Deaccessioning

on Jul 27th 2008

Procedure adopted Oct. 19, 2005

a. Deaccessioning is the removal of an object from a museum’s permanent collection. It is a standard museum procedure, but it is a serious undertaking which requires careful consideration by both the staff and the Board of Trustees. The Putney Historical Society museum has deaccessioned objects from the permanent collections and will continue to do so in order to remain a viable institution.

b. Deaccessioning Criteria

Deaccessioning of objects will be considered for one or more of the following reasons:

  1. The object does not meet the collecting goals of the Putney Historical Society.
  2. The object is a duplicate of another piece in the collection.
  3. The object was accessioned into the museum collection but should be in the library collection.
  4. New research on the object determines that iti is not what it was originally reported to be, and it no longer fits the collecting goals of the museum.
  5. The object is repatriated to an approved individual, group, or institution.
  6. The object has deteriorated to a point where it is useless for any museum purpose.
  7. The object is exchanged for a similar object of better quality or condition in order to upgrade the collection or for one that better meets the mission of the PHS.

c. Deaccessioning Procedures

  1. The curator, if any, shall make written recommendations to the Director and Museum Committee about objects that should be deaccessioned.
  2. The Museum Committee shall make recommendations in writing to the Board of Trustees.
  3. The Board of Trustees shall give final approval for all deaccessions and record them in the board minutes.
  4. All records on deaccessioned objects shall be completed and maintained by the Secretary.

d. Disposal of deaccessioned items

The method chosen for disposing of objects deaccessioned from the collections must be in the best interests of the Putney Historical Society and its public trust. The method to be used will be determined by the curator, if any, and the director, and can include but is not limited to one of the following:

  1. Transfer to the PHS library collection (no action by the Board of Trustees necessary).
  2. Deaccession from the Permanent Collection to the Educational Collection for educational purposes.
  3. Transfer to an appropriate and responsible public institution either through sale, exchange, or by gift.
  4. Sell at a public auction.
  5. Destroy or dispose of an object that has deteriorated beyond repair or practical use.

No member of the PHS staff, board, or agents acting for him or her is permitted to acquire objects deaccessioned from the permanent collection, except in instances of an approved exchange (see b. 7. above).
All proceeds from the sale of deaccessioned objects will be placed in a restricted fund for future acquisitions or conservation treatment for the permanent collection.

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