Maas said the sale, known in the museum world as deaccessioning, is unrelated to the closing of the Higgins.
In fact, she said, the museum voted to sell the pieces last July. The vote to give the museum’s collection to the Worcester Art Museum took place in November.
The objects being sold have never been on display and are not of museum quality, Maas stressed.
In addition, any proceeds earned through the March 20 auction will be added to the museum’s endowment, then transferred to the Worcester Art Museum.
“This is simple housekeeping,” Maas said. “We have 10 virtually identical examples of troopers helmets. Do we need 10, or do we need seven?”
Discussions between the Higgins Armory Museum and the Worcester Museum of Art began even before Waschek took over as director, in November 2011.
His hiring meant pausing the transfer discussions, but in an interview he said he learned to appreciate how the Higgins collection could be used with work already in the Worcester Art Museum.
“I never thought I’d be raving about helmets, but there’s a gladiator helmet that’s superb,” he said. “We have a Spanish ceiling, which we will transfer from our ground floor to our new gallery. When you look at Renaissance paintings, we have lots of people in armor.”
Geoff Edgers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.