MAXWELL MUSEUM OF ANTHROPOLOGY
ARCHAEOLOGICAL COLLECTIONS MANAGEMENT POLICY
The Maxwell Museum Archaeological Collections Management Policy establishes policies and guidelines for the acquisition, deaccession, loan, care and use of the collections of the Maxwell Museum Archaeology Department. These policies shall not replace any University of New Mexico, State, or Federal law, statute or regulation under which the Museum is legally or ethically bound to operate.
The Museum functions as both a state museum of anthropology and as a university museum. As a state museum of anthropology, the Museum serves as the primary repository for cultural collections from university research and academic units, state and federal agencies, and Native tribes and organizations. As a university museum, the Museum has the responsibility to develop collections and research programs which will contribute to the University's research, teaching, and public service
II. SCOPE OF ARCHAEOLOGICAL COLLECTIONS
The Archaeology Department curates prehistoric and historic collections acquired as a result of survey and excavation, research, donation and scholarly exchange. The Department curates all materials excavated by University of New Mexico field schools and by the Office of Contract Archaeology . The collections are organized, cataloged, conserved and stored in the Maxwell Museum premises and are made available for research, teaching and exhibition.
III. DEFINITIONS AS USED IN THIS POLICY:
...1. The collections of the Maxwell Museum are defined as archaeological objects and related supporting documentation acquired and conserved for their scientific and cultural significance and value.
....º The term "object" refers to, but is not restricted to, all collection materials, including specimens, artifacts, photographs, and works of art.
....º "Supporting documentation" includes, but is not limited to, archival and library materials, field records, notebooks, maps. photographs, exhibits, and electronic databases.
....2. "Accessioning" is defined as the process of creating a permanent record of an object, assembly, or lot received from one source at one time for which the Museum has custody, right, or title, and assigning a unique control number to said object, assembly, or lot.
...3. "Deaccessioning" is the action of removing an accessioned object by due process from the permanent collection. The process is documented and made part of the permanent record. The Archaeology Curator manages the Archaeology collections and is responsible for all aspects of curation and maintenance of that collection, including acquisition and recommendation for deaccessioning, conservation, interpretation, approval for exhibition, loans, access, research, and publication.
IV. ACQUISITION OF OBJECTS FOR MUSEUM COLLECTIONS
A. Objects accepted and accessioned into the collections must support the mission of the Maxwell Museum.
...1. The objects must represent or relate to the cultural history of New Mexico, the American Southwest, or other geographic areas of research.
...2. Objects should be acquired in a manner that respects the public trust and does not damage cultural resources.
B. The Museum may acquire objects by purchase, contract, gift, bequest, field collecting, or other appropriate means. Objects will be accepted and accessioned into the Museum's collections when the following conditions are met:
...1. The Museum can provide proper care, conservation, and storage under conditions insuring their preservation and availability, in keeping with professional standards.
...2. Title to all objects acquired for the collections should be obtained free and clear, without restrictions as to use, exhibition, loan, or future disposition.
....º If, under special circumstances, an object is accepted with restrictions or limitations, such conditions must be approved by the Curator and the Director or it must be stated clearly in the instrument of conveyance, e.g., Memorandum of Understanding, Memorandum of Agreement, or Trust Agreement, and made part of the accession records for the object.
....º When title is uncertain, the Curator shall make a well-documented effort to ascertain the history and sources of the object and to determine that acquiring it will not contribute to illicit trade.
...3. Objects shall be accepted only when the Curator has determined to the best of his/her ability that they have been collected and received, exported/imported, in full compliance with the laws and regulations of country of origin, the federal government the United States, and of the states of the United States.
....º The Museum may accept objects that have been confiscated by governmental authorities and subsequently offered to the Museum by these same agents.
....º These objects will be accessioned into the Museum collections only with the proper documentation of transmittal.
C. Objects collected on state or federal lands administered through state or federal agencies are integrated into the Museum collections in conformity with Memoranda of Agreement or with applicable regulations of the state or federal agency.
D. Approval to accept and accession an object into the collections can only be granted by the curator. Other than field collections made by Museum personnel, all acquisitions that have a fair market value in excess of $10,000.00 or require additional resources to house or maintain will require approval of the Director prior to acceptance by the Museum.
...1. Since the Maxwell Museum has space and financial limitations, the Curator subscribes to a policy of selective acquisitions.
...2. Objects for which the Curator anticipates no foreseeable use for exhibition, research, education or exchange, will not be accepted.
E. Archeological materials will not be purchased by the Maxwell Museum, as mandated by the Antiquities Act of 1906, the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, and standards set by The American Association of Museums.
F. Native American Human Remains, Funerary Objects, Sacred Objects and Objects of Cultural Patrimony.
...1. It is the Maxwell Museum's intent and policy to comply with Public Law 101-601, the "Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act."
...2. Museum staff will not intentionally collect Native American human remains or objects specified under the Act unless written permission has been granted by the appropriate Native American.
...3. The Museum may temporarily accept Native American human remains and objects specified under the Act for purposes of identification, attribution or legal custody.
...4. The Museum may accept Native American human remains and objects specified under the Act as per Trust Agreements made with Native.
...5. Native American human remains and objects specified under the Act that are included in a gift, donation, bequest, or acquired as federally confiscated property, or in any other legal manner, will be held in trust by the Museum and:
....ºWhen possible, the appropriate Native American tribe will be notified by the Museum.
....º The Museum will comply with the request of the appropriate Native American tribe as to the disposition of the material, providing the request is in accordance to Public Law 101-601.
G. Private Collections
...1. Acquisition, maintenance, and management of a personal collection by a Museum employee raises ethical issues. Please refer to the Maxwell Museum Code of Ethics.
V. DEACCESSION AND DISPOSAL OF OBJECTS FROM THE COLLECTIONS
A. Accessioned objects are held in trust for the public in perpetuity as long as:
...1. They retain their physical integrity, their identity, and their authenticity.
...2. They continue to be relevant and useful to the Museum's purposes and programs.
...3. They can be properly stored, preserved, and used.
B. Only the Curator of a collection has the authority to select objects to be deaccessioned. The Curator must fill out a Museum Deaccession Form, which in turn must be approved by the Director of the Museum. Once approved, an entry must be made in the permanent records stating that the objects have been deaccessioned. A copy of the deaccession form and any other documentation must be put into the permanent file.
C. Objects will be considered for deaccessioning under one or more of the following circumstances:
...1. The object is no longer relevant to the mission of the Museum.
...2. Inadequate documentation or absence of documentation critically reduces the cultural or scientific value or significance of the object.
...3 The object cannot be preserved, or has deteriorated and is no longer of any cultural or scientific value.
...4. The object represents an unacceptable hazard to personnel, or to other collections.
D. Disposition of deaccessioned objects. Any object that has been selected and approved by the Curator and Director for deaccessioning should be transferred or disposed of as follows:
...1. Museums or educational institutions should be contacted regarding the availability of the items for exchange or donation depending upon the nature of the items.
...2. Consideration will be given to placing the object in the Museum Education Collection, or teaching collections in other departments of the University, or other educational institutions.
...3. If the object cannot be disposed of in any of the above manners it will be destroyed by the Curator. Destruction is defined as the obliteration of an object or specimen by physical or mechanical means. The disposal method must be both documented and witnessed. All identifying numbers or labels must be removed prior to disposal.
E. Deaccessioned objects will not be given, exchanged, or sold privately to employees of the Museum or the University of New Mexico, members of the governing authorities or to their representatives, members of Museum support groups, or volunteers without the approval of the Director.
F. The Museum will not remove from public trust by any means of disposal, any item of prime historical, cultural, or scientific value as determined by the Curator, unless requested by the Director of the Museum.
G. The Museum is required by the Internal Revenue Service to hold donations for a minimum of two years, especially for donors making a declaration for tax purposes.
Loans are transfers of objects from one institution to another in which there is no transfer of ownership. The museum sends or receives loans for the purpose of research, education, or exhibition. The museum will exercise the same care of objects received on loan as it does in safekeeping its own objects.
A. Incoming Loans
...1. All objects borrowed by Curators at the Maxwell Museum are the responsibility of the Museum. Care should be taken to house the specimens properly and to have all documentation in a clearly marked file.
...2. No permanent loans will be accepted, unless, in the case of extremely important objects, an exception is authorized by the Director, on the recommendation of the Curator or, in the case of federal collections, a Memorandum of Agreement detailing responsibilities of both parties has been signed.
...3. The Museum will not knowingly accept incoming loans of objects acquired or collected illegally or not in compliance with all applicable international, national, state, and local laws and regulations.
...4. All loans to faculty and students at UNM or visiting researchers must be arranged directly with the appropriate Curator.
...5. Curators will not transfer possession or alter in any way objects the Museum has received on loan without the express written approval of the lending institution.
...6. All loan transactions for permanent exhibits will originate in the Archaeology Department.
shipping/receiving, insurance, and conservation of traveling exhibits.
...7. The Museum will insure incoming loans for exhibit and research purposes once the loan is in the care, custody, and control of the Museum.
....º Coverage will be through the general Museum policy for the University of New Mexico.
....º Other coverage can be obtained for loans through written contractual agreements.
...8. The Curator is responsible for packing, unpacking, pest control, shipping, insuring, and providing condition reports for all incoming loans.
B. Outgoing Loans
The Museum lends objects to qualified institutions for scholarly research and exhibition, subject to policies and practices within each collection. The following conditions apply to all loans:
...1. The borrowing institution will not transfer possession, repair, clean, alter, or restore objects it has received on loan without express written approval of the Curator. Exceptions to the requirement for written approval to clean or alter may vary by collection.
...2. Loans promoting the Museum in public buildings (airport, Governor's office, various UNM administrators) are permitted, providing the objects in such loans are displayed under approved environmental and security conditions. Facilities reports should be completed for these outgoing loans.
...3. Outgoing loans will be for a one-year period unless otherwise specified. The loan may be renewed with the written approval of the Curator prior to the return date.
...4. Objects requested for loan by UNM or other students requires departmental faculty endorsement and the approval of the Curator. Loans will be made to the department and not to an individual.
...5. The Maxwell Museum does not grant loans of its collections to private or corporate establishments, except for educational, non-profit purposes.
...6. The borrowing institution will assume full responsibility for any loss of or damage to the objects.
...7. The Museum requires that the borrower insure objects loaned for exhibition.
...8. The Museum does not require that the borrower insure loans for research purposes unless a Curator specifically requests such coverage.
...9. Objects on loan from the Museum will not be reproduced/replicated in any manner without the written permission of the Curator.
VII. USE OF COLLECTIONS
...1. The collections are accessible for scholarly and educational purposes. Access to the Museum's collections is not an inherent right of the general public. Curators will attempt to comply with all serious requests for access, but the collections are not open to random browsing.
...2. Collections, data, and images may be used by for-profit organizations or by agencies only when a contractual arrangement is made between them and the Museum specifying use, user fees, and acknowledgment of the Museum's ownership of the resources used.
...3. During established office hours, the collections will be accessible for legitimate scholarly research and study by responsible investigators, subject to procedures necessary to safeguard the objects and to restrictions imposed by exhibition requirements, availability of study space and facilities, availability of curatorial staff, and approval of the Curator.
...4. After-hours access to the collections must be arranged with the Curator. The Curator is responsible for the security of all collections at the time such access occurs.
...5. The Curator establishes procedures for access to the collections under his/her care.
B. Keys To The Collection Areas
...1. The Curator will recommend and the Director will authorize key issue and key check-out. Should initiation of access to a collection be made by the Director, the Curator must be informed.
...2. It is the Curator's responsibility to insure that visitors are restricted to the collection in which they are working.
...3. Research Associates, visiting scientists, graduate students and student assistants may be allowed to have keys upon the recommendation of the appropriate Curator but are restricted to the collections in which they are working.
...4. Volunteers shall not have keys assigned to them.
VIII. CARE AND CONTROL OF COLLECTIONS AND ASSOCIATED DATA
A. Care of collections is the responsibility of the Curator. Collections care includes responsibility for both the physical condition and storage of objects/specimens, and corresponding documentation.
B. All objects brought into the Museum will be treated for pest contamination by freezing or by other acceptable methods of pest control. Please refer to the Pest Management Policy.
C. The Curator will preserve the specimens, artifacts, objects, and materials through the use of professionally accepted methods and techniques within their respective disciplines.
D. The Curator will ensure that all records and field notes concerning collection materials are maintained in a secure fashion and meet or exceed documentation standards for that respective discipline. The records documenting an object's origin and history are indispensable to a proper understanding and interpretation of the object.
E. The Curator will maintain current accession files, deaccession files, and catalogues of objects in the collections. Computer data formats will follow standards of respective disciplines and UNM data standards.
F. Objects brought in by visitors, with the approval of the Curator, may be left temporarily in the custody of the Curator to identify, study, or examine either as a public service or as a possible gift, purchase, or loan. Objects left in the temporary custody of the museum must be documented as such
IX. APPRAISAL POLICY
A. No Curator or other employee of the Maxwell Museum shall participate in the appraisal or estimation of the value of an item as a part of museum services to the public.
B. No member of the Museum staff will give appraisals for the purpose of establishing the fair market value of gifts offered to the Museum. Donors desiring to take an income tax deduction must have an independent appraisal made on the value of their gift. Museum personnel may assist donors in locating qualified appraisers.
C. Museum staff and employees will not knowingly appraise, identify, or otherwise authenticate for persons any specimens or cultural artifacts under circumstances that could encourage or benefit illegal, unethical, or irresponsible traffic in such materials. Identification and authentication may be given for professional or educational purposes, or in compliance with the legitimate requests of professional or governmental bodies or their agents.
D. As a service to the public, Museum staff may attempt to identify or authenticate items brought to the Museum by the general public.
E. The Museum will not accept donations suspected of being improperly represented as to legality, authenticity, condition, or value until such time as the original claim has been substantiated by a competent, independent authority or until the attribution or value has been changed to reflect the true character of the items offered for donation.