Collections Registry and Central Catalogue
Like all institutions with a long history, the Vatican Museums too have over time created various tools for cataloguing their collections; indeed there exist inventories and lists of artworks that date back to the eighteenth century.
The subsequent Regulations of the Museums also required that the collections be in some way inventoried, so as to obtain his primary and essential tool for their knowledge and protection. However, it was only in 1951 that Directorate of the Monuments, Museums and Pontifical Galleries, as it was then known, instituted a centralised office dedicated exclusively to the compilation and maintenance of the new Collections Registry: an archive consisting of all the basic information on the works of all the museum collections. In fact, until then each collection or Museum had its own cataloguing tools, employing different criteria and methods. In addition, from 1987 the role of the Office coordinator was instituted.
The Collections Registry and Central Catalogue is now responsible for the compilation, maintenance and updating of catalogue information relating to works within the jurisdiction of the Pope’s Museums; such documentation is periodically entered into databases and made available to the Directorate, internal Museum staff and, in authorised cases, scholars. The Office also drafts and organises the documents relating to new acquisitions of works and all their movements.
The primary task of the Collections Registry is to maintain, implement and update its archive, making it available both to internal Museum staff and, through the online catalogue, external users, offering a useful and valid “identity card” for each “object” on display.
Since 2001, after the entry into force of the Vatican City State law on the protection of cultural heritage, the Office receives, stores and reorganises inventories for artworks drawn up for the Central Catalogue by the various bodies and institutions of the Holy See,
The Collections Registry, as an internal scientific service, is not open to the public.
Alessandra Uncini, Director