Collection management policy

A museum establishes a written collection management policy for several reasons. The policy identifies the scope of its art collection, and may establish guidelines for improving the collection. The policy also may contain sections covering duties and responsibilities of a collections committee, plus guidelines for accession, deaccession, documentation and storage. A well-crafted policy helps a museum graciously decline gifts that fall outside its scope of collection.

An online example of a collection management policy is the abridged version of the complete Collection Management Policy for the Tucson Museum of Art and Historic Block. The Museum provided to TFAO the complete policy which is reproduced below:


The Collections Management Policy (CMP) is a compilation of written policies covering all aspects of collection activities including acquisition, disposal, documentation, and care and use of the objects for which the Tucson Museum of Art and Historic Block is permanently or temporarily guardian. This document serves as a reference and best practices tool for museum staff, members of the Board of Trustees, and the Fine Arts Committee.
The Tucson Museum of Art and Historic Block connects art to life by inspiring discovery, creativity, and cultural understanding through meaningful, engaging experiences.
To achieve its mission, the Tucson Museum of Art and Historic Block preserves and interprets its collections of Art of the Americas, Art of the American West, and Modern and Contemporary American Art; cares for and interprets five significant El Presidio historic properties; and produces related exhibitions, educational programs, and publications which expand understanding and appreciation of these unique community resources.
The Tucson Museum of Art is a privately funded, not-for-profit corporation.
While final legal responsibility for collections rests with the Board of Trustees, the Board delegates some of this authority to a duly appointed Fine Arts Committee (FAC) to approve acquisitions, outgoing loans valued over $50,000, and recommend deaccessions to the Board of Trustees for final approval.
1. The President of the Board of Trustees shall appoint annually the Chair of the Fine Arts Committee, who shall be a member of the Tucson Museum of Art and its Board.
2. The Chair appoints individual members of the Fine Arts Committee.
3. A member of the Fine Arts Committee must be a member of the Tucson Museum of Art, and may be a community leader, art historian, scholar, artist, collector, or other person with broad or specialized knowledge or interest in art and culture.
4. The President of the Board of Trustees and the Executive Director are voting ex-officio members of the Fine Arts Committee.
5. The curatorial and registration staff are non-voting members of the Fine Arts Committee.
6. The Collections Manager/Registrar shall serve as the secretary of the Fine Arts Committee, shall send notices to the members of the Committee, prepare the agendas, and take the minutes for all meetings.
1. Appoint the members of the Fine Arts Committee.
2. Declare a quorum of members as necessary.
3. Lead the meeting of the Fine Arts Committee.
4. Present objects approved for accession by the Fine Arts Committee to the Board.
5. Present proposed objects for deaccession approved by the Fine Arts Committee to the Board of Trustees for final approval.
1. As an individual with decision-making authority affecting the Museum and its collections, each member of the Fine Arts Committee shall abide by the Code of Ethics Policy as adopted by the Board of Trustees, effective April 26, 2003. (See Code of Ethics and Guide for Professional Practices.)
2. The Fine Arts Committee shall hold regular quarterly meetings, and special meetings as necessary.
3. The Fine Arts Committee shall discuss and vote upon outgoing loans of items of value over $50,000, as well as potential acquisitions to the collection-i.e. gifts, purchases, bequests-as proposed by the Curators or Executive Director.
4. Decisions made by the Fine Arts Committee shall be by simple majority vote of those present in a meeting with a quorum.
5. Under special circumstances as determined by the Chair, decisions may be made outside of the regular quarterly meetings by a majority vote; members may be polled via telephone, fax, or electronic message.
6. Members of the Fine Arts Committee shall encourage the growth of the collection by assisting in the development and procurement of gifts, bequests, and funds for acquisitions, conservation, and collections care.
The core of the Museum is its collection and the aesthetic and educational information that it conveys. It is the responsibility of the Museum to acquire objects that are consistent with the goals and purposes of the Museum and, recognizing that the collection is an irreplaceable and finite resource, to maintain those objects in perpetuity.
ß American Art of the United States includes: 19th to Early 20th Century American Art; Impressionist Art; Art of the American Scene; Modern Art (1913 to 1970); Contemporary Art (1970 to present); Contemporary Native American Art; Contemporary Craft; Art of the American West; Photography; and Decorative Arts of the American Arts and Crafts Movement.
ß Art of the Americas includes: pre-Columbian Art of Mexico, Central America, and South America; Art of the Hispanic Vice-regencies and Colonies including Painting, Sculpture, Decorative, and Minor Arts; Art of Latin American Nations (Republics) inclusive of the Caribbean from 1821 forward; Decorative and Minor Arts of the Mediterranean and Asia pertaining to the Art of the Americas; Folk Art of the Americas; and Ethnographic Art of the Southwest and Pacific Northwest (including Canada).
ß Asian Art includes 1st Century to the 20th Century fine and decorative arts from China, Japan Korea, Thailand, and India.
ß European Art includes: 16th-20th Century European Art; Modern Art; Contemporary Art; and European Decorative Arts.
Whenever considering an acquisition to the Permanent Collection, the Museum shall strive to follow ethical, legal, and practical guidelines in order to fulfill its mission and ensure the security and integrity of the object. Prior to the presentation of any potential acquisition before the Fine Arts Committee, the potential acquisition should meet the following conditions:
A. General
1. The object is unencumbered by donor- or vendor-imposed restrictions, such as requirements for duration or placement of display, method of disposal, or length of time the Museum must keep the object. Objects with restrictions may be accepted for accession only by vote of approval of the Board of Trustees.
2. The object is consistent with the goals of the Tucson Museum of Art as spelled out in the Mission Statement of the Museum, and falls within the Scope of Collections.
3. Staff knowledge and storage are sufficient to care for the object properly.
4. The provenance of an object is documented to the satisfaction of staff, the standards set forth in the UNESCO Cultural Property Act of 1970, and the AAM's Guidelines Concerning the Unlawful Appropriation of Objects during the Nazi Era of 1999 (amended 2001).
5. The ownership of the object is not in question.
6. If obtained at an archaeological site, the object has been documented and its existence disclosed to the lawful owner of the site, as well as to appropriate legal or governmental authorities in its country of origin.
7. If a purchase, there exists no opportunity to obtain the object or a comparable object by gift or bequest.
8. The Museum is considered to be the most appropriate institution to acquire the object, over the interests of other collecting institutions.
9. The Museum intends, in good faith, to keep the object in the Museum's Permanent Collection for the foreseeable future.
10. The Museum intends, in good faith, to use the object in the foreseeable future, in accordance with its mission.
11. Due diligence has been exercised by curatorial staff to authenticate the object, including contacting specialists, appraisers, or connoisseurs in the field.
12. According to the best judgment of staff, the object will not result in major expenses in the foreseeable future that the Museum will be incapable of fulfilling (e.g., will need conservation or maintenance, or will open a new area of collecting).
13. The object is not physically hazardous to staff or to other collections objects.
14. If it falls outside the scope of collections, the object is considered to be special enough to warrant a new area of collecting.
15. The object does not contain materials prohibited by State, Federal or International Wildlife Regulations, for use or sale. Exceptions for acquisition may be made based on the following guidelines and others contained in the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (amended 1996): The object has accompanying documentation, both from the country of origin authorizing its exportation, and from the United States authorizing its importation; the object is an antique (i.e., not less than 100 years old); the object falls under a permit of exemption issued by the U.S. Secretary of the Interior.
B. Legal, Ethical, and Social Considerations
The Museum recognizes that throughout the world, millions of objects have been transferred illegally or forcibly from their rightful owners or countries of origin. In an effort to avoid potential disputes of ownership, and to enforce the spirit of international conventions, the Museum adopts the following guidelines for provenance of objects both in its collection and on loan. Primary guidance for the conduct of the Museum regarding suspect objects will be the following federal and international initiatives:
Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property ("Cultural Property Act"), adopted by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), 1970
If the Museum comes into possession of an object that can be demonstrated to have been exported or otherwise transferred in violation of the principles of the Cultural Property Act, and the country of origin seeks its return and demonstrates that it is part of the country's cultural heritage, the Museum will, if legally free to do so, take responsible steps to cooperate in the return of the object to the country of origin.
1. Although the bill was not signed into law until 1983 in the United States, the Museum will abide by the UNESCO draft date of 1970 as the date prior to which objects must have been imported to the U.S. in order to be considered for acquisition or exhibition at the Museum.
2. The Museum will abide by the ongoing and updated bans on importation of goods based on official requests made by other countries to the Cultural Property Advisory Committee of the U.S. government.
3. The Museum will not acquire any object that has been acquired in, or exported from, its country of origin-or any intermediate country in which it may have been legally owned-in violation of that country's laws.
4. The Museum will not acquire excavated art works where there is reasonable cause to believe their recovery involved the recent unscientific destruction or damage of monuments or archaeological sites, or involved a failure to disclose the finds to the owner or occupier of the land, or to the proper legal or governmental authorities.
5. The Museum will practice due diligence in determining the provenance of relevant material presented to the Museum for acquisition or exhibition, including:
a. Requesting from the donor, lender, or vendor, all documentation relating to the history of ownership of the material;
b. Contacting the International Foundation for Art Research, the Art Loss Register, and/or Interpol to learn if the material has been stolen;
c. Considering the character of the individual or parties involved.
C. Provenance
AAM's Guidelines Concerning the Unlawful Appropriation of Objects during the Nazi Era, 1999 (amended 2001)
The Museum recognizes that thousands of objects have been stolen, confiscated, looted, pillaged, or otherwise appropriated unlawfully from the rightful owner during the Nazi Era (1933-1945). As an ethical steward and trustee of the public, the Museum will be guided by the following policy regarding these objects:
1. The Museum will identify all works in the collection that underwent a change of ownership between 1932-1946, and those works which may be reasonably thought to have been in Europe between those years ("covered objects").
2. The Museum will make accessible to researchers and the public, the documentation or other information regarding covered objects.
3. The Museum will give priority to continuing provenance research as resources allow, including the pursuit of special funding to undertake such research.
4. The Museum will practice due diligence in determining the provenance of covered objects already in the collection, or presented to the Museum for acquisition or exhibition, including:
a. Requesting from the donor, lender, or vendor, all documentation relating to the history of ownership of the material;
b. Contacting websites, archives, auction houses, scholars, art galleries and dealers, and other sources which maintain stolen artifact databases or other records;
c. Contacting the source of the covered objects when credible evidence is found that the objects were unlawfully appropriated;
d. Documenting all provenance research;
e. Publishing lists of recent acquisitions on websites such as that of the Museum, and the Nazi Era Provenance Internet Portal; or otherwise making accessible these lists for further research and public review.
5. Should the Museum discover that a covered object has incomplete or uncertain provenance, it may, in certain circumstances, choose to proceed with the loan or acquisition, with the idea that exposure at the Museum may reveal further information on the object. The Museum's intent in this circumstance is the completion of the provenance, which may not have been successful without the exposure and research capabilities of the Museum.
6. Should the Museum discover that a covered object, in the collection or on loan, has incomplete or uncertain provenance, it shall make such information public and notify any potential claimants if possible. If no claim is made, the Museum shall retain the object for further research, education, and maintenance. The Museum shall act with transparency in informing the public of the object's history, in the hopes that more information will come forth as a result.
7. The Museum shall address all claims of ownership openly, honestly, seriously, respectfully, thoroughly, and promptly, with dignity toward all involved parties.
8. The Museum shall respond to all claims with a request for evidence of rightful ownership by the claimant.
9. Should the Museum determine that a claimant has sufficient evidence of ownership of an object which had been unlawfully appropriated, the Museum shall seek a mutually agreeable and appropriate resolution with the claimant, with the method of mediation preferable to litigation.
10. In all actions, the Museum shall consult legal counsel in order to fulfill its legal role as custodian of the object and the ethical role as custodian of the public trust.
D. Repatriation
Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), 1990
Collection items subject to repatriation under NAGPRA include: Native American human remains, associated and unassociated funerary objects, sacred objects, and objects of cultural patrimony, as defined in the law ("covered objects").
1. The Museum shall, according to the regulations of NAGPRA:
a. Identify all covered objects in the Museum's collection;
b. Provide access to the inventory of covered objects to groups who are or are likely affiliated with these objects, upon request at any time;
c. Present the opportunity for covered objects to be returned to affiliated groups.
2. The Museum shall respond to all requests for inventory or claims on covered objects promptly and respectfully.
3. The Museum shall respond to all claims on covered objects with a request for evidence of standing to claim.
a. Standing may consist of lineal descent, Native American or Native Hawaiian group affiliation.
b. Evidence of standing may consist of geographic affiliation, oral history, expert opinion, anthropological or archaeological data, or other data.
4. The Museum shall not seek to purchase covered objects, as they may be subject to repatriation.
5. The Museum shall not be precluded from acceptance of covered objects if offered as gift or bequest. The Museum understands that following the acceptance of covered objects, a complete and open report of their presence in collections, and any related documentation, must be given to groups who are or are likely affiliated with these objects.
E. Appraisals and Authentication
For reasons of insurance and risk management, the Museum may use several measures of value for its collections objects: recent appraisals, purchase price, and other methods used by the Museum for internal purposes. The method that presents many ethical and legal issues is the appraisal. The goal of this policy is to "ensure accurate arm's-length appraisals obtained through a process which is fair and transparent." (Object of Appraisal: Legal and Ethical Issues, DeAngelis & Hersh, Museum News, AAM, Sept/Oct 2001)
1. No member of the Museum staff or board may provide statements of monetary value of any items to be donated to the Museum. The Collections Manager/Registrar or Curators may assign estimated values for internal use, loan agreements, or for temporary insurance coverage, but must state as such the purpose of the estimated value, and that the estimated value must not be considered an appraisal.
2. The Museum shall not pay for appraisals on donated objects. The Executive Director has the authority to waive this prohibition in special circumstances, such as a donor with limited means yet a highly valued object to be donated. In this case, the donor would independently contract the appraiser and the invoice would be sent to the Museum.
3. No member of the Museum staff or Board of Trustees may recommend one appraiser to a potential donor. If a donor requests a list of appraisers, the list will include a statement that any referral does not constitute endorsement. The Museum will encourage the donor to use the same criteria the Museum uses to contract an appraiser (see subsection 6.).
4. Donors shall be encouraged to have an appraisal done before making a donation. If the appraisal is not done before the date of the gift, the Museum shall make the object available to the appraiser of the donor's choosing.
5. If an appraisal is contracted by a donor for an object donated to the Museum, the appraiser shall send the appraisal to the donor, who shall then provide a copy to the Museum.
6. The Museum shall make every effort to contract a certified, qualified appraiser to evaluate its collections when necessary.
a. IRS regulations define a qualified appraiser to be:
i. One who performs appraisals regularly and presents himself as an appraiser;
ii. One who recognizes that there is personal liability for intentionally falsifying a valuation.
b. IRS regulations prohibit the following individuals from being a qualified appraiser:
i. The donor of the object.
ii. A member of the Museum staff or board.
iii. A party to the transaction in which the donor acquired the object.
iv. A relation, spouse, or employee of any of the above.
c. When contracting with an appraiser, the Museum shall draft an agreement, or letter of commission, detailing the services to be provided by the appraiser. Such a letter shall include:
i. A deadline;
ii. An explanation of fees, including a cap for fees if desired by the Museum;
iii. Provisions for personal examination of object and related documentation;
iv. A statement of purpose for the appraisal and value;
v. Detailed descriptions, including photography if possible;
vi. A signed statement that Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice will be followed.
7. No member of the Museum staff or Board of Trustees may provide authentication of any artwork. Authentication includes, but is not limited to, a professional judgment on authorship, country of origin, and date created, and implies legal responsibility or guarantee for the accuracy of the information.
8. Members of the Museum staff and Board of Trustees may at times provide identification of artwork, including, but not limited to, opinions on authorship, country of origin, and date created, provided:
a. The individual or party requesting the identification sign an Indemnification Form, releasing the Museum from all legal responsibility which may derive from the information given.
b. The staff or Board member has expertise in the area of art requiring identification.
Professional museum standards for the preservation of artifacts require that objects added to museum collections must have permanency within those collections. However, when thoughtfully and carefully performed, deaccessioning assists in the realization of collections goals and the Museum's mission.
A. Deaccession Criteria
Deaccession: the permanent removal of an object from the Museum's Permanent Collection. The process of deaccessioning requires careful deliberation and should never be taken lightly. The decision making process in determining to deaccession should be rigorous, well researched, and well documented.
The Museum shall consider deaccessioning an object from its Permanent Collection if:
1. The object does not fall within the scope of the collection.
2. The Museum does not have the staff, storage, or financial resources to care for the object properly.
3. The object is a duplication of other objects in the collection.
4. The object's condition has deteriorated beyond usefulness.
5. The object is recognized as a fake or forgery.
6. The object is of ceremonial importance to a Native American group and its return is required in accordance with the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) of 1990.
7. The object has been proven to have been exported or otherwise transferred in violation of the principles of the UNESCO Cultural Property Act of 1970.
8. The object has been stolen, and an insurance claim has been paid to the Museum for the object.
9. The object was erroneously accessioned into the collection (e.g., repair or conservation supplies or tools, unrelated documentation, exhibit props, etc.)
B. Procedures
An object for deaccession shall be thoroughly researched, nominated by a Curator, and be accompanied by a Deaccession Recommendation Form, to be considered by the Fine Arts Committee. A Deaccession and Disposal Record will be attached to this paperwork.
The decision to deaccession an object requires a majority vote of the Fine Arts Committee. A vote against deaccessioning will halt the process; a vote for deaccessioning will take the process to the next level as a recommendation to the Board of Trustees
C. Disposition
A deaccessioned object may be sold or disposed of in the manner determined by the Fine Arts Committee and Board of Trustees to garner the greatest advantage to the Museum. An object may be:
ß Traded for another object of comparable monetary, artistic, or historic value;
ß Transferred to another museum or nonprofit cultural organization;
ß Sold at auction in the relevant market to insure that it is offered to the largest public audience;
ß Discarded due to deterioration beyond usefulness.
It is important for the Fine Arts Committee and the Board of Trustees to consider the following questions when determining disposition:
ß Should the object be passed to another museum or public institution to insure the future welfare and public accessibility of the object, or insure that the object is kept in the community if it has local interest?
ß Should the object be sold at public auction to the highest bidder so that the Museum may maximize for itself the proceeds of the sale, thus enhancing its Acquisitions Fund for the future?
ß Should the object be offered back to the original donor for purchase?
Tucson Museum of Art employees, trustees, and their immediate families and associates are restricted from acquiring any deaccessioned object through trade, transfer, or sale.
An object to be deaccessioned shall be appraised by a neutral, qualified appraiser prior to disposition.
Donors of objects sold through deaccession shall be acknowledged in museum publications, the accession records, and exhibit labels of future objects purchased for the collection through the proceeds of the sale.
D. Application of Proceeds
All proceeds from the sale of a deaccessioned object shall be used for the benefit of the Permanent Collection, remain consistent with the Museum's mission, and held in the Acquisitions Fund for future purchases. Proceeds from deaccession must never be used for anything other than acquisition or direct care of the collections.
XI. STUDY COLLECTION (For objects accepted for purposes other than for addition to Permanent Collection)
Objects considered to be outside the collecting interests of the Museum, or those that do not meet acquisitions criteria of the Permanent Collection, may be accepted from time to time for study or educational purposes. Prior to accepting any objects/materials for inclusion in the Museum's Study Collection, the Fine Arts Committee shall determine, with input from the Museum's curatorial staff, the Museum's expenses or resources for the storage and maintenance of such objects/materials. Non-accessioned objects shall be recorded by the Collections Manager/Registrar, utilizing a dedicated numbering system, and shall be located/housed outside of the main collections or Permanent Collection area.
Items accepted for inclusion in the Museum's Study Collection shall require that the donor be advised and acknowledges and consents in writing that (1) such objects/materials are accepted by the Museum as non-accessioned material for inclusion in the Museum's Study Collection and are not subject to the Museum's Deaccession process; and (2) that although uncommon, any objects/materials accepted for inclusion in the Museum's Study Collection may be exchanged or sold by the Museum no sooner than thirty-six (36) months after the object/materials are accepted by the Museum for the purpose of advancing or for the direct care of the Museum's other collections through the exchange or use of funds following the sale of such Study Collection objects/materials for alternative objects that may enhance one or more of the Museum's existing or desired collections. All proceeds from the sale of a Study Collection object shall be used for the benefit of the Permanent Collection, remain consistent with the Museum's mission, and held in the Acquisitions Fund for future purchases. Proceeds from the sale of Study Collection objects must never be used for anything other than acquisition or direct care of the Museum's collections.
Recognizing that the development and preservation of the Permanent Collection are cardinal responsibilities of the Museum, the following guidelines are established to provide the proper care, management, and security of objects held by the Museum in the public trust.
A. Inventory
The purposes of inventory are to update storage location, identify conservation and storage needs, aid in collections development, and provide accurate records in case of disaster or theft, and identify missing or lost objects, or those objects documented incompletely or not at all.
1. The registration staff shall generally conduct a comprehensive inventory of the collection every seven years. In the intervening years, inventory shall proceed section-by-section, rotating storage locations or collecting areas, or as incorporated into other collections projects. Inventory shall include the permanent collection, objects on display, and objects on loan in the rotation.
2. In the process of inventory, the following details are compared with and entered into physical files and computer database records:
a. Date of inventory
b. Location of object
c. Condition of object, identifying conservation needs
d. Condition and adequacy of storage mounts
3. As to any object found in collections without an identification number, the registration and curatorial staff shall attempt to determine the origin and status of the object through written and computerized documentation. The Museum shall not dispose of any object found in collections without possessing clear title to the object.
a. If the documentation proves the Museum to have clear title to the object, an identification number shall be applied immediately.
b. If there is written documentation that the object has been in the Museum's possession for seven years or longer, but the Museum does not have clear title to the object, the Museum may pursue acquisition of title in accordance with ARS 44-353.
c. If there is no written documentation on the object whatsoever, the record of the inventory shall serve as such documentation, in order that the statute of limitations may begin for the Museum to pursue acquisition of title in accordance with ARS 44-353.
d. If the object is found to be on loan, the Museum shall contact the lender in order to return the object or to renew the loan agreement. If the lender cannot be located, the Museum shall pursue acquisition of title in accordance with ARS-352.
B. Security
The Museum operates under the principle that all staff share in the responsibility of maintaining the security of the Permanent Collection. Security refers to the protection of objects from theft, damage, and deterioration.
1. Alarm System: The Museum is wired for an alarm system in each of its buildings, including the historic houses. Each employee receives an alarm code, which can be used at various locations, appropriate to his/her level of security clearance. This code identifies him/her as he/she activates and deactivates the alarm. The security company employed by the Museum monitors the system, which includes motion sensors, 24 hours a day, for signals sent by the system, automatically or manually, indicating fire, medical emergency, and foul play.
2. Museum Security Officers: Security Officers are the most visible component of the security system, and frequently deal with the public. Achieving the balance of courtesy, and safety of objects and patrons, is of utmost importance. Security Officers are responsible for the following actions:
a. Constant visual inventory of the objects in the galleries, completion of a daily checklist, and counting the number of objects .
b. Constant monitoring of patrons' movements, speech, and attitude, particularly to detect and/or prevent any of the following behavior which displays carelessness or an intent to cause harm to an object on display:
i. Running and rowdy behavior
ii. Possession of large packages, bags, or backpacks
iii. Unsupervised children
iv. Pointing at exhibited objects with pens, pencils, walking canes, etc.
v. Leaning on objects or pedestals
vi. Asking questions about the value of objects, storage facilities, or other confidential matters
vii. Approaching within three feet of exhibited objects
viii. Possession of food, drink, tobacco or ignition materials in the gallery
ix. Ignoring requests of guards to modify behavior
c. Identification of individuals suspected of an incident-either intentional or not-vandalism or theft, and identification of any witnesses
d. Contacting the appropriate authorities for backup, arrest, or investigation.
e. Contacting the registration staff to inspect and/or recover the object, if any incident should occur.
f. Evacuation of Museum during emergency.
g. Informing the public of the photography policy.
C. Conservation
The Collections Manager/Registrar, with approval of the Executive Director, recommends and effects conservation procedures on appropriate objects with the following responsibilities:
1. Creation of a long-range conservation plan.
2. Creation of an annual plan of conservation objectives and priorities, including budgetary concerns.
3. Ongoing condition reporting of objects in the Museum's Permanent Collection, through inventory and other collections-related activities.
4. Contacting a conservator specializing in the field of the objects to be conserved.
5. Making the object available to the conservator.
6. Maintaining treatment records with the object files.
7. Enforcing preventive conservation in proper art handling, environmental, storage material, and lighting standards (See Storage).
D. Storage
The Museum's program of preventive conservation addresses the special needs of Museum materials for safety and security. The proper care of an object at all times-
whether in storage or in transit--contributes to the longevity of the object.
1. Paintings
a. Works on canvas and framed objects are stored on pull-out painting racks by at least two secure hooks. Sufficient space between objects must exist that they would not swing when the painting racks are moved, and that objects can be removed without touching other objects.
b. Oversize works that cannot fit on the painting racks are stored vertically in wooden painting bins with cardboard interleaving, adjacent to similar-sized objects.
c. Glazed framed objects may also be stored vertically in wooden print bins.
2. Works on Paper and Photographs
a. Stored matted, with glassine or interleaving paper, either in archival boxes or in flat file drawers.
b. Pastels are glazed with glass, never with Plexiglas, and are stored face up.
3. Three-Dimensional Objects
a. Small to mid-size objects are stored in powder-coated metal museum cabinets and open metal shelves, with similar medium. Objects are stored leaving sufficient space to remove without jeopardizing the surrounding objects, with archival materials to pad in between.
b. Large objects are stored on sculpture platforms.
4. Textiles
a. Large textiles are rolled on acid-free tubes with tissue interleaving and an outer layer of Mylar, and stored in a textile cabinet.
b. Small textiles are stored in acid-free boxes, or drawers within the textile cabinet, with tissue to prevent creases.
c. Textiles mounted to a backing are stored horizontally and covered with fabric to prevent light damage.
E. Storage Location
Whenever an object is moved, either out of or to another location within the Collection Area, the storage location is noted on paper and changed in the collections management database as soon as possible.
1. The Home Location field indicates the location within the Collection Area the object is to be stored permanently. This field may change if the object no longer fits in that location, but in general an object should be returned to that location.
2. The Temporary Location field indicates where an object is temporarily stored while not at its Home Location, including out on loan and on exhibit.
F. Art Handling-General
The Collections Manager/Registrar and Assistant Registrar shall train other staff, including interns, security guards, and temporary personnel, in art handling. Only trained personnel shall be allowed to handle art. The general rules for art handling are:
1. Handle objects as little and infrequently as possible.
2. Wear comfortable clothes and shoes for free movement, and no protruding jewelry, purses, or backpacks, which may "swing" and cause damage to objects.
3. Wear clean gloves, cotton or nitrile, depending on material of object. Even when using gloves, keep hands clean. Only handle an object without gloves when an object is too smooth to grip safely through gloves.
4. Know an object's specific destination before attempting to move it.
5. When in doubt of an object's security during handling due to weight, condition, or material, do not move it.
6. Be aware of surroundings, including other objects and people; never walk backwards while in vicinity of objects.
7. Never drag objects.
8. Handle only one object at a time, using both hands; and if three-dimensional, never by its "handle" or other thin areas.
9. Always put objects down on a raised surface, rather than directly on the floor.
10. When moving an object with another person, communicate movements verbally before they are made.
11. All objects should be handled with the same care, regardless of monetary value.
12. Keep the center of gravity of any object as low as possible while moving.
13. Use a cart or dolly to transport artwork whenever possible.
14. Be aware of an object's condition before moving it.
G. Art Handling-Specific Requirements for Categories of Objects
1. Paintings and objects in frames
a. Framed items shall be carried by the side and bottom, never the top.
b. Never touch, or allow an object to touch, the front or back of a canvas or panel.
c. When stacking is necessary, stack similar items back-to-back and face-to-face, with padding in between.
d. Never rest a painting on one corner or attempt to rotate it via a corner.
e. Use glass skin or masking tape on glass to protect works in transit.
2. Works on Paper
a. Shield from light at all possible times.
b. Never touch the surface.
c. Never exhibit for more than six months in a calendar year.
d. Lift paper by the upper corners when necessary, but carry face up and flat on a piece of clean board.
3. Textiles
a. Shield from light at all possible times.
b. Never touch the surface.
c. Never exhibit for more than six months in a calendar year.
H. Integrated Pest Management
As a part of the integrated pest management program, pests are monitored by observing activity on sticky traps placed throughout the vaults, secured collection areas, and galleries. The pest activity is recorded in the Pest Monitoring Log Book every eight weeks and the entries are monitored for signs of an infestation. The pest monitoring system was implemented in May 2003.
The Integrated Pest Management Program consists of identification and detection of pests (vertebrates and insects), preventive and non-chemical control methods, use of chemicals or freezing when necessary, monitoring, and evaluation. To aid in reducing the risk of pest infestations the Museum shall adhere to the following procedures:
ß Preclude the entry of pests, through facility evaluation and maintenance.
ß Detect pests through routine visual inspections and the application of sticky traps.
ß Maintain high standards in sanitation and good housekeeping practices including the prohibition of food and drink in all collections related areas.
I. Access To Collections
Education through the use of collections is an integral part of the Museum's mission, and the Museum shall make every effort to comply with requests from researchers and the general public whose topic of inquiry is relevant to the Museum's collection.
The borrowing and lending of objects are inherent practices in a museum and require specific procedures to assure object management. Loans do not involve transfer of title but are the temporary reassignment of objects from the Museum (outgoing) to another institution or to the Museum (incoming). All loans are for a defined period of time and for the stated purposes of exhibition, research, education, or inspection.
Loans are by authority of the Executive Director-with the exception of outgoing loans of more than $50,000 in value, which require Fine Arts Committee approval-and effected through the Office of the Registrar. Loans are initiated by a Curator and transmitted in writing for approval to the Registrar. A written loan agreement must accompany every loan with specifications on rights and responsibilities of each party. The loan contract must stipulate the conditions of the loan to insure adequate storage, insurance coverage, environmental protection, and safety precautions during transit, handling, and use. Loan contracts are kept on file in the Office of the Registrar. It is the responsibility of the Curator to notify the Registrar of the return and completion of a loan. The Registrar establishes the procedures for packing and transportation of all loans.
The Tucson Museum of Art will accept an object as an incoming loan for the following reasons:
1. For exhibition as part of a temporary installation or loan exhibition.
2. For inspection and study with regard to possible gift or purchase.
3. For research or related educational purposes for stated Museum purposes.
The Tucson Museum of Art may release an object to another institution as an outgoing loan for the following reasons.
1. For exhibition as part of a temporary installation or loan exhibition.
2. For research or related educational purposes for stated Museum purposes.
3. For identification, authentication, or appraisal.
An exhibition is the process of presenting one or more objects with accompanying interpretive and educational materials for the purpose of informing, inspiring, and enlightening a defined audience. This kind of presentation is an appropriate use of Museum collections.
The desire of the Museum to maintain the "goodwill" of special interest and affiliate groups must be balanced with its obligation to carry out its responsibilities to the general public. Every reasonable effort is exerted to avoid favoritism and commercialism, rather than merit and scholarship, in exhibit selection.
Exhibitions in the Museum are of three types:
1. Long-term Exhibitions are for an extended period of time, and may include objects that are rotated on and off exhibit in consideration of proper collection care.
2. Temporary Exhibitions are drawn from the Museum's collections or objects on loan from individuals and other institutions, and are on display for a limited time (normally not exceeding three to six months). Temporary exhibitions normally are organized and researched by Museum staff.
3. Traveling Exhibitions come from a variety of sources and are selected to complement or augment Museum collections for the purpose of bringing new ideas and information to the Museum's visitors. Traveling exhibitions are leased or rented from service agencies or museums and are normally received as a complete product including objects and the associated interpretative materials.
The Museum endorses the concept that it has a primary responsibility to use the collections for creating and disseminating new knowledge through various means including exhibitions. It is also a fundamental obligation of the Museum staff to ensure that information in exhibitions is honest, objective, and accurate.
In the interest of disseminating knowledge and information and furthering understanding of the arts, the Tucson Museum of Art allows reproduction of its collections with regard to the following provisions and conditions:
1. Permission to reproduce will be granted to copyrighted publications only, and such copyright, where it applies to the Tucson Museum of Art (hereinafter called the Museum) and its collections, is understood to be waived in favor of the Museum.
2. Reproductions of the Museum's collections are in the best interest of the Museum, its collections, the artists, individuals, and cultures represented therein.
3. Reproductions of the Museum's collections supports the Museum's mission.
4. Proper fees, if applicable, have been determined, agreed upon by all parties, and paid.
5. Where applicable and binding, permission to reproduce has been given by the artist with due fees negotiated and paid.
6. The publisher or production company will furnish the Museum with one (1) copy, gratis, of the publication, book, periodical, video, or film in which reproductions appear.
7. Permission is granted for one-time, first-edition use only and applies to related promotional material. Additional use of the same material will require application for additional permission and fee consideration.
8. Fees in providing material for reproduction will be charged to the requesting party as outlined in the Photographic Services and Reproduction Fees schedule, and will include shipping and handling.
9. All reproduction requests will be submitted to and considered by the Collections Manager/Registrar, and approved on an individual basis, with regard to merit of the request.
Appendix: Procedures, forms and fees for established Policies; Glossary
Revised 2/1/2005
Previous policy adopted by TMA Board of Trustees 9/26/1994

Editor's note: TFAO wishes to express appreciation to Susan Dolan of the Tucson Museum of Art and Historic Block for making available the complete policy on November 11, 2010.

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