Aquisitions and Disposal Policy (2011)
This policy was adopted by the Franco-American Board of Directors on June 1, 2011, and explicitly replaces any and all previous policies covering acquisitions and disposals.
The mission of the Franco-American Collection (‘The Collection’) is to preserve the past and promote the study of Franco-American culture and history.
- To maintain a collection that accurately reflects the historical culture of Maine’s Franco-American Community.
- To build on the current strengths of the Collection by improving the quality and variety of current holdings.
- To explore opportunities to acquire new materials in subject areas relevant to the study of Franco-American heritage.
- To ensure that the Collection’s limited resources are used most responsibly, so that the Collection can best serve the community.
- The Collection’s resources (financial, spatial and human) are finite and valuable. It is necessary for us to demonstrate accountability for our spending on the development of our collections.
- The Collection will collect items that develop the Collection’s subject areas, or which support planned projects, including exhibitions and research.
- Where relevant the Collection will work in partnership with appropriate organizations.
- The Collection will dispose of collection items in a transparent and thoughtful manner, with due attention to legal sensibilities and the original terms of acquisition.
- Any monies received by the Collection’s governing body from the disposal of items will be applied for the benefit of the collections. See paragraph below for more details.
Criteria for Collecting
Potential acquisitions will be assessed by the following criteria:
- Items that add to the Collection’s existing holdings on Franco-American history and culture.
- Items of individual importance to Franco-American history culture.
- Items of a rare or valuable nature that would otherwise be lost if not preserved in an archival collection, museum or similar organization.
- The ability of the Collection to preserve, house and display new acquisitions.
- The state of knowledge regarding an item’s history and provenance.
- The current condition and state of preservation of an item.
The Collection’s priorities for new accessions are as follows:
- Franco-American history and culture of Lewiston
- Franco-American history and culture of Maine
- Franco-American history and culture of New England
- Franco-American history and culture in the United States
- French-Canadian history and culture
- History and culture of French-speaking countries in the Americas
- History and culture of France and other non-American French speaking countries
Items which are relevant to the history and culture of Lewiston or the State of Maine, but which are not Franco-American in nature, should be directed to other organizations (the Androscoggin Historical Society, Museum L-A, Maine State Museum, etc.)
Artifacts produced or owned by Franco-American individuals should be considered in the context of the larger Collection. They should be accepted only if their presence in the Collection enhances our overall understanding of Franco-American culture and heritage.
Method of Acquisition
- The Collection will collect by free transfer, purchase, or bequest.
- The Coordinator is responsible for accepting donations of new material.
- Each donation should be accompanied by a signed ‘Deed of Gift’ form completed by the donor, in order to establish the Collection’s legal right to the item(s).
- The Coordinator is responsible for accessioning items and updating the Collection’s catalog or finding aid.
The Collection recognizes its responsibility when acquiring additions to its collections, to ensure that care of collections, documentation arrangements and use of collections will meet the generally-agreed upon industry standards. It will take into account limitations on collecting imposed by such factors as inadequate staffing, storage and care of collection arrangements.
The Board of Directors will be notified of any changes to the Acquisition and Disposal Policy, and the implications of any such changes for the future of existing collections.
The Acquisition and Disposal Policy will be published and reviewed by the Collections Committee of the Board, in consultation with the Coordinator at least once every three years. The date when the policy is next due for review is 2014.
Objects will be considered for acquisition by the Collection in any of the following ways: gift, sale, bequest or undocumented find.
The Collection will take account of the collecting policies of other archival collections and organizations in the same or related areas or subject fields. The Collection will consult with these organizations where conflicts of interest may arise or to define unnecessary duplication and waste of resources.
Items will be acquired wherever possible without conditions; only under exceptional circumstances will items be accepted with conditions attached.
All efforts will be made to ensure intellectual property rights are acquired along with
the item. Where this is otherwise it will be made explicit and reflected in the documentation
Loans to the Collection are not acquisitions and will be dealt with under a separate policy.
The Collection will not acquire any item, particularly archaeological antiquities or archive materials in any case where the Coordinator or Board of Directors has any suspicion that the circumstances of their recovery involved a failure to follow the appropriate legal procedures.
Acquisitions outside the current policy will only be made in exceptional circumstances, and then only after proper consideration by the governing body of the Collection itself, having regard to the interests of other archives and museums.
Criteria for Disposal
Disposal of items should be conducted in a thoughtful and transparent manner. The following criteria are to be used by the Coordinator and Collections Committee in reviewing items for disposal.
- Items not relevant to the Collection’s mission of preserving Franco-American history and culture.
- Duplicate items (after consideration of the item’s quality and state-of-repair).
- Replicas or items of unknown provenance.
- Items in poor condition that have consequently lost their useful purpose.
- Items with no potential for use, display or research
- Items which pose health, safety or legal concerns.
- Items which the Collection no longer has the resources (financial or otherwise) to preserve.
Once a decision to dispose of material in the collection has been taken, priority will be given to retaining it within the public domain, unless it is to be destroyed. It will therefore be offered in the first instance, by gift or sale, directly to other archival collections, museums or historical associations likely to be interested in its acquisition. Consideration should be given to the item’s provenance and preservation requirements.
If the material is not acquired by any organizations to which it was offered directly as a gift or for sale, then the archive, library and historical community at large will be advised of the intention to dispose of the material, normally online, via the Maine Libraries Discussion List (MELIBS-L) and Maine Cultural Organizations List (MCULTR-L), and in other publications where appropriate.
A period of at least two months will be allowed for an interest in acquiring the material to be expressed. At the end of this period, if no expressions of interest have been received, the Collection may consider disposing of the material to other interested individuals and organizations giving priority to organizations in the public domain.
The Collection may consider disposal by sale in the following circumstances:
- Where it has not been possible to identify an appropriate public domain recipient after following the Collection’s disposal procedure and it is considered in the public interest to realize the market value of the object
- If an object being considered for disposal was initially purchased by the Collection.
If items are to be offered for general sale, the Collection will make every effort to make members of the local community aware of the sale and the reasons for which it is being conducted.
The Coordinator, Collections Committee and Board of Directors will ensure that the disposal process is carried out openly and transparently.
By definition, the Collection has a long-term purpose and holds collections in trust for
society in relation to its stated objectives. The Collection therefore accepts the principle that sound curatorial and collections management reasons for disposal must be established before consideration is given to the disposal of any items.
Disposal will be undertaken only on the advice of the Coordinator and Collections Committee, with the primary intention of improving access and care, or on health and safety grounds. All disposals will be made on behalf of and in the best interests of the public, the Collection as a whole, and the object itself.
The Collection will confirm that it is legally free to dispose of an item and agreements on disposal, made with donors, will be taken into account.
When disposal of a Collection object is being considered, the Collection will establish if it was acquired with the aid of an external funding organization. In such cases, any conditions attached to the original grant will be followed.
When disposal is motivated by curatorial and collections management reasons the method of disposal may be by gift, sale or exchange.
In exceptional cases, the disposal may be motivated principally by financial reasons. The method of disposal will therefore be by sale. In cases where disposal is motivated by financial reasons, the Board of Directors will not undertake disposal unless it can be demonstrated that all the following exceptional circumstances are met in full:
- the disposal will significantly improve the public benefit derived from the remaining collection
- the disposal will not be undertaken to generate short-term revenue
- the disposal will be undertaken after other sources of funding have been thoroughly explored.
Whether the disposal is motivated either by curatorial, collections management or financial reasons, the decision to dispose of material from the collections will be taken only after full consideration of the reasons for disposal.
A decision to dispose of a specimen or object, whether by gift, exchange, sale or destruction (in the case of an item too badly damaged or deteriorated to be of any use for the purposes of the collections or for reasons of health and safety), will be the responsibility of the Collection’s Board of Directors acting on the advice of the Coordinator and Collections Committee.
Any monies received by the Collection from the disposal of items will be applied for the benefit of the collections. This normally means the purchase of further acquisitions. In exceptional cases, improvements relating to the care of collections in order to avoid damage to and deterioration of the collections may be justifiable. Any monies received in compensation for the damage, loss or destruction of items will be applied in the same way.
Approved by the Board of Directors, June 1, 2011