Access Policy

The museum’s collections are the property of the state of Nevada and are held in public trust. All museum staff are responsible for the overall security of the museum building and the safety of the collections, both in storage and on exhibit. The museum encourages study of the collection and accompanying documentation by responsible scholars in an attempt to satisfy research requests.

The purpose of an access policy is to encourage appropriate access to and use of collections and associated documentation while maintaining good stewardship. The management of the ethnographic and archaeological collections is designed to ensure that the artifacts entrusted to the museum's care are available for research and for the enrichment and education of the public today and into the future. The museum may restrict access for reasons of security and preservation of the collections.

Access to the ethnographic and archaeological collections is available upon written request and upon approval by the program director for professional purposes, including research, exhibits, and educational programs.

Scholarly and Professional Access

Students and scholars requesting access to the collections will submit a proposal of their planned research project, including type of collections and data to be examined, objectives, publication information, proposed timetable and schedule of hours to be spent at the museum. The program director has the final authority to allow access to the collection, which is to be based on the professional qualifications of the individual, feasibility, merit of the project, the applicability of the collection to the project's scope, and/or the ability to provide adequate staff supervision and resources for the duration and completion of the research.

Public Access

Public access to the collections and resources of the museum through exhibition and education programs may be supplemented by individual or group tours by appointment at the discretion of the program director. Members of the public not engaged in approved research will not be permitted to handle artifacts in the collections.

Researchers must read and sign the In-House Loan Form by which researchers agree to follow the established procedures for the use of collections before gaining access to them. A specific workspace in the museum will be arranged for researchers, and the following guidelines will apply:

  • The laboratory hours are 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m., Monday through Friday (closed state and federal holidays).
  • Unless specified, use a pencil to avoid possible permanent ink damage.
  • The program director and/or collection manager will be responsible for removing requested objects or collections from storage and returning them after use.
  • The use of gloves will be required in most instances, especially when using ethnographic collections.
  • Copies of associated documents, maps, and photographs will be made at the expense of the user.
  • A copy of any final product (publication, thesis, term paper, etc.) resulting from collection use must be deposited in the museum.
  • The researcher will acknowledge the museum in any publication or presentation using collections and/or associated documentation.
  • Specific additional guidelines may apply to the use of either ethnographic or archaeological collections and will be determined on a case-by-case basis.
  • Under no circumstances are objects to be taken from the museum, storage areas, or designated room.

Destructive Analysis

Destructive analysis is a procedure that destroys or alters all or a portion of an object. The purpose of the destructive analysis policy is to establish parameters for permitting responsible and ethical use of objects and to balance the loss to the collections caused by destructive analysis with the potential gain from research.

Ethnographic Collection Objects

Examination or analysis involving modification, restoration, or reconstruction is prohibited on ethnographic collections.

Archaeological Collection Objects

Destructive analysis is not allowed on archaeological collections, except under exceptional circumstances, and requires the prior approval of the program director. When destructive analysis is appropriate, every effort will be made to limit destruction to less than the entire object and to save what remains so it will continue to be available for research and education. Only a licensed professional, with adequate liability insurance, will undertake the collection and testing of analysis material.

It is the responsibility of the researcher to select the items to be sampled. A preliminary research visit is required to make this determination.