registrars do a lot of fun things that are weird. Like moving really large objects into really small places. I once had to dismantle and move an 8-foot high china cabinet. It was shaped like a department store!” If you would like to see the object it still lives at the Jewish Museum of Maryland.

While we are away from the museum Jobi is reviewing facilities reports from multiple institutions who are interested in borrowing some of our objects. These reports “tell you every detail about every building.” For instance how big the elevator is, what type of security is available, how much weight can the floors handle, and how low can the lights go? These questions tell Jobi if the institution is able to care for the objects we are loaning and if they will be safe while they are on loan.

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