What is a collection policy?
“A collection policy is a detailed statement that explains why a museum is in operation and how it goes about its business.
The policy articulates the museums’ professional standards regarding objects left in its care and serves as a guide for the staff and as a source of information for the public. Policy exists to define areas of responsibility and to set forth guidelines for those charged with making certain decisions.”
Taken from: A Legal Primer on Managing Museum Collections by Marie C. Malaro. This manual is a standard in the field and a great resource to learn more.
What is deaccessioning?
Deaccessioning is the formal process used to permanently remove an object from the museum collection.
There once was a time when museums functioned as a mausoleum or final resting place for the accumulations of successive generations. This is no longer the case. Communities grow and change and so must museums. Collecting is not a mechanical process, it’s a combination of thoughtful selection and pruning. Periodic reevaluation is as important as acquisition, and deaccessioning, if properly used can be a means toward true growth.
Contact Curator Mark Dodge with questions or comments about items slated for deaccession.