August 21, 2012
Collections Policy for Huronia Museum
Huronia Museum was created in 1935 as a citizen’s committee to preserve the history of historic Huronia the region. In 1946, the museum was established to collect, buy, trade or sell objects of historical significance which was to be housed in a museum for educational benefits to the public. In 1970, Huronia Museum became an authorized educational charity with the ability to issue tax receipts for donations.
Today, Huronia Museum has four primary themes which form the foundation of its collection policy. Huronia Museum collects historical objects, papers, photographs and ephemera that relate to:
- Aboriginal Peoples
- Art and art forms by artists of the Georgian Bay region.
- Marine history of Georgian Bay
- Euro-Canadian material culture pertaining to Huronia/Southwestern Georgian Bay
- 17th, 16th, 19th, 20th, 21st century. It is the understanding that all acquisitions from collections will be categorized to place event and people as it pertains to above primary themes.
Huronia is defined as the original homeland of the Huron/Ouendat people prior to their dispersal in 1647-1651 and Georgian Bay refers to the waters and lands approximately 100 km from Midland, Ontario.
The Curator has the discretionary to recommend to the Board on acquiring any objects of historical significance. The curator will recommend any alternative housing of material culture on a temporary or permanent basis providing that material culture is acquired or donated from other geographical locations or the material object is not deemed significant to the Museum’s thematic.
- The Collections
Huronia Museum is an active collecting institution which acquires objects of culture and historical significance that take into account a variety of factors such as: willing donor and donations with “no strings attached”, purchase of historical objects which in turn are acquired for their availability, condition, function, exhibit potential, visitor interest and visitor safety.
The Concept of “historical significance” of an object is determined according to its educational and scientific value and its potential for the understanding of human cultural and historical conditions of the peoples of Huronia. Generally, the collection must support the mandate and themes of the museum.
The membership of Huronia Museum is vested with the alternate responsibility for caring for the collection and through the Board of Directors and the staff. Together they ensure that collections management standards, guidelines, policies and procedures are developed implemented and maintained for the benefit of the public.
The Director/Curator and the Collections Manager are responsible for ensuring that individuals working in any capacity with the collection are made aware of and adhere to museum policies and procedures. In all activities relating to collection management, employees, volunteers, and other stakeholders must not be in a conflict or otherwise misuse their position against the purposes of the museum.
Huronia Museum has adapted the “Ethical Guidelines” as set forth by the Canadian Museums Associations, and will ensure its policies and procedures remain subject to these standards.
All objects entering the museum’s various collections will be reviewed for suitability by the Director/Curator or Collections Manager and an Accessions Committee that will be appointed by the Boards of Directors. The criteria for acquisition to be used in the acquisitions process is as it relates to the four primary themes and may also include the following:
- An object’s association with an event, person, historical period or specific geographical area within the Huronia/Georgian Bay region
- An object’s value pertaining to activities, processes or themes deemed to present things of local significance
- Physical Condition of the object/s
- Availability of staff and financial personnel involved in acquiring, documentary and preserving the object/s
- Recorded information available to support ownership, provenience, authenticity and importance of object/s
- Completion of Deed of Gift Agreement
Generally speaking, objects acquired by the museum must be useful for the museum collections, museum displays, scientific research, research potential and the interpretive and educational value. They are acquired to preserve them for the benefit of the community and for all Canadians.
Objects are acquired by donation from a willing donor or through purchase form a willing seller. All objects will record as much information as possible on a donation form that corresponds to the acquisition number acquired to the object. These records will be kept in perpetuity as signatures provide clear ownership title by the museum for its collections.
Purchases of objects must be approved by the Board of Directors and staff as these decisions may have important financial implications for the museum.
Normally Huronia Museum does not accept “long term loans” or “permanent loans” unless these will lead to formal donation status in the form of a bequest or donation at a later date. Short-term loans for object study, exhibit purposes or education use are permitted but these are generally made from institution to institution and are not designed as “permanent” donations to the collection.
- De-accessioning of Objects
The procedure of de-accessioning of any existing artifact entered into Huronia Museum collections is the responsibility of staff which is then recommended to the Accessions Committee to obtain Board of Directors approval. The Board of Directors will review the recommendations and if deemed by proof of evidence that the artifact or artifacts are to be repatriated with their legitimate owners. The recipient of the repatriated item becomes a legal transfer. The Huronia Museum may request permission from the owners, prior to transfer, to photograph, replicate, or conduct scientific analysis of the artifact or artifacts. When the rightful owner does not accept the artifact or artifacts, the owners will be notified that the de-accessioned objects will be sold and funds obtained will be allocated to the endowment fund. It will be the requirement by writing that the owner agrees to this arrangement. In the case of when an artifact or artifacts cannot be repatriated to its rightful owners, the Huronia Museum reserves the right to dispose of the artifact or artifacts through a donation exchange or sale of the item or items subject to Board approval. All objects de-accessioned in this manner are subject to notification through the Huronia Museum website and some case advertised in the local paper. Any monies obtained from the sale will be allocated to the Huronia Museum Endowment Fund. Any certified objects under that meet the Canadian Cultural Properties Certification Program requirements will be transferred under those procedural requirements.
Any reproductions such as animal furs, textiles or other perishable material may be disposed at the discretion of the curator.
It is the policy of the Huronia Museum that museum members, members of the Board, staff or volunteers cannot acquire through the de-accessioning process and that they conform to the policies of the de-accessioning objects.
- Appraisals and Tax Receipts
The Canada Revenue Agency provides for charitable not-for-profit organizations to issue tax recipts for the fair market value of objects and intellectual property donated to the museum. Objects with a fair market value of $1000.00 or less can be estimated by staff while the value of an item which exceeds $1000.00 should be appraised by an independent qualified appraiser who is knowledgeable and competent to provide a third party evaluation for income tax purposes. It is the donor’s responsibility to secure and pay for such evaluations unless otherwise determined by the accessioning committee.
- Access and Use of Collections
Huronia Museum’s collections are available to the public in a number of ways. The artifact collections are maintained for exhibits, educational activities, scientific research and information for the illustrative purposes such as book publications, virtual programs as well as television and movie productions. Artifacts can be loaned to institutions whose staff or faculties are conducting major research into aspects that pertain to the collection. Researchers need to use the collections by appointment and at the discretion of the Director/Curator final reports need to be.
The Director/Curator and the Collections Manager will be responsible for all measures taken to ensure that proper care and handling of all objects in the collection. Fees for the use of intellectual property will be determined by the staff in consultation with the Board to ensure the museum receives a fair return for the external use of such information.
Loans are either “outgoing” or “incoming”. Huronia Museum only enters into loan situations with other recognized institutions, or authorized by the Director/Curator. Reciprocal organizations must designate a specific individual responsible for the loaned items and provide proof of insurance for the agreed-upon value of any and all items whicle off the premisis of the Huronia Museum. A loan agreement form is required for such transactions, and must include the falling information and an agreement o provide Huronia Museum with the results of this research and acknowledgement of our support.
- Detailed list of all materials included in the loan
- Duration of the loan (expected date of return)
- Purpose of the loan
- Terms of loan (care, handling usage etc.)
- Full contact information appended for reciprocal institution
- Relevant insurance information appended to form
- Signatures from both parties
- Detailed report the finding and how the loan assisted your research providing Huronia Museum
- Records Management
In order to fulfill its stewardship role vis-á-vis the collection, Huronia Museum will thoroughly and accurately document its existing collection, as well as all incoming and outgoing items. This documentation process includes the following:
- Accession sheets with items information
- Catalogue numbers assigned to each item according to the year, accession/donor, object number format
- Item descriptions according to Chenhall system
- The input of this information into electronic format in the artifact registration database.
Huronia Museum will carefully track artifact location information, and conduct periodic audits to determine accuracy. All pertinent information relating to an artifact, such as condition reports, loan status and exhibit information will also be recorded in the database. All paper documents relating to artifacts will be stored in perpetuity. Electronic copies of collections data will the periodically downloaded and stored off-site. Huronia Museum will consistently check and add to the records of the permanent collection.
- Human Remains
Huronia Museum will continue to collection objects that contain or represent human material be they osterological, hair, burial objects, or other funerary objects as it collects for potential collective items from the communities past. However, if certain ethnic interests request that human remains be held by the museum be reburied, then staff and the board will enter into negotiations to ensure that religious and cultural values of the aboriginal community are reasonably and fairly represented and that sensitive human materials are returned for reburial. Huronia Museum may undertake analysis to determine cultural affiliation, or scientific information pertinent to the identification of human remains.
- Other Issues
- i) Huronia Museum had a number of objects which are on loan since 1947-1967. They will be turned into bona fide donations whenever possible in order to reduce long term situations
- ii) Huronia Museum controls all the intellectual, copy right and off-site use of any part of it’s collections and way set fees or rights of use at the discretion of the Director/Curator, Collections Manager in conjunction with the Board of Directors
iii) whenever possible Huronia Museum will endeavor to produce materials in both official languages
Added by board resolution # 2012- 096
Motion that no donations charitable receipts for artifacts be issued by the museum until they have been reviewed by the accessions committee pending formal review of museum’s collections policy.
Moved by Miles Blackhurst. Seconded by Jack Charlebois.
Motion carried. See resolution form # 2012-096
Added by board resolution #2012-102. August 21, 2012
Paragraph to be added to the Collections Policy to deal with items that are not accepted.by the Accessions Committee.
Items not accepted by Accessions Committee of the Huronia Museum will first be offered back to the donor. When the donor does not accept return of the item or items, the item may be offered to another museum whose mandate or themes will be supported by said item or items. If no museum can be found, the item or items will be sold and funds obtained will be allocated to the endowment fund. It will be a requirement that the owner acknowledges in writing these provisions when offering donation.. These items will be disposed of by one of the following methods:
- By silent auction, active auction or tender at a sale to be held annually or more often as the accessions committee shall recommend, at which local dealers and anyone else who asks will have sufficient notice in advance, or
- Where the nature or value of the items to be sold, in the opinion of the accession committee, warrants or requires a different method of disposal, by such method as that committee shall recommend and the Board shall approve.