Collections Management Policy
ELLIS COUNTY MUSEUM, INC.
Collections Management Policy
AS AMENDED JANUARY 19, 1998
A. Classification of Holdings. All holdings of the Museum shall be assigned to one of the following categories: Museum Collection, Research Collection, or expendable holdings.
1. The Museum Collection shall include all holdings which are directly relevant the purposes of the Museum set forth in the Bylaws and which further those purposes. The Museum Collection shall also include holdings which, though not directly related to the history of Ellis County, are of such extraordinary aesthetic or economic value that their retention will further the purposes of the Museum.
2. The Research Collection shall include holdings which, though not within the criteria of the Museum Collection, have value for research, study, teaching, or loan.
3. Expendable holdings are those items which do not meet the criteria for the collections and which have monetary or exchange value.
B. Methods of Acquisition. The Museum may acquire holdings by means of donation, bequest, trade or exchange, purchase, field collection, or any other form of transaction by which title to property is transferred to the Museum. The Museum may also acquire holdings by means of loans from institutions or individuals pursuant to written agreements consistent with Museum bylaws and policies.
C. Limits on Acquisition. The Museum will not acquire by purchase or trade and will decline to accept gifts and bequests of the following:
1. property which does not meet the criteria of the Museum Collection or the Research Collection described in paragraphs A1 and A2, of this article, and which lacks sufficient cash or exchange value to further the purposes of the museum;
2. property which the Museum is not equipped to properly maintain and care for;
3. property unlawfully acquired, counterfeit, or otherwise tainted with illegality;
4. property subject to conditions, limitations, or encumbrance of title, use, or possession; provided that, the Board of Directors may in extraordinary cases approve the acquisition of encumbered holdings.
D. Presumption of Title. Absent evidence reasonably suggesting the contrary, the Museum presumes that prospective donors, grantors, and lenders in possession are the rightful and legal owners of property offered for gift, sale, or loan. Should evidence of illegality become known to Museum staff or officials, all steps toward acquisition shall be suspended, and the matter promptly referred to law enforcement officials.
E. Record of Acquisitions. Complete records shall be maintained on all acquisitions and holdings including:
1. date of acquisition;
2. name and address of donor, grantor, or lender;
3. signed originals or certified copies of all contracts, deeds, wills, or other documents conveying title or authorizing loan;
4. summary of all encumbrances, conditions, or limitations of title, use, or possession;
5. purchase price if acquired by sale or trade;
6. estimated, appraised, or special value;
7. all available information connecting the item to the museum's purposes;
8. valuation and disposition of deaccessioned holdings;
9. all other available information establishing provenance.
F. Copyright. Acquisition of property subject to copyright shall include transfer to the Museum of all right, title, and interest in the copyright. Reservation of such rights by donor or grantor shall be treated as an encumbrance and referred to the Board of Directors for decision.
G. Appraisals. The Museum will not furnish appraisals of property offered as gift or bequest.
H. Delegation of Authority. The Board hereby delegates to the Acquisitions Committee the authority to approve acquisition by purchase, trade, or gift of holdings valued at less than $5,000. Nothing herein authorizes the Committee to purchase property unless funds have been budgeted therefore. Acquisition by purchase or exchange of holdings valued at more than $5,000 and acquisition of all encumbered holdings shall be submitted to the Board of Directors for decision.
I. Certification. The Acquisitions Committee will certify that prior to acquiring holdings by purchase, reasonable attempt was made to acquire them, or suitable substitutes, by gift, bequest, or exchange.
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A. Deaccessioning may be accomplished by one of the following means:
(a) trade or exchange for other holdings of equal or greater value, or
(b) by public sale.
B. Only holdings classified as "expendable" may be deaccessioned. The classification or reclassification of holdings as "expendable" shall be approved by the Board of Directors.
C. The Board of Directors hereby delegates to the Acquisitions Committee the authority to sell or exchange all expendable holdings. At any time after Board approval of classification or reclassification as "expendable," the Acquisitions Committee shall cause the sale or exchange thereof at such times and under such circumstances as the Committee shall determine are most advantageous to the Museum.
D. No board member, official, or employee of the Museum may purchase or receive Museum property except by purchase at public sale at the appraised value.
E. The Museum shall not return deaccessioned holdings to donors. Donors may purchase such holdings only at public sale at the appraised value.
F. The proceeds from sale of deaccessioned holdings shall be expended only for the following purposes: (1) acquisition of other holdings suitable for the Museum Collection or Research Collection or (2) maintenance and care of collections. In replacing deaccessioned gifts and bequests, the Museum shall endeavor to carry out the intent of the donor to the extent that it is practicable to do so and shall thereafter transfer the original donor's name to the replacement.
G. Holdings selected for deaccessioning shall be appraised by an independent certified ISA appraiser.
H. With the written approval of the President of the Board of Directors, the Acquisitions Committee may order immediate disposal of Museum holdings which have inherent vice such as vermin, extreme dilapidation, or trifling value and make written report, with photographs, which shall become a permanent record of the Museum.
I. The Acquisitions Committee shall make monthly report to the Board of all acquisitions and deaccessions for the period.
III. Inter-Museum Loans.
A. Acquisition by Loan. When consistent with the purposes set forth in the Museum By-laws, the Museum may acquire holdings by loan pursuant to written agreement. The Museum shall be fully protected from financial loss or liability resulting from casualty loss or injury to such borrowed holdings while in the Museum's possession.
B. Loan of Museum Holdings to other institutions. Agreements to loan holdings of the Museum or Research Collections to other museums or institutions shall be approved by the Board of Directors. Loan agreements shall provide for proper care, safekeeping, and insurance.
IV. Committee Procedures.
1. Committee decisions and recommendations on acquisitions and deaccessioning shall be entered in minute book which shall become a permanent record of the Museum.
2. Committee decisions shall be unanimous; any dissent from a committee decision to acquire shall automatically be referred to the Board of Directors at the earliest opportunity.
3. The Museum curator shall serve as secretary to the Committee. He shall keep accurate and complete minutes which shall be forwarded to the Board prior to the next meeting. The Curator shall not be a voting member of the committee.
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