Collections Policy for Huronia Museum
Effective: June 2006
Reviewed: January 25, 2017, November 15, 2017
1.1. Huronia Museum was created in 1935 as a citizen’s committee to preserve the history of the region of historic Huronia. In 1946, the museum was established to collect, buy, or trade 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.
1.2. 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 Southern Georgian Bay
1.3. It is the understanding that all acquisitions shall be categorized to place, event and people as they pertain to above primary themes.
1.4. 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.
1.5. The curator shall make recommendations to the Accessions Committee on the acquisition of any objects of historical significance.
2. The Collections
2.1. Huronia Museum is an active collecting institution which acquires objects of material culture and historical significance. 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.
2.2. Additions to the collection must support the mandate and themes of the museum and be in a condition to function as a museum quality artifact. The museum shall only accept artifacts for which the museum can guarantee the availability of staff and financial resources involved in acquiring, documenting and preserving the items.
3.1. Huronia Museum is responsible for the collection and it shall ensure that collections management standards, guidelines, policies and procedures are developed implemented and maintained for the benefit of the public.
3.2. The Curator is 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.
3.3. Huronia Museum has adapted the “Ethical Guidelines” (See Appendix 1) as set forth by the Canadian Museums Association, and shall ensure its policies and procedures remain subject to these standards.
4.1. An Accessions Committee shall be appointed by the Board of Directors. All objects entering the museum’s collections shall be reviewed for suitability by the Curator who shall make recommendations to the Accessions Committee. The Accessions Committee shall bring forth their report and recommendations to the Board of Directors for final approval. 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 or historical period within the Southern Georgian Bay region
- Physical Condition of the object/s
- Availability of staff and financial resources involved in acquiring, documenting, storing and preserving the object/s
- Recorded information available to support ownership, provenience, authenticity and importance of object/s
- Completion of signed Gift Form Agreement
- Huronia Museum shall not accept objects where a potential donor insists that certain conditions be met, such a guarantee that it shall be displayed.
4.2. Objects acquired by the museum must be useful for the museum collections, museum displays, scientific research, research potential and their interpretive and educational value. They are acquired to preserve them for the benefit of the community and for all Canadians.
4.3. Objects are acquired by donation from a legal donor or through purchase from a legal seller. The signed donation form shall record as much information as possible. These records shall be kept in perpetuity.
4.4. The purchase of objects must be approved by the Board of Directors as these decisions may have important financial implications for the museum.
4.5. Huronia Museum does not accept “long term loans” or “permanent loans”. Short-term loans for object study, exhibit purposes or educational use are permitted but these are generally made from institution to institution and are not designed as “permanent” donations to the collection.
4.6. All donors shall indicate on the gift form if they wish to have their intended donation returned. Items not accepted by the Accessions Committee and the donor does not wish to have the item returned, may be offered to another museum. If no museum can be found, the item or items shall be sold through a third party and the funds obtained shall be allocated to the endowment fund. Items considered not viable for re-sale by a third party will be disposed of by museum staff.
5. De-accessioning of Objects
5.1. To maintain a growing and relevant collection, occasionally it is necessary to de-accession artifacts, which involves removing them from the museum’s permanent collection. The Curator shall assess the collection on a regular basis and make a recommendation for de-accessioning when deemed necessary. The Accessions Committee shall review the item(s) for de-accessioning and make their recommendation to the to the Board of Directors. The Board of Directors must approve these recommendations, by motion, before the items can be deaccessioned.
5.2. Reasons for De-accessioning Items from Huronia Museum’s Collection
- Lack of significance, relevance or usefulness to Huronia Museum research, education or exhibition mission and goals.
- Inadequate provenience documentation that reduces significant usefulness
- Deterioration, damage or alteration beyond repair or requiring excessive resources to repair
- Proper preservation within current Museum facilities and/or resources is not possible
- Museum cannot care for the object properly
- Hazardous conditions may threaten stability of other collections and/or health of staff
- Legality of ownership is challenged after investigation
- Legitimate repatriation claim
- Authenticity of the object is questionable
5.3. All objects de-accessioned in this manner are subject to notification through the Huronia Museum website.
5.4. De-accessioned items shall be offered to another museum. If no museum can be found, the item or items shall be sold through a third party and the funds obtained shall be allocated to the endowment fund.
5.5. Any certified objects that meet the Canadian Cultural Properties Certification Program requirements shall be transferred under those procedural requirements.
5.6. Any reproductions such as animal furs, textiles or other perishable material may be disposed of at the discretion of the Curator.
5.7. Huronia Museum Members, members of the Board, staff and/or volunteers cannot acquire deaccessioned artifacts through the de-accessioning process and must ensure that they conform to the policies of de-accessioning objects.
6. Appraisals and Tax Receipts
6.1. The Canada Revenue Agency provides for charitable not-for-profit organizations to issue tax receipts for the fair market value of objects and intellectual property donated to the museum.
6.2. 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.
6.3. No tax receipts for artifacts shall be issued by the museum until the valuation and it’s associated documentation has been reviewed by the Accessions Committee. The donor of the artifact, as indicated on the donation form, shall be the sole recipient of the tax receipt.
7. Access and Use of Collections
7.1. 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 illustrative purposes such as book publications, and 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 Curator and provide a copy of their research pertaining to Huronia Museum’s collection.
7.2. The Curator shall be responsible for all measures taken to ensure the proper care and handling of all objects in the collection. Fees for the use of intellectual property shall 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.
8.1. Loans are either “outgoing” or “incoming”. Huronia Museum only enters into loan situations with other recognized institutions, or when authorized by the Curator. Reciprocal organizations must designate a specific individual to be responsible for the loaned items and provide proof of insurance for the agreed-upon value of any and all items while off the premises of the Huronia Museum. A loan agreement form is required for such transactions and must include the following information and an agreement to provide Huronia Museum with the results of this research and acknowledgment 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 the reciprocal institution
- Relevant insurance information appended to form
- Signatures from both parties
- Detailed report of the findings and how the loan assisted your research provided to Huronia Museum
9. Records Management
9.1. In order to fulfill its stewardship role vis-á-vis the collection, Huronia Museum shall 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 the Parks Canada System of classifciation
- The input of this information into electronic format in the artifact registration database.