The Tucson Museum of Art and Historic Block provided to
TFAO its acquisition procedure, incorporated into its collection management
policy. The Museum's acquisition procedure.is reproduced below:
- ACQUISITION PROCEDURE
- Acquisition: Acquisition is the process of acquiring
an object for the Tucson Museum of Art and is the point at which transfer
of title to the Museum is made. Objects usually are acquired through donation,
purchase, transfer from another institution, exchange, or bequest. Acquisition
does not imply accessioning, but is a necessary prerequisite for accessioning.
- 1. All potential gifts and purchases are routed through
the curatorial staff.
- 2. The Curatorial proposal is completed and presented
to the Director and the Registrar. Clarifying the following:
- a. Significance of object.
- b. Provenance. (See Provenance)
- c. Relevance of object to the current scope of collections
(research, education, and exhibit).
- d. Number of like objects in the collection.
- e. Conservation needs of the object.
- f. Housing needs of the objects.
- g. Funding for the conservation and care of the object.
- h. Legal, ethical, and social considerations of object.
- 3. Objects found unsuitable for the collection will not
be further pursued.
- 4. Donor is notified that although the Museum is interested
in the object, its acceptance depends upon the formal approval of the Collections
Committee at their next scheduled meeting.
- 5. All purchases must be presented to the Collections
Committee for approval. Vender must be notified that although the Museum
is interested in the object, its acceptance depends upon the formal approval
of the Collections Committee at their next scheduled meeting.
- 6. The Museum staff is not allowed to give appraisals,
either written or verbal.
- a. Donors requiring appraisals for income tax purposes
must obtain these at their own expense from appraisers of their choice
prior to donation.
- b. If asked, staff members may supply a list of possible
appraisers, but to avoid a conflict of interest, they should not make single
- 7. Registrar makes arrangements to bring the object(s)
to the Museum.
- a. The seller is responsible for the incoming shipping
costs for purchase considerations.
- b. The museum will be responsible for shipping costs
for gift considerations.
- c. All shipping arrangements will conform to the usual
high standards required by the Museum's fine arts insurance policy.
- i. Fine arts shuttle services with air ride, two drivers
and climate control vehicles are the preferred mode of transport.
- ii. Priority next morning delivery airfreight will be
considered if item can withstand the rigors of travel and is properly crated.
- iii. Staff transport requires two people. Transported
items cannot be left unattended in vehicles.
- d. A Temporary Custody form is signed. Donor provides
the museum with valuation(s) for the object(s) while in the care of the
- 8. Registrar begins acquisition file, assigns temporary
number to the object, and completes a condition reports and notes location.
- a. If a gift, intent to give is established through the
signed deed of gift. Registrar sends two originals to the donor for his
- b. As copyrights often do not transfer with ownership,
the registrar will send a nonexclusive use license agreement to the artist
for their signature.
- c. If a purchase, the warranty of title is sent to the
vendor when possible. If not possible, the receipt for the work is copied
and placed in the file.
- d. If a deed of gift form is not signed within 30 days
of notice, the Registrar will notify the donor that the Museum can no longer
be responsible for the donor's property and must return the material.
- e. All gifts to the museum must be received at least
10 days in advance of the next scheduled FAC meeting as long as the deed
of gift is signed prior to the meeting.
- f. The receipt of the signed deed of gift is the official
date of the acquisition transaction, and is so noted on all donation related
- 9. The Registrar prepares the agenda for the Collections
- 10. The curatorial staff presents recommendations for
acceptance or rejection of acquisitions at a meeting of the FAC.
- 11. If the Committee approves the acquisition, the Chair
presents their action to the Board of Trustees at the Board's next meeting.
- a. a. The date of the FAC meeting is the official date
of the accession, and is so noted on all related documentation.
- 12. Rejected objects are returned to donors and vendors.
The Curator who supported or presented the acquisition writes the formal
letter of refusal. Museum is responsible for the shipping for returned
- 13. Accepted gifts are acknowledged with a letter of
appreciation from the Director and a countersigned deed of gift.
- 14. All objects bequeathed to the Museum are subject
to the Acquisition and Accessioning Procedures as defined in this document.
The Museum is not legally bound to acquire any items that do not fit the
scope and mission of the Museum as defined in the Mission Statement. In
every case, the Museum will observe appropriate confidentiality with regard
to accepted testamentary distribution of objects, and will attempt to abide
by donor request except where those requests are in conflict with Museum
policy, or state, national, or international laws.
- 15. Following the last meeting of the Collections Committee
for any calendar year, and between that meeting and the end of the year,
(December 31), the Director may accept unrestricted gifts that meet established
criteria to the Museum on behalf of the Committee. All gifts must be out
of the hands of the donor by December 31.
- 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
- 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 which 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
- 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
- c. Considering the character of the individual or parties
- 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 its 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
created between 1932-1946 that underwent a change of ownership within that
time frame, 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, o
- r 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 in publications
such as the Museum's Annual Report or quarterly newsletter, 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
- 6. Should the Museum discover that a covered object,
in the collection or on loan, has incomplete or uncertain provenance, it
will make such
- information public and notify any potential claimants
if possible. If no claim is made, the Museum should retain the object for
further research, education, and maintenance. The Museum will 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 will address all claims of ownership openly,
honestly, seriously, respectfully, thoroughly, and promptly, with dignity
toward all involved parties.
- 8. The Museum will respond to all claims with a request
for evidence of rightful ownership by the claimant.
- 9. Should the Museum determine that a claimant have sufficient
evidence of ownership of an object which had been unlawfully appropriated,
the Museum will seek a mutually agreeable and appropriate resolution with
the claimant, with the method of mediation preferable to litigation.
- 10. In all actions, the Museum will 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.
- 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 will, 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 will respond to all requests for inventory
or claims on covered objects promptly and respectfully.
- 3. The Museum will 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
- 4. The Museum will not seek to purchase covered objects,
as they may be subject to repatriation.
- 5. The Museum will 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.
- 140 North Main Avenue
- Tucson, AZ 85701
- ACCESSION PROCEURE
- Accessioning: Accessioning is the procedure that officially
incorporates objects into the permanent collections of the Tucson Museum
of Art. It is the transfer of clear title of the object or the registration
of held-in-trust objects. Upon accessioning (acceptance of in- perpetuity
responsibility), the Museum assumes the obligation for the proper management
of objects. Accessioning provides an inventory of objects owned and held-in-trust
by the Museum, and is the function of the Office of the Registrar.
- 1. Complete records of the accessioned holdings of the
Museum are maintained in the Registrar's office.
- 2. Once the FAC and the Board of Trustees approve an
object, it is accessioned by the Registrar. Accession numbers document
Museum ownership and are an inventory control device for the Registrar.
- 3. The accession system utilized by the Museum is numerical
and includes the calendar year of acceptance followed by a number indicating
- of acceptance. The calendar year is written in full,
and the number of order of acceptance is separated by a period from the
year. Each object (if the accession consists of a single object), or collection
of objects is assigned the same accession number with an individual identification
- 4. Numbering of the object conforms to the latest approved
archival methods, taking the medium into consideration.
- 5. The Accession file should contain a complete record
of all correspondence and transactions involving the acquisitions includes:
name and address of the donor, seller, trading/exchanging institution;
import and export papers on objects from non-U.S. countries; any gift restrictions;
copyright considerations; artist's rights considerations; provenance; dates
of object; images; the initial condition report. Subsequent treatment of
an object, that alters its condition, should be reported to the Registrar.
- 6. When an accession contains more than one item but
the items are all related, a copy of their computer generated catalog sheet
should be placed in the accession record if each item does not contain
a sufficient amount of information to warrant a separate file. If and when
further curatorial information is acquired then a subsequent file can be
made following the accession folder with the object id number.
- 7. A donor file is created to hold all the donor correspondence
with reference to the accession.
- 8. Objects accepted for educational use are acquired
and accessioned by the Museum with their status identified as education
or study collection. Deed of gift or transaction papers of trade/exchange
must carry a notation that the object is accepted for educational purposes,
which may be of a consumptive nature. These numbers are identified with
an S before the accession number.
- 9. All information is entered into the Museum's computerized
- 10. Catalog Cards are Printed
- 11. Each year all the Accession Records are printed and
bound into a documentary book.
- 140 North Main Avenue
- Tucson, AZ 85701
- ACQUISITIONS GUIDELINES
- Whenever considering an acquisition to the 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 acquisition before the Collections
Committee, the potential acquisition must fulfill the following requirements:
- 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 and Statement of
Purpose 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
- 9. The Museum intends, in good faith, to keep the object
in the Museum's 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.
Editor's note: TFAO wishes to express appreciation to Susan
Dolan of the Tucson Museum of Art and Historic Block for making available
the above text on November 11, 2010.
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