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Sandor Teszler Library Collection Policies: Fine Arts Collection

What we collect, how we collect

 

Wofford College Fine Arts Collections Management Policies

 

1. Mission

2. Collection

3. Acquisition

4. Deaccession

5. Loans

6. Registration System

 

1. Mission

The Wofford College Fine Arts Collection supports the academic curriculum and the cultural life of the college, which enhances the larger mission of Wofford College, providing superior liberal arts education that prepares its students for extraordinary and positive contributions to society.  The Fine Arts Collection as an important educational resource strengthens, supports, and contributes to the academic research on campus and beyond, serving to the college community of students, faculty and staff, alumni, and to the region’s general public. 

2. Collection 

The purpose of the collection is to provide a rich and diverse resource of works of art and cultural significance, both contemporary and historical that foster discussions, exhibitions, teaching and research across disciplines.  The College collects works that enrich and enhance the teaching and research mission.  While the College owns and bears legal responsibility for the Fine Arts collections, the curator is responsible for identifying and researching possible acquisitions.  The curator may consult with members of the faculty, or other individuals when additional expertise is needed or desired.

3. Acquisition

Acquisitions support the teaching and research missions of the College, and the role of the college as a public resource for investigating the arts across cultures and through time.  Every effort will be made to insure that college acquisitions do not conflict with or duplicate any of the college’s other collections.

The College will acquire an object only when it has been determined, to the degree possible, that the work has not been derived from illicit trade or wrongful seizure and that its acquisition does not contribute to the continuation of illicit trade or otherwise questionable practices in the obtaining of works of art. The College will not knowingly acquire works of art that have been illegally exported or otherwise transferred in violation of the principles of the 1970 UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property.  The College abides by the standards outlined by the American Alliance of Museums on the Acquisition of Archaeological Materials and Ancient Art.  To the degree possible, the College will investigate the provenance of works prior to acquisition and seek to obtain written documentation regarding its history, including import and export documents and necessary permits.  The College requests that sellers and donors provide documentation regarding provenance of works offered for acquisition.  The College will not acquire any object that was obtained illegally or that does not have proper documents including permits. 

Gifts and bequests are generally of an unconditional and unrestricted nature, and no work should be accepted with a guarantee of display, publication, perpetual ownership, attribution, or valuation by the College, but the curator may consider special conditions or restrictions in exceptional cases.  Any restrictions or conditions must be clearly stated in the Deed of Gift or other instrument of conveyance.  These conditions shall then be strictly observed. 

No work will be acquired by purchase, gift, or bequest if the College is unable to provide it with proper care and storage.  At the time of acquisition every effort must be made to determine and predict the physical needs of the object and its lifecycle including the transitory intentions of the artist. 

If a work is offered or solicited as a promised gift to the College, the donor's offer of a promised gift and the approval of the promised gift must be documented in writing. 

Fractional gifts will be considered under certain circumstances.  Fractional gifts will only be accepted if the donor provides a written statement of intent to transfer 100% of the ownership of the object within a specified period of time in accordance with federal legislation.  A work that is given as a fractional gift will be accessioned into the collection only after the fractional gift is completed.

4. Deaccessions

Deaccessions are governed by the College.  Although the result of deaccessioning is to provide funds for purchasing other works, consideration of deaccessioning shall not be undertaken on the basis of cash value of the works to be sold.  In considering deaccessions, the College must weigh carefully the interests of the college community for which it holds the collection in trust, the donor's intent in the broadest sense, the interests of the scholarly and the cultural community, and the College's resources.  Deaccessioning shall be considered only for the following reasons: 

1. The work is of poor quality, either intrinsically or within its class. The work does not have sufficient study value as to warrant its retention in the collections, or the specific collection as a whole is not of sufficient scale and importance to warrant the support of study examples.

2. The work is inferior to a similar example in the collection, or is a duplicate and has no value as part of a series or set.

3. The authenticity or attribution of the work can be shown to be false or fraudulent and the object lacks sufficient aesthetic merit or artistic importance to warrant retention.  In the case of a forgery the work shall be so marked before disposal.

4. The work is in such poor condition that proper repairs are not feasible or will render the object essentially false.

5. The work is hazardous to people and/or other objects in the collection.

6. It is conclusively proven that a work acquired by the College was illegally exported from its country of origin (i.e. objects transferred during the Nazi era). 

In recommending deaccessions to the Art Collection Advisory Committee, the curator having jurisdiction shall present a written statement of the purpose and justification, observing the highest standards of scholarship and professional practice.  It is the responsibility of the curator to make sure these standards are observed.  If the Committee approves the deaccession, the proposal shall then be presented to the Dean of the library.  The dean shall determine that legal or contractual considerations do not prevent deaccessioning.  If approved by the dean, the dean shall then make the recommendation to the president for written approval.   

Supporting material shall include at least the following: signed recommendation, accession number, description of object, method of acquisition, estimated value, proposed means of disposal, condition report, and justification.  All written materials relating to the deaccession, including the written approval of the president, shall be kept as part of the College’s permanent records.  Before disposal, all accession numbers and other identifications relating to the College shall be removed from the object. 

Having been approved through the process outlined above, deaccessioning shall be conducted in such a way as to maximize improvement of the College's collection, while preserving its integrity and reputation.  This may be accomplished through repatriation, sale at public auction, sale to or exchange with another museum, or sale/exchange through art or antique dealers.  The dean and curator involved shall decide in each instance whether it is in the College's best interest for its ownership of the works to be revealed. 

Curator and any associated personnel may not acquire a work deaccessioned by the College.  

Income from deaccessions shall be used solely for the purchase or acquisition of another work or works.  Purchases will reflect the original acquisition whenever possible.  

When an object that was a gift to the College is deaccessioned, the objects acquired with the income shall be credited as “gifts by exchange” of the original donor, either singly or in combination with the names of other donors or funding sources contributing to the new acquisition.

5. Loans

Incoming Loans

The College borrows works of art and cultural significance from non-profit institutions, museums, galleries, artists, and collectors for exhibition and research.  Works selected for loan to the College should be in condition suitable for transport and display.  Curator is responsible for the formal loan request, loan agreement, receipts, condition reports, provisions for insurance coverage, transportation, unpacking, and packing.  All works on loan to the College are individually identified and documented by curator.  The College will not undertake any matting, framing, or conservation treatment without permission of the lender.  When returned works on loan to the College are to be packed and shipped as received, unless different arrangements are made in consultation with the lender. 

Outgoing Loans

The College loans works of art and cultural significance from its collection to other non-profit institutions for temporary exhibitions and other scholarly and educational purposes.  Works are not loaned to individuals. 

Loan requests must be reviewed and approved by curator based upon the condition of the work; the value of the work; the impact of the loan upon the College's exhibitions, educational programs, and teaching and research needs; the significance and importance of the exhibition or project for which the loan is requested; the expertise, scholarship, and outcomes such as publications; the facilities, environmental conditions, and security provisions of the requesting institution; the justification of our work to the exhibition or project. 

The College also loans objects from its collections to other departments, including the offices of the president, provost, admissions and development, the president's and other deans’ residence, and public space.  Objects must be approved for campus loan by the curator, and the object must not be handled while on campus loan except under the supervision of the curator.

Objects in Custody

Objects left in the temporary custody of the College will be individually identified and treated with the same level of care as an incoming loan.  

Occasionally objects are found in collections for which there is no documentation and objects are left unclaimed. The College will make every reasonable effort to identify the object and any relevant information about these objects. If the College is unable to establish ownership, the College is obligated to maintain the object until it can be legally determined to be abandoned property. At that time the object may be considered for accession into the collection. 

6. Registration System

Documentation

The maintenance of accurate, up-to-date records and complete cataloguing for its collections is one of the most important collections management responsibilities.  Records concerning the acquisition, identification, provenance, condition, location, insurance value, conservation, exhibition, and publication history of works in the permanent collection are maintained by the curator.  Each item in the College’s collections must have a unique identification number (accession number) applied to it in a manner that is reversible if required. 

The curator undertakes research on its collections and also encourages outside scholars and researchers to study the College’s collections in order to expand knowledge.  The College will maintain records for each object in the collection including its identification, artist attribution, material and technique, proof of ownership, provenance, exhibition and publication history, condition, and conservation treatment.

Collection Care

The College has a legal, ethical, and fiduciary responsibility for the safekeeping of the permanent collection and it is the College’s responsibility to provide a safe and secure environment for all collections in its custody, including loaned objects.  This means controlling light exposure, relative humidity and temperature, pollutants and contaminants in accordance with current best practices.  Maintaining clean and secure storage facilities are the responsibility of the curator.  Curator will identify objects that are in need of conservation treatments or stabilization and will research and secure appropriate conservation resources and experts. 

Interns and students must be supervised or work in pairs when handling collection objects.  Any other staff member, researcher, or conservator must have permission from the curator before handling or moving collection objects.  Curator is responsible for providing training, guidelines, and procedures for safe handling and security of collection objects.

A comprehensive or wall-to-wall inventory of the collection will be executed every 3 years under the direction of curator.  A spot check inventory will be executed once a year, as required by the College’s Risk Management office. 

In addition to the policies outlined above, the College will maintain a disaster and emergency preparedness plan for its collections. 

Access and Use

The care and welfare of an object in the context of the Wofford College Fine Arts Collection’s mission must be the first and primary consideration in determining how it is to be used.  Deterioration is inherent in the use of the collections; a balance between the benefits of long-term maintenance of the collection and the hazards of its use must be attained.  An optimal balance should maximize the educational use of the work and minimize the potential damage and deterioration to the work. 

Every effort will be made to see that students, faculty, visiting scholars, and others whose projects fall within the educational goals are given reasonable access to the permanent collections and collection records.  Visitors are also encouraged to share new scholarship and a variety of cultural perspectives.  The College has a responsibility to preserve its collections in the best condition possible for future generations.  Since unrestricted public access would result in rapid and irreparable damage to objects, access to the collections must be limited to educational and research activities.  Access to the collections is subject to limitations of space, staff time, condition, and security requirements.

Risk Management and Insurance

The Collection is insured under a fine arts insurance policy.  Works are insured for current market value while in transit and in the custody of a borrower unless other arrangements between the museum and borrower are made in a signed contractual agreement.  Curator is responsible for providing up to date insurance values for objects in the collections. 

Incoming loans will be insured by the College at the request of the lender unless the lender waives this requirement in a signed contractual agreement prior to the museum receiving the works. 

All works must be handled in a professional manner.  In the case of damage or loss, curator shall be notified immediately.  

The College will strive to maintain a secure environment for every object in its collection.  To ensure the preservation of the objects entrusted to its care: 

 1. all entrances and exits to spaces that contain collections will be securely locked after business hours;  2. access to keys will be restricted to only those who need them for day to day access;  3. environmental monitoring equipment, including temperature and humidity monitors will be used to detect any unusual fluctuations;  4. disaster preparedness plan will be evaluated and revised at least every five years. 

Intellectual Property/Reproduction and Copyright

The College reserves the right to copyright or trademark materials produced by staff while carrying out employment-related duties, unless a prior agreement has been made.    If the copyright or license is held by another party the College will require written permission to reproduce the work before a copy of the image is made available. 

Non-flash photography by the public of installations from the permanent collection is allowed.  Such photography is intended for private study only and may not be used for publication without written permission from the College.  The Wofford College must be credited for the use of any reproductions of works in the College’s collections.  Images of objects in the collection should be identified with the College’s accession numbers.

Appraisals and Identification

Wofford College staff members are prohibited from providing appraisals or monetary valuations of works of art to any party outside the College.  Curator may respond to inquiries about appraisal services by directing them to the American Society of Appraisers (ASA) or the International Society of Appraisers (ISA). 

If a donor wishes to have an artwork appraised after it has been deposited at the College, the staff will work with the donor to facilitate the appraisal. 

Curator may provide expertise on works outside the College’s collections, but this in no way shall be considered a formal authentication.

Policy Review and Revision

The Art Collection Advisory Committee and curator are responsible for the periodic review and revision of the Collections Management Policies, which should take place at least every five years, or as circumstances dictate.