Reply To: Selling



At our museum I created a group called the “Collection Committee”. It is made of two staff members (sometimes 3 if a majority is needed) and two board members. Together as a group we make all the decisions of accessioning objects into the collection, as well as deaccessioning artifacts out of the collection. That being said, I agree with Elizabeth. Deaccessioning can be pretty tricky. If you do decide you want to sell the objects I recommend making up a policy that is available for public viewing. Even the policy can be tricky, though. Here is a short bit of our procedure (hope it helps!):

Items approved for deaccessioning are to be disposed of by the following principles:
1)      The manner of disposition shall be in the best interest of the Bowman Museum, the public its erves, the public trust it represents in owning the collections, and the educational or cultural communities it represents.
2)      Preference shall be given to giving the items to other not-for-profit educational agencies which have a purpose that will be augmented by ownership of the item, and which provide reasonable assurance of providing proper care.
3)      If objects are to be offered for sale, this must be done through a public auction house of in the public marketplace in a manner which best serves the long-term interest of the Bowman Museum.
4)       No items may be given or sold privately to Bowman Museum employees, board members, or volunteers involved in the collection management area, or their representatives.
5)      No item deaccessioned will be returned to the original donor or his/her heirs both because of the uncertainty of which family member would be entitled, and because the United States Internal Revenue Service forbids the return of donated property which may have been claimed as a tax deduction.
6)      All proceeds from the sale of items must be allocated toward the purchase of additional appropriate items for the collection and/or for the management and preservation of the other items in the permanent collections.