Museums are committed to preserving, displaying and interpreting collections of artifacts. In order to do this effectively, artifacts should be in displayable and sustainable condition, have a documented history and be relevant to the themes of the institution. Each artifact is held in trust for the public and requires an expenditure of resources for its care and display. Ethical museum practice includes the periodic review of the collection and removal of unsuitable artifacts, enabling the museum to devote resources to those artifacts that do meet its mandate. This process is called “deaccessioning”.
Deaccessioning is governed by strict policy and procedures to ensure accountability, transparency and adherence to the highest professional standards and ethics, and so as to not jeopardize the integrity and reputation of the Town and Museum.
This procedure applies to all artifacts in the Oakville Museum Collection, as applicable. The procedure, also applies to Museum staff, volunteers and donors when entering into agreements or making recommendations regarding acquisition, deaccessioning and disposal of artifacts.
The Museum will thoroughly research and document all objects prior to deaccessioning.
Acceptable reasons for deaccessioning an object:
*In the event of accidental loss or destruction, a report will be given by the Museum Supervisor to Council. Steps will be taken to prevent similar occurrences and insurance claims will be filed. Public authorities will be notified as required.
The Museum will record the authority for disposal and the date authority was granted, the reason for disposal, the approved method of disposal and the date of the actual disposal. This information will be placed in the Donor File and will be kept on a permanent basis.
The Oakville Museum will do its utmost to ensure that deaccessioned objects will remain in the public trust. If unsuccessful in offering an object to public Museums or similar public institutions the item may be given, traded, exchanged, or sold to a private institution devoted to the preservation of heritage, to a dealer, private collector, or individual. No object shall be acquired by a Councillor, Museum staff member, Museum volunteer, their immediate family or representative. Disposal of objects shall be governed by their individual or aggregate value, where a group of objects is being deaccessioned, under the approval table given below. Oakville Town Council, as the board of the Museum will be given an annual report of all deaccessions. Any funds generated from the disposal process must be used for artifact acquisition or conservation.
Order of priority for disposal of objects:
Where conditions are attached to an acquisition restricting its disposal, the Town of Oakville will endeavour to comply with those restrictions upon consultation with the donor, heirs or representatives.
Deaccessioning: The formal process of removing an object from the Museum’s permanent collection register, catalogue or database.
Disposal: The physical removal of the object from the organization.
Supervisor Museum < $1,000
Senior Manager Culture $1,000 -- $5,000
Director Culture and Recreation $5,000 – $10,000
Oakville Town Council > $10,000
Procedure Number: MS-REC-001-003
Parent Policy: MS-REC-001
Section: Municipal Services
Sub-Section: Recreation and Culture
Author: Museum, Recreation and Culture Department
Effective Date: 2013 May 06
Review by Date: 2024
MS-REC-001-001 Oakville Museum Collections Management Procedure
MS-REC-001-002 Oakville Museum Conservation Procedure
MS-REC-001-004 Oakville Museum Exhibition Procedure
MS-REC-001-005 Oakville Museum Interpretation & Education Procedure
MS-REC-001-006 Oakville Museum Research
Ontario Heritage Act, Regulation 877, Community Museum Standards
Standards for Community Museums in Ontario, Ministry of Tourism, Culture & Sport