Deaccession Destinations

Most museum collection policies delineate steps for the placement of deaccessioned artifacts.

  1. Attempt to transfer to a teaching or prop collection within the institution.
  2. Attempt to find another collecting institution for transfer.
  3. Sell at public auction and use resulting funds for collection purposes (acquisition or supplies) only.
  4. Destroy if in total disrepair or posing a health risk.

NextBurn 008NextBurn 010Another common guideline insists that deaccessioned objects should not be returned to the donor or a descendant for two reasons:  first, the donor may have taken a tax deduction for the piece and its return would render the deduction fraudulent; second, there may be multiple descendants with competing ownership claims which the museum cannot and should not arbitrate.

NextBurn 023In addition to the above 4 typical deaccession destinations enumerated above, C2C has become another option in between #s 3 and 4 (perhaps a 3 ½?). In cases where objects have no re-sale value but still have some level of structural integrity and visual interest, three North Carolina museums have opted to donate their deaccessioned pieces to C2C for our team to destroy in the mock museums we set up before our fire recovery workshops. These views include several deaccessioned pieces staged for the controlled burn at the Buncombe County Public Safety Training Center. Our fire recovery workshop participants got to practice triage and recovery with these materials yesterday. Sometimes items in these scenarios survive the fire and do 2 or more tours of C2C-controlled-burn duty, but more often they are destroyed during the burn or disposed immediately after the workshop.

Please consider sending your deaccessioned, no monetary value, but still interesting, objects to us at C2C for workshop use. And, stay tuned to learn the fate of these former museum artifacts after yesterday’s fire recovery workshop…

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About collectionsconversations

This blog will contain posts from the C2C project staff on a variety of topics related to collections care and disaster preparedness. Enjoy the posts and let us know if you would like additional information or have a topic you would like for us to address.

Posted on November 5, 2013, in collections management, Connecting to Collections, disaster preparedness, fire, workshops and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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