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BLUE SLOPE COUNTRY MUSEUM, INC.
MUSEUM COLLECTIONS POLICY

MISSION

Blue Slope Country Museum preserves past agricultural practices and lifestyles for the benefit of multi-generations to positively impact future decisions in agriculture.

VISION

Blue Slope Country Museum will be seen as an important resource center for encouraging people to think globally when visualizing past agricultural practices and lifestyles.

STATEMENT OF PURPOSE

The purpose of the Corporation shall be to help preserve and educate the public of the unique, historical and educational heritage of agriculture in New England. The Corporation is formed exclusively for educational and charitable purposes of the public, to gather, demonstrate, and preserve the historical importance of antique farm tools, household items and related implements. Educational programs and events shall be coordinated and conducted to further the historical goals of the Corporation, including similar permissible objectives as the same are allowed within the meaning of Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (or the corresponding provisions of any future U.S. Internal Revenue Law, hereinafter referred to as the "Code".)

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I. COLLECTIONS POLICY

A. Board

The Board of Directors oversees the museum collections. Recognizing that the collections are a critical component of the Museum's mission, the Board shall review and serve as advocates for the development, preservation and maintenance of the Museum's collections.

B. General Policy

The Blue Slope Country Museum Inc., as a duly incorporated organization under the laws and statutes of the State of Connecticut, is the sole legal body designated to hold title to its collections. Although the Staebner Collection represents the majority of the artifacts and is on loan, the Museum acquires artifacts through purchase, gift, bequest or exchange. As a steward of a public collection, the Blue Slope Country Museum Inc. agrees to preserve its acquisitions for maximum longevity through accessioning, record keeping, proper handling, rotating exhibition, necessary conservation and appropriate storage. The Museum is also responsible for the interpretation of its acquisitions by making these objects available to scholars and to the general public, developing exhibitions and publications about collections, and lending to exhibitions at other institutions.

The criteria for the development of collections are that objects must have significance of telling the story of agriculture in the region.

1. The Board of Directors will consider all recommendations for the development of the collections through purchase, gift, exchange, loan or sale.

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2. All exchanges with museums, private individuals or dealers must be approved by the Board of Directors.

3. Potential gifts are evaluated by the Board of Directors for authenticity and documentary importance.

4. All purchases, gifts, bequests and exchanges should be reported to the Board of Directors.

5. No objects shall be deaccessioned from the collections without a vote of the Board of Directors.

6. No objects of a significant size, or objects that would cause undue burden on the finances or physical structure shall be accessioned into the collections without the approval of the Board of Directors.

7. The Board of Directors shall be responsible for the continual maintenance and preservation of the collections following generally accepted professional practices.

8. All objects will comply with all applicable federal, state CT General Statues (11-80-89 et.seq. Regarding Property Found at Museums), and local laws and regulations.

The policy statements set forth herein are intended to serve as general guidelines and may be modified or amended by the Board as situations and need require.

II. ACQUISITIONS

A. Purchases:
The purchasing policy of the Board is to upgrade and to enlarge the Museum's collections by developing identified areas of strength and to establish new areas as specific funding becomes available. The Board of Directors shall approve all purchases.

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B. Gifts:
1. The acceptance of gifts to the Museum will be presented to the Board of Directors for approval and then will be held in public trust.
The Museum seeks gifts and bequests of important objects and welcomes offers of such material. Before accepting an object from a donor, the Museum must ensure that it is receiving clear title. When a donor or vendor is unwilling or unable to document the provenance of an object, he or she must produce a bill of sale or a written statement describing the circumstances under which the object came into his or her possession, and also a disclaimer that he or she has no reason to believe that the title rests with another individual or institution. If clear title cannot be obtained, the object should not be accepted.
2. Donations accepted by the Board of Directors become the unconditional and unrestricted property of the Blue Slope Country Museum Inc. In accepting a donation, the Blue Slope Country Museum Inc. agrees to care for, preserve, research, and exhibit and credit the object appropriately. All donated object(s) are accessioned into the collection and become available for public display, research, publication and photography.

3. The Museum upholds the 1978 Copyright Law (Pub. L. 94-553 of Title 17 of the United States Code). The Museum assumes the copyright of all objects in the collections created and donated prior to January 1, 1978. The Deed of Gift form, as of January 1, 1996, will transfer the copyright as well as the title of an object from the donor to the Blue Slope Country Museum Inc. unless otherwise specifically stated on the form. All efforts will be made, by the appropriate Staff member, to clear the copyright for all objects acquired between January 1, 1978 and January 1, 1996.

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4. The Museum's collection only accepts unrestricted gifts and bequests. However, it is understandable that because of the sensitive nature of some materials, some temporary restrictions may be in order for archival collections. Any such restrictions should be spelled out carefully in writing, with specific time limits established. Any donor restrictions must be approved by the Board of Directors prior to accepting the object. For example, the donors of personal papers may wish to restrict accessibility to those papers to a number of years.

5. The Museum reserves the right to reject objects of insufficient quality, duplicates, irrelevant or insignificant material, or objects of a size or condition that would otherwise cause undue burden to the Museum's resources. When rejecting offers, the Museum may recommend other institutions where such objects may be placed. In certain instances, conserving and storing objects may cause the Museum an undue financial burden. In these cases, the Museum should attempt to solicit funds from the donor, or alternate source, for the conservation or maintenance of the objects.
6. Appraisal of gifts must conform to current laws governing donations to non-profit institutions. Internal Revenue Service regulations prevent Board members of the Blue Slope Country Museum Inc. from acting as an appraiser for tax evaluations. The donor is responsible for obtaining an appraisal if needed.

C. Bequests:
The same guidelines for gifts apply for bequests. A copy of the Last Will and Testament documenting the bequest must be obtained prior to the acceptance of the object. It is the responsibility of the estate to have an appraisal completed prior to dispersal. It is the Museum's general policy not to accept restricted gifts or bequests.

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D. Exchanges:

Exchanges are an acceptable method of adding to the collection. All exchanges, with museums, private individuals, dealers or profitable corporations must be approved by the Board of Directors.

III. LOANS

A. Incoming Loans:
Short-term loans may be undertaken for purposes of exhibit, study or photography. The Museum will not accept long-term loans, unless specifically approved by the Board of Directors.

1. Board approved long-term loans shall be limited to a specific temporary term. Long-term loans should be renewed annually.

2. Unless otherwise specified in writing, the Museum shall be responsible for insurance on incoming loans and condition reports should be written on all incoming loans.

B. Outgoing Loans:

Outgoing loans will be considered for the purpose of exhibition, conservation or research with approval from the Board of Directors. The Board of Directors will consider proposed exhibition loans of artifacts to established public institutions which demonstrate the capability of protecting, insuring, exhibiting and handling loan materials. All other loans will be released only to professionals approved by the Board. The Museum reserves the right to reject any such request based on the object's condition, the length of the loan, the intended use or the condition of the facilities of the borrower.

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Loans must be insured by the other institution for full estimated value; certificates of insurance and facility and condition reports must be presented before the object is released. Unless otherwise agreed, the Museum will charge the borrower for packing, shipping, insurance, and/or conservation.

Archival materials do not circulate. They are only considered for loan under the same conditions as established above.

C. Past Loans:

The Board of Directors shall endeavor to convert past loans in possession of the Museum to permanent gifts. Every effort should be made to recover or make a permanent gift of outstanding outgoing loans.

IV. INSURANCE

The Museum insures its in-house collections. The Museum insures short-term, incoming loans borrowed for exhibitions, unless otherwise determined by both institutions. The Museum does not insure long-term, incoming loans, unless otherwise decided by the Board of Directors. Lenders must assume and show proof of insurance for the object, or sign a document waiving claims against the Museum for damage to the object while on loan. The Museum should insure outgoing loans that are otherwise not insured.

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V. DEACCESSIONING

The Museum reserves the right to dispose of any object that later becomes a duplicate, or is displaced by an object of greater relevance or quality, or is otherwise unsuitable to the collections. Deaccessioning, or the disposal of an object from the Museum's collection, must be approached with great caution. Deaccessioning should not be undertaken for the primary purpose of generating revenue. All proceeds derived from deaccessioning are designated for acquisition and maintenance of objects.

1. Objects that do not adhere to the mission of the Museum, that are of poor quality, are duplicates, have no provenance, or are in irreparable condition, may be considered for deaccessioning. When deaccessioning is considered, a full written justification of the proposed action, including an explanation of the terms of accessioning, will be made by the Board of Directors.

2. Before deaccessioning any object from the collections, efforts must be made to ascertain that the Museum hold free and clear legal title to the object. If there is any uncertainty, these items shall not be deaccessioned. The burden of clearing title rests with the Board of Directors.

3. Deaccessioning follows a strict sequence of review. There shall be an opportunity for discussion at two consecutive meetings of the Board of Directors. The vote shall be included in the minutes. Final action rests with the Board of Directors. No object is deemed to have left the collection without this entire review process. A previously unaccessioned object is subject to the same review process as an accessioned object.

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4. The Board shall dispose of deaccessioned items according to their best judgement. No deaccessioned material may be given, purchased or bid-on at auction by a member of the Board, or by members of their family.

a. Public Auction is the preferred method of disposing of deaccessioned objects. The Museum will try to assure that objects are identified as its property.

b. Objects in such poor condition that, in the view of the Board of Directors, no market demand exists, may be destroyed with the approval of the Board of Directors, after being photographed, formally deaccessioned and recorded in the object file or data base.

c. Objects may be deaccessioned and exchanged with another institution for objects of comparable value that are relevant. Objects may also be deaccessioned and sold directly to another institution for market value, to be established by the Board of Directors, or by qualified appraiser. Sales are not made directly to private individuals, dealers or profitable corporations. All exchanges are voted upon by the Board of Directors.

5. Notations of the method of dispersal, date, receiver and price will be put in the accession file or data base so that there is a permanent record of the item.

6. All benefits from deaccessioning shall be deposited in a fund to be budgeted for the development, maintenance and preservation of the museum collections. The American Association of Museum's ethical guidelines prohibit the use of any deaccessioning funds for any other purpose.

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VI. PHOTOGRAPHY

The Museum has a regular fee schedule has been established and is adhered to, with exceptions to be made at the Board of Directors' discretion. Scholars may be permitted to take photographs of objects for study purposes. No one may take or use photographs for publication without written permission. The Museum enforces its ownership and all the privileges that copyright affords, and when images or photographs are published, proper credit must be given to the Museum. Objects may leave the Museum for professional photography with the permission of the Board of Directors.


Approved by the BSCM, INC. Board of Directors May 21, 2012


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