WAYNE COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF OHIO
The Wayne County Historical Society of Ohio, a not-for-profit corporation chartered under the laws of the state of Ohio and the IRS, has as one of its primary purposes the acquisition of historical material (e.g., manuscripts, audiovisuals, newspapers, books, government records, electronic media, artifacts, works of art, natural specimens, and other materials) that documents or furthers the understanding of the history, prehistory, or natural history of Wayne County, Ohio.
The Board of Trustees of the Wayne County Historical Society of Ohio has determined to establish a collections policy and a policy to govern the future acquisition, use, loan, and de-accession of collections materials. This policy shall ensure that collections of an appropriate nature are acquired and maintained, that applicable sections of the Society’s constitution and bylaws are adhered to. This collections policy supersedes all existing collection policies and assumes that there will be uniform policies and procedures for the management of all Society collections.
This policy shall not apply to public records. Applicable statutes govern public records. This policy shall not apply to the acquisition, treatment and disposition of human remains and objects governed by federal law (Native American Graves and Repatriation Act of 1990 (NAGPRA), Public Law 101-601).
I. MANAGEMENT RESPONSIBILITY
The Acquisitions Committee of the Wayne County Historical Society of Ohio shall recommend to the Board of Trustees policies that ensure the acquisition, preservation, use, and disposition of collections materials, and these will be included in the By-Laws of the Society. The Board of Trustees shall put into practice necessary regulations and procedures to govern the day-to-day conduct of collections-related activities. These regulations and procedures shall include, but not be limited to, the acquisition, loan, cataloging, and de-accession of Society collections. The regulations and procedures shall reflect the highest standards and shall be subject to the review of the Board of Trustees. The Personnel Policy will include grounds for disciplinary action that apply specifically to the conduct of employees of the Society (if and when employees are hired) to assure that high standards are maintained.
During the various phases of the acquisition, loan, and de-accession of historical materials, all pertinent issues will be identified and discussed in a manner that involves all interested volunteers and Society members, encourages the sharing of information, and seeks maximum input into the decision making process.
III. COLLECTING THEMES
The mission of the Wayne County Historical Society of Ohio is “To collect, preserve, and interpret artifacts and experiences that reflect the cultural heritage of the county for the education and enjoyment of future generations”. In accordance with its mission, the Society shall “preserve, interpret, provide access to, and foster an appreciation of the evidence and the experience of the past, especially of Wayne County.” The Society fulfills this mission in part by collecting and preserving material related to Wayne County history, prehistory, and natural history.
The Society shall collect materials that document:
- The formation and functioning of Wayne County
- Wayne County prehistory and natural history
- Wayne County’s people, including but not limited to political, social, cultural, economic, military, scientific, artistic and technological endeavors.
- Westward expansion and the formation and functioning of the Northwest Territory as it relates to Wayne County
- Popular and scholarly research in the fields of Wayne County history, prehistory, and natural history
- Not associated with Wayne County, but that may be necessary for comparative study of other collections or that may be required to fulfill the mission of a site or exhibit program
- Created or collected in the development and/or continuation of educational programs, exhibits, publications, and other Society activities
- In danger of being destroyed or dispersed, when such destruction or dispersal would result in an irreplaceable loss for either the County, State or the Nation
- Other reasons approved by the Board of Trustees on a case-by-case basis.
The Society may also collect materials that are:
IV: APPRAISAL & ACQUISITION
Appraisal is the process of evaluating material for inclusion in the Society’s collections. It is an integral part of the acquisition process and, as such, shall be documented. Appraisal activity occurs before material is accessioned into the Society’s collection. It is evaluated for its content, uniqueness, restrictions, physical condition, monetary value (if applicable), potential for restoration, and relevance to the Society’s collecting themes. Staff shall record appraisal activity, including descriptions of materials and reasons for acceptance.
Acquisition is the process by which the Society adds to its holdings by accepting material through transfer, donation, or purchase. Collections are acquired by the following methods:
- Field collection by members or volunteers
- Purchase from auction, dealers, vendors and individuals
- Donations by individuals and organizations, including bequests and anonymous donations
- Transfer from other historical societies & local, state and federal government entities
- Creation or collection of materials in the development and/or continuation of educational programs, exhibits, publications, and other Society activities
Multi-item collections may also be processed and appraised on an item level after accession. Items deemed inappropriate for retention shall be disposed in accordance with the deed of gift or transfer documentation. Examples of inappropriate items include, but are not limited to, materials that are:
- Duplicated within the collection or elsewhere in the Society’s collections
- Unrelated to the theme and/or function of the collection
- Damaged beyond its usefulness
- Without enduring value
- Impractical to store or make available
- Safety hazards or issues that are present regarding safety
- If the donors restrictions are unrealistic and unacceptable
V. ETHICS STATEMENT
The Society shall abide by state and federal laws and professional ethics that govern collecting activities. All acquisitions shall be evaluated to avoid violations of legal and ethical standards involving ownerships possession and authenticity.
- The Society shall not knowingly acquire an item—whether by donation, bequest or purchase unless the Society believes that it can acquire title or has acquired title to the item in question.
- The Society must ascertain to the best of its ability that the donor has the authority to give the donation to the Society.
- In regard to ethnographic and prehistory specimens, the Society shall not acquire, by direct or indirect means, items that it believes have been collected in contradiction of laws governing such collecting.
- Materials shall be accepted into the Society’s collections only when proper storage and care can be provided.
Accession is the formal process by which material is accepted and recorded as part of the Society’s collections. By accessioning an item or collection, the Society is committing its resources to control, protect, store, conserve, and make the material available for educational and research purposes. Accessioning occurs after a collection is acquired and appraised.
Designated Acquisition Committee members may accession materials when the following conditions are met:
- Each item or group of items shall be accompanied by a deed of gift agreement, will, or receipt of purchase that transfers unrestricted ownership rights to the Society.
- The deed of gift shall contain date of the donation, a list or description of the material, and signatures of both the donor and a representative of the Society.
- The Society’s legal counsel shall approve deed of gift forms. Exceptions are made in cases of non-unique, modem library material for which other copies are readily available.
- The Society may accept a donation from an anonymous donor provided Society has no reason to believe laws or ethical standards have been violated. The circumstances of any such acquisition shall be recorded and preserved.
The Board of Trustees delegates to the Acquisitions Committee authority to acquire collections in the following manner:
- Acquisition Committee members are responsible for making the decision to acquire or accept new historical materials.
- The Acquisition Committee will refer decision to the Board of Trustees for any accession that:
- Equals or exceeds $20,000 in value.
- Is equal to or larger than 500 cubic feet.
- Involves a historic property, real estate or building.
- Carries restrictions associated with future use or access, or
- Requires significant expenditures beyond the purchase price.
- The Chair of the Acquisitions Committee will detail new acquisitions in the quarterly newsletter of the Society.
This policy recognizes two legitimate uses of collection materials. Collections may be acquired and maintained for:
- Use in public exhibit, education and other programs
- research, to document or provide resources for the study of Wayne County history, prehistory, or natural history
A loan is a temporary transfer of possession of collection items for an agreed purpose and on the condition that the collection items are returned at a specified time. Loans do not result in a change of ownership. The Wayne County Historical Society of Ohio will not accept or be involved in loans of any type, with two exceptions:
- The Society will accept loans for temporary exhibits. The Board of Trustees must approve the temporary exhibit.
- The Society may loan items to other Historical Societies and museums or for temporary exhibits in the community or any other loans deemed appropriate. The Board of Trustees must approve these loans.
De-accession is the formal process of removing material from the Society’s permanent collection. The Board of Trustees recognizes the occasional need to assess the collections and de-accession materials. De-accessioning shall occur only when material:
- Is no longer useful to the purpose and activities of the Society.
- Does not address any of the Society’s collecting themes.
- Has deteriorated or is damaged beyond its usefulness.
- Can no longer be preserved.
- Is duplicated in the permanent collections by a better or more representative example of the same type or class.
- There is not adequate storage space to store the collection(s)
- There is a more appropriate location/venue for this material.
The Board of Trustees delegates and assigns authority to de-accession collections in the following manner:
The Board of Trustees shall make all de-accession decisions on behalf of the Society.
X. DE-ACCESSION PROCEDURE
In order for an item(s) to be de-accessioned, the following steps need to be followed:
- The Category Chair refers the item(s) to be de-accessioned to the Acquisitions Committee.
- The Acquisitions Committee refers the item(s) to be de-accessioned to the Board of Trustees.
- The Board of Trustees publishes the item(s) to be de-accessioned in the Wayne County Historical Society of Ohio newsletter with an auction date and location or details concerning other means of disposal.
- Any questions and/or concerns from the membership shall be addressed to the President of the Board of Trustees and the Chair of the Acquisitions Committee.
Disposal is the final component of the de-accession process, through which de-accessioned material is permanently removed from the Society’s ownership or is placed in a non-accessioned collection. The only Board-approved methods of disposal include:
- Public Auction
- Transfer to charitable or educational institution or governmental agency
- Transfer to other local Historical Societies and museums
The Board of Trustees recognizes the sensitive nature of the disposal process and directs that procedures be in place to govern the disposition of material. Such procedures shall be based on the following general principles:
- The recommendation shall include the proposed means of disposal.
- A complete de-accession record shall be kept for all recommended items. The record shall contain the item or collection identification number, a description of the material, the reason for de-accession, donor information, final disposition of material and record of approval status.
- An important part of the de-accession record is a picture(s) of the recommended item(s). A picture(s) shall be included with each de-accession record for each recommended item.
- Insofar as practical, any restrictions that accompanied an item at the time of its acquisition shall be honored. In the event of a question concerning intent or force of the restrictions, the Board of Trustees shall seek legal counsel.
- The integrity of topical collections that have been accessioned as a unit shall be maintained, insofar as practical.
- No staff member, trustee, agent of a staff member, Society member or volunteer shall acquire items de-accessioned from the Society’s collections except through public auction.
- The Society shall receive as close to fair market value as possible for items that are sold.
- All funds from the sale of de-accessioned material shall be added to the Ethel Parker Acquisitions Fund, which shall be used solely to purchase items for the Society’s collections.
XII. RELATIONSHIP TO OTHER INSTITUTIONS
It shall be the policy of the Wayne County Historical Society of Ohio to cooperate with other museums, historical societies, and public agencies in the acquisition, preservation, and use of materials in the categories defined above, However, the Board, through this policy statement, affirms the primacy of the Society’s role and its special obligation for the acquisition, maintenance, and preservation of artifacts, specimens, and documents associated with the history, prehistory, and natural history of Wayne County, Ohio.
The Board of Trustees approved this policy unanimously on Tuesday, October 25, 2005 upon a unanimous recommendation from the Acquisitions Committee of the Wayne County Historical Society of Ohio.