Seminar/Conference Alert: Best and Worst Practices in Deaccessioning

From H-Museum:

Best and Worst Practices in Deaccessioning
A One-Day Seminar in Legal, Ethical and Professional Guidelines for Collections Stewardship
College of Physicians of Philadelphia
Tuesday, March 13, 2007, 10 am - 4:30 pm

Organized by the Philadelphia Area Consortium of Special Collections Libraries
Co-sponsored by the College of Physicians of Philadelphia<>

What factors contribute to "good" or "bad" deaccessioning? What are the legal, ethical, and professional standards? Do they vary for each institution, or each case? Deaccessioning is the permanent removal (by sale, gift, trade or even destruction) of collections items from museums,archives, libraries and similar institutions. Done properly, it can be an important part of a comprehensive collections management program and strengthen an institution. Done poorly, it can bring an institution negative publicity, diminished interpretive capacity, financial problems and even lawsuits. Surveys of collecting institutions in the greater Philadelphia area reveal that many of them are deaccessioning materials, or plan to do so in the near future. As they and their boards consider these steps and their ramifications, they often lack resources to help them with their decisions.Additionally, there is no consensus among practitioners within individual fields, let alone among different fields.

The Philadelphia Area Consortium of Special Collections Libraries (PACSCL) has organized a one-day conference to set forth some of the challenges and questions that an institution might confront when considering deaccessioning-and the resources it might tap. The conference is open to the general public, but is particularly recommended for staff and board members of collecting institutions, as well as for attorneys interested ethics and governance questions. (Pennsylvania CLE credits, including an ethics credit,will be available.)


* LEGAL STANDARDS: deeds of trust, deeds of gift, donor contracts, due diligence for boards of trustees, accounting standards for the proceeds from collections sales
* ETHICAL STANDARDS: How should you reach your decision? Should you try to find a local repository? Is a private sale acceptable? What role does mission play? What do donors of collections and funders think? What will the press say?
* PROFESSIONAL STANDARDS: What policies do relevant umbrella organizations promulgate? What other resources are there for best practices? Does it matter what kind of governance structure you have? What other options exist?

SPEAKERS will include

* Ralph Lerner, Esq. (Sidley Austin)
* Stephen Urice, Esq. (University of Miami Law School)
* Julie Hart (Assistant Director for Accreditation, American Association ofMuseums)
* Carl Nold (Historic New England)
* Alexandra Peers (Columbia University, freelance journalist)
* Michael Zinman (collector)
* Alice Beamesderfer (Philadelphia Museum of Art)
* David Moltke-Hansen (Historical Society of Pennsylvania)
* Barbara W. Silberman (Heritage Philadelphia Program of The Pew Charitable Trusts)
* Margery Sly (Presbyterian Historical Society)
* Derick Dreher (Rosenbach Museum & Library)

SCHEDULE overview

9 am - 10 am Registration; continental breakfast will be provided

10 am - Noon Session One: Ethical Standards

Noon - 1 pm Lunch break; box lunches will be provided

1 pm - 2:45 pm Session Two: Professional Standards

2:45 pm - 4:30 pm Session Three: New approaches to Deaccessioning

4:30 pm - 5:30pm After the conference, feel free to visit the Mütter Museum during these extended hours.

TO REGISTER please visit byMarch 8, 2007.Attendance is limited and advance registration is required. Registration fees include conference participation as well as continental breakfast and box lunches. (Please note that registration fees will not be refunded afterMarch 8, 2007.)$40 Staff and board of PACSCL member institutions $60 General public $100 Attorneys desiring Pennsylvania CLE credits


The conference will be held at the College of Physicians of Philadelphia at 19 S. 22nd Street (between Chestnut and Market Streets) in Center City Philadelphia. The College is a short walk from Amtrak's 30th Street Station,and a wide variety of public transportation is also available. Nearby parking is available at 22 S. 21st St, 2128 Market St, 2300 Market St, and28 S. 21st St. (note that parking fees are not included in the conference registration). The college is accessible to persons with disabilities. To find out more about the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, please contact Sofie Sereda at 215-563-3737 ext. 232 or For more information about this conference please contact Valerie Linhart, Rosenbach Museum & Library 215-732-1600 ext. 111 or

This conference was organized by the Philadelphia Area Consortium of Special Collections Libraries ( ) with the assistance of Derick Dreher, Rosenbach Museum & Library; Danial Elliott, Philadelphia Museum of Art;Andrea Kenyon, College of Physicians of Philadelphia; Valerie Linhart,Rosenbach Museum & Library; Margery Sly, Presbyterian Historical Society;and Sofie Sereda, College of Physicians of Philadelphia. The PACSCL conference on deaccessioning takes place one day before the"Legal Issues in Museum Administration" seminar, presented March 14-16 in Philadelphia by the American Law Institute-American Bar Association(ALI-ABA), and co-sponsored by the Smithsonian Institution with the cooperation of the American Association of Museums. These conferences complement each other logically, but separate registration is required. For more information about the ALI-ABA seminar, please visit:


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