Advocacy & Policy

NAEA Position Statement on Deaccessioning Objects in Art Museum Collections

[Adopted March 2013; Reviewed March 2016; Reviewed and Revised in February 2021]

Organizations, including but not limited to museums, schools, libraries, archives, and community centers, that collect art, artifacts, and cultural belongings are stewards of our shared past. The collections they house are repositories of our collective human creativity, knowledge, and history in all its diversity. Collections should be viewed as resources that are essential to the education of future generations, rather than as disposable assets, and as such should be protected and maintained to honor the public trust. Deaccessioning, or removing, objects from a collection must be guided by the highest standards of professional practice. Organizations with collections provide an essential component to a high quality and well-rounded education. By preserving, providing access to, and interpreting art, artifacts, and cultural belongings, they offer valuable learning opportunities for all visitors, today and in the future.

This Position Statement was formerly titled: Position Statement on College and University Art Museums [Adopted April 2010; Reviewed and Revised March 2013 when it was also retitled as part of the rewriting to Position Statement on Deaccessioning Objects in Art Museum Collections. In 2021, the meaning and the titled were reworked to have a broader meaning for collections in a more general sense than in art museums, with a new title “Position Statement on Deaccessioning Objects in Collections.]

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