Reply To: Selling


While it often makes sense in many ways to donate deaccessioned objects to another museum or other educational institution, the museum’s governing body should consider the details of the deaccession. It is the governing body’s responsibility to maintain the assets of the museum, and giving away objects may be contrary to that requirement. In most museums where I have worked, any deaccessioned items (and there weren’t many) were really the dregs of the collection, and not of much interest to other museums; funds realized at auction were often less than four figures, total. However, in one instance, the Board approved the deaccessioning an item appraised at nearly seven figures, and the sale amount was even higher. Our board would have been neglecting its fiduciary responsibility if it had resolved to give away an asset like that. Granted, this is an unlikely scenario, but for a small museum, giving away an asset valued at even a few thousand dollars might appear to be irresponsible.