The Vesalius Trust Collection of Art Serving Science and Medicine

Guidelines for the Donation

History and Purpose of the Collection:

It is widely recognized that the increase in use of digital techniques has corresponded with a decrease in use of traditional media. Accordingly, there is a large body of beautiful, hand created medical and scientific art still existing today. However, as the professional illustrators who created this work retire, it is likely that their hand created legacy will be become lost, scattered, or worse yet . . . disposed of completely.

The goal of this project is to collect this traditionally created work and related documents in one location while it still exists in good condition, and the origin is known. In 2009, the Vesalius Trust entered into a Fiscal Sponsorship Agreement to support this collection of original work donated by professional medical artists, or their heirs. In 2010, the Lloyd Library and Museum in Cincinnati, OH was selected as the partner institution to house and archive the collection. The Vesalius Trust and Lloyd Library have committed their best efforts in support of this archived collection of medical illustrations and related materials, and will promote research and education related to medical illustration, the history of the techniques and practices, as well as related history of biomedical sciences in the twentieth century in North America.

First donor

In October 2010, Martin Finch, formerly Director of the Biomedical Communications Department at the University of Minnesota, and Past President of the AMI, was the first medical illustrator to donate his life’s work to this archive, and contributed over 200 pieces of original illustration.

Why donate?

Maybe a better question is, what will happen to your life’s work?
This archive will protect and preserve an irreplaceable visual heritage of hand created medical and scientific art. Through the archive, this art will be accessible for research by future generations of students, artists, scientists, and anyone else interested in meaningful imagery and in the techniques with which they were created.

What to donate?

At this time, the primary effort is to identify and preserve original medical and scientific art done in traditional media. Original art, working sketches, related contracts or other documentation, and published material are all appropriate for archiving. Biomedical sculpture and models are also accepted, although there may be size limitations on very large material. Subject matter can pertain to anything normally within the professional expertise of the illustrator that relates to the mission and purpose of the archive.
Any questions about appropriateness for donation can be directed to Erin Campbell, Museum Specialist, or Marcia Hartsock, Project Coordinator.

When to donate?

Illustrators have considered donating their work when they retire from active practice, or are closing down their studio. Decisions about the disposal of original artwork can be made when preparing estate documents, or when considering how an illustrator’s legacy can be preserved for future generations. Donating artwork is often a family decision, and family members often wish to keep selected works within the family. An illustrator’s school, or place of employment might also wish to have selected pieces for their respective collections. These decisions should be made before any work is donated to the archive at the Lloyd. Any appraisal of the artwork for tax purposes is the responsibility of the donor, and should be done before donation.

How to donate?

The initial donation, through a Deed of Gift with the Donor’s signature, is first made to the Vesalius Trust, then transferred to the Lloyd once the Deed is fully signed by the Executive Director of the Trust, and the Director of the Lloyd Library. Once this paperwork is completed, the physical artwork can be delivered to the Lloyd Library in Cincinnati.

In summary:

Step 1 – Donor completes the Deed of Gift with their signature, and sends it to Joan M. K. Tycko, Executive Director of the Trust.
Step 2 – On receipt of a copy of the fully signed Deed from the Lloyd Library, Donor sends the artwork directly to the Lloyd Library and Museum.

How to prepare the work?

Selecting and sorting the art and papers to be donated is the biggest job. Original artwork, sketches, published material, contracts and other working documents help tell the complete story of an illustration. In addition, please include the artist’s biography or resume, and any other items of interest such as news clippings, and photographs of the artist or their work environment.
For each piece of art, please include information such as title, year of creation, medium, client, first publication, and ownership of copyright. If this information is not known, the staff at the Lloyd will make their best professional assessment. Information can be handwritten, or can be entered into an Excel database. All donated artwork will be catalogued under the name of the individual illustrator within the Archive.

Contact Marcia Hartsock if you need any assistance with the preparation or shipping of the artwork.

What about copyright transfer?

The purpose of the Collection is for archival preservation, museum display, and scholarly research, not for commercial exploitation. In order for the Lloyd Library to protect the work and oversee appropriate use, the default language of the Deed of Gift is to transfer all intellectual property rights that the artist owns to the Lloyd. The Lloyd Library is happy to work with you to craft the appropriate language if there are any restrictions that you want to apply to particular works.

This transfer of copyright obviously does not apply to any work you did as an employee, or under a Work for Hire contract, or for any work for which you no longer own the rights. In these situations, the Lloyd would like to have the name of the rightful owner, if that information is known, so that they can be contacted if necessary.

Important Contacts

Vesalius Trust
Tina M. Schott, Executive Director
Vesalius Trust for Visual Communication in the Health Sciences
01 Ridge Court
Placitas, NM 87043
Tel: (904) 878-7801 or (904) TRUST-01
Fax: (888) 519-4088

Lloyd Library and Museum
917 Plum Street, Cincinnati OH 45202
Tel (513) 721-3707 Fax (513) 721-6575

Museum Specialist: Erin Campbell

Project Coordinator and Consultant to the Lloyd Library
Marcia Hartsock, MA, CMI
Tel (513)221-3868