Acquisitions Policy

Acquisition is the process of acquiring objects for the museum. Acquisition is a prerequisite for accessioning.

Accessioning is the formal procedure that officially incorporates objects into the ethnographic or archaeological collections of the Marjorie Barrick Museum of Art. It is the transfer of clear title of the object(s) or the registration of held-in-trust objects. Upon accessioning, the museum receives ownership of the acquisition. The museum assumes the obligation for the proper care and management of objects. Accessioning includes: (1) inventorying and describing the object(s), (2) assigning the object(s) a unique accession number, and (3) recording this information in the accession files of the museum.

  • Donor is the individual or group from which collections are acquired by the museum through any means.
  • Collections include accessioned ethnographic and archaeological research and teaching collections consisting of objects and associated documentation (archival material).
  • Curation means the care and management of a collection.
  • Object(s) include ethnographic and archaeological artifacts and archival material.

Conditions for Acceptance

A major purpose of the acquisition policy is to ensure that growth of collections is in harmony with the mission, goals, resources, and priorities of the museum. The museum is responsible for maintaining and conserving the objects in collections in perpetuity as a public trust. For this reason, the museum accepts and acquires only those objects that fall within financial and physical limitations of the museum. All potential acquisitions are evaluated by the following criteria:

  • Legal and ethical standards governing possession and use of objects. The museum will not knowingly accept any object acquired by illegal or unethical means. U.S. laws, as well as laws of the country of origin or any UNESCO or international laws, will be followed.
  • The object(s) must be consistent with the Mission Statement and Scope of Collections.
  • Willingness of the donor to transfer complete ownership (provide clear title) to the museum without restriction, limitation, or conditions.
  • All rights and interests, including reproduction, title, and copyright, shall be obtained by the museum without restrictions or conditions.

Standards of Documentation

Minimum standards of documentation, including provenience, vary between the ethnographic and archaeological collections. Objects with little or no contextual information but with research and educational value may be accessioned at the discretion of the program director.

Accession files consisting of all transaction documents are maintained by the museum. Accession numbers are assigned in sequence with no duplication.

Means of Acquisition

Objects may be acquired by bequest, gift, purchase, exchange, field excavation, field collection, transfer from a governmental body, or any method that transfers title or long-term care of collections to the museum.