Collections Management Policy
Approved: 7 April 1988
Revised: 5 October 1989, 7 June 1990, 7 July 1994, 6 January
Approved September 2, 2010
The Rogers Historical Museum serves Rogers and all of
Northwest Arkansas, a rapidly growing metropolitan area that
shares a rich natural and cultural heritage, a vibrant
entrepreneurial spirit, and an increasingly diverse
Our mission is to enrich lives through education,
experience, and exploration of our heritage.
We fulfill that mission through:
- Collecting and preserving artifacts,
archival materials, and research materials which
document the history and cultural heritage of Rogers and
- Offering exhibitions, programs,
publications, and web-based resources which foster an
appreciation of our region’s heritage and enable area
residents to create a better future for themselves,
their families, and their communities
- Offering family-friendly exhibitions
and programs which allow people of all ages to engage
the past, imagine the future, and find joy in learning
- Offering loan exhibitions and related
programs which broaden the cultural horizons of area
residents and help place our region’s natural and
cultural heritage in a broader context
The Museum shall maintain five types of collections (the
“collections”) which shall be used for research, education,
and/or exhibition purposes. The Permanent Collection shall
consist primarily of accessioned Benton County-related
historical materials. The Teaching Collection shall consist
of reproductions, objects without historical documentation
or significance, or other hands-on materials. The Image
Collection shall consist of modern or reproduction prints,
slides, PMTs, CDs, DVDs, videos, digital images, or
negatives. The Research Collection shall consist of actual
or reproduction books, journals, newspaper articles, maps,
and manuscripts. The Museum Archives shall consist of
brochures, newsletters, posters, documents, and memorabilia
relating to the history of the Museum.
All collecting activities shall be guided by the acquisition
criteria, scope, and priorities outlined in the Collections
Management Policy (the “Policy”).
The Museum shall encourage and carry out research
significant to the collections and shall provide information
to the general public by the development and presentation of
exhibitions, publications, educational programs, and the web
The Rogers Historical Commission (the “Commission”) has “the
authority to operate, manage, maintain, and control said
museum and to have full and complete charge there of” as
stated in the Rogers Historical Museum By-laws. The Museum
director shall work on the Commission’s behalf to maintain
Staff and Commissioners shall subscribe to the Rogers
Historical Museum Ethical Guidelines. No staff member or
Commissioner shall use their position at the Museum for
personal gain or to benefit another at the expense of the
Museum, its mission, its reputation, and the society it
serves. Additional guidelines regarding governance, conflict
of interest, ownership of scholarly materials, outside
employment, political activities, equal opportunity, etc.,
are detailed in the Ethical Guidelines.
Neither staff nor Museum Commissioners shall compete with
the Museum in any personal collecting. The Museum’s
collecting interests are detailed in the “Acquisition
Priorities for the Permanent Collection” section of this
Policy. Staff and Commissioners shall use their best
judgement in determining whether or not an object is
currently collected by the Museum, in consultation with the
director and/or the curator of collections.
If such an object comes to the attention of staff or
Commissioners, either through sale or possible gift, the
Museum shall be informed of its availability and shall have
the first chance to accept or reject it. If such an object
is purchased by staff or Commissioners, it shall be offered
to the Museum at purchase price. Objects collected prior to
an individual’s association with the Museum, bequests, or
gifts of a personal nature shall be exempt from this policy.
Staff or Commissioners may not participate in any dealing in
objects similar to those objects collected by the Museum.
For the purposes of this Policy, a dealer is defined as
someone who buys and sells objects for profit on a regular
CAPITALIZATION OF THE PERMANENT COLLECTION
It is the policy of the Museum that its Permanent Collection
not be capitalized. The Permanent Collection meets the
requirements of the Government Accounting Standards Board in
that museum collections do not need to be capitalized as are
other financial assets so long as: they are held for public
exhibition, education, or research in furtherance of public
service rather than financial gain; are protected, kept
unencumbered, cared for, and preserved; and are subject to
an organizational policy that requires proceeds from the
sale of collections items be used to acquire other items for
the collections. Furthermore, current museum ethical
standards strongly discourage the capitalization of
collections or treating them as financial assets.
The Museum shall acquire objects through gifts, bequests,
purchases, or exchanges in conjunction with the following
1. The object shall be consistent with the mission and
acquisition priorities of the Museum.
2. The Museum must be able to give proper care to the
3. Acceptance of the object shall not result in major
expense for conservation disproportionate to the usefulness
of the object to the collections.
4. The present owner shall have a clear title of ownership
and shall have obtained the object legally and ethically.
5. If the object is for sale, staff shall arrange funding
before purchase, with a fair market value determined between
6. The object shall, if possible, be documented with
adequate historic information.
7. Current Federal tax law shall be followed regarding all
8. Donations shall be made without restrictions or
encumbrances; however, copyright may or may not be
transferred at the time of gift.
When an object has successfully fulfilled the acquisition
criteria, the director and/or the curator of collections
have the authority to accept objects on behalf of the
Museum. If the object is extraordinarily significant for any
reason (e.g., a bequest, a structure), the director shall
seek acquisition approval from the Commission.
The director or curator of collections shall sign the Deed
of Gift on behalf of the Museum. The curator of collections
shall follow all accession procedures outlined in the
Collections Procedures Manual and shall be responsible for
maintaining all records pertinent to the collections.
ACQUISITION PRIORITIES FOR THE PERMANENT COLLECTION
Limitations of space and of qualified staff for the care and
study of objects shall be considered in conjunction with all
acquisition priorities for the Permanent Collection.
Additional guidelines concerning the content of current
collections and recommendations for future collecting are
detailed in the Permanent Collection Collecting Plan.
The first priority shall be to collect those objects and
their accompanying data which strengthen existing
collections in which the Museum has a current specialization
and recognized historical interest, especially when these
areas are threatened irreversibly by human activities,
threatened by inflation in value, threatened by
disappearance by collectors in the private sector, or any
other reason which might make collection difficult, not
feasible, or impossible at a later date. Examples of the
first priority include:
1. Objects of direct use in present or future planned
research, exhibition, or interpretive programs.
2. Objects of high quality needed to fill gaps in the
3. Objects of historical interest where deterioration,
technological changes, expanding urbanization,
industrialization, cultivation, or other types of land use
place a time limit on the period in which the collection of
objects and data can take place.
The second priority shall be to collect those objects which
broaden the comparative base of the established areas and
which will strengthen a collection area immediately adjacent
to a previously established one.
The third priority shall be to collect those objects of a
general nature which are within the broad interest of the
Museum and those objects needed for a specific project or
exhibition which may not be directly related to the existing
collections but are consistent with the acquisition
criteria, scope, and priorities outlined in this Policy.
The Museum shall restrict its collecting to historical
objects associated with Benton County, Arkansas. Objects
shall have been made or primarily used in Benton County or
There shall be two exceptions to this geographical
limitation. The first exception shall be in the case of
objects which may have a secondary connection to Benton
County; in this instance, non-County objects may be
collected as long as they are associated with a prominent,
long-time resident, business, or organization and are deemed
necessary to illustrate this person’s life story or the
history of a business or organization. The second exception
shall be in the case of furniture and household goods needed
for display in the Museum’s 1895 Hawkins House; in this
instance, non-Benton County objects may be collected as long
as they are consistent with items commonly found in
middle-class homes in Northwest Arkansas at the turn of the
20th century and are deemed necessary to illustrate the
Hawkins House story.
The Museum collects historical objects from 1819, when the
Arkansas Territory was formed, to the present. Exceptions
may be made for historic pre-1819 objects with strong ties
to Benton County.
ACQUISITION SCOPE FOR THE TEACHING, IMAGE, AND RESEARCH
COLLECTIONS AND THE MUSEUM ARCHIVES
Limitations of space and of qualified staff for the care of
objects shall be considered in conjunction with all
acquisitions for the Teaching, Image, and Research
Collections and the Museum Archives.
The Teaching Collection shall consist of objects which are
either reproductions, duplicates of objects in the Permanent
Collection, or objects without historical documentation or
significance that have been deaccessioned from the Permanent
Collection. It shall also consist of objects which meet the
Museum’s mission but do not fulfill the acquisition
criteria. Items accepted into the Teaching Collection shall
be consistent with the collecting priorities of the Museum
and meet current educational programming needs, but they
need not necessarily be from Benton County.
The Image Collection shall consist of modern or reproduction
prints, slides, PMTs, CDs, DVDs, videos, digital images, or
negatives either created by Museum staff or their
representatives, donated to the Museum, or deaccessioned
from the Permanent Collection. Items accepted into the Image
Collection shall be associated with Benton County history or
with the Museum and its activities.
The Research Collection shall consist of actual or
reproduction books, journals, newspaper articles, maps,
documents, and manuscripts. Items accepted into the Research
Collection shall provide information about Benton County
history and its environs, reflect regional and national
historical events or cultural influences that have impacted
Benton County, or offer information about historical
collectibles consistent with the collecting priorities of
The Museum Archives shall consist of posters, brochures,
programs, records, architectural models, and memorabilia
relating to the history of the Museum.
DEACCESSION OF OBJECTS
It is intended that all objects accessioned by the Museum
shall be maintained permanently in the collections as long
as they retain their physical integrity, their authenticity,
and their relevance for the purposes of the Museum, and as
long as they can be properly housed and maintained. The
deaccession process, therefore, shall be cautious,
deliberate, and scrupulous. Objects considered for
deaccession shall have been in the Museum’s collections for
at least two years, with the exception of criteria #11, and
shall meet at least one of the criteria for deaccessioning.
Criteria for Deaccessioning
1. The object is outside the current mission of the Museum
and its acquisition policy.
2. The object is inferior or insignificant in aesthetic
3. The object has failed to retain its identity or
4. The object has been lost or stolen and remains so for
longer than five years.
5. The Museum is unable to preserve the object properly.
6. The object has deteriorated beyond usefulness.
7. The object has doubtful potential utilization in the
8. The object has been accessioned twice.
9. The object’s donor is found to have not been its legal
owner at the time of donation.
10. The object is considered redundant to object(s) already
in the collection.
11. The object was accessioned in error.
Before any object is recommended for deaccessioning, the
Museum shall establish clear and unrestricted title to the
object (except in #9 above). Title shall consist of a signed
deed of gift and/or an unqualified offer, acceptance, and
transfer of property.
The curator of collections shall recommend in writing to the
director the deaccessioning of an object if, in the curator
of collections’ best judgement, one or more criteria for
deaccession has been met. The written recommendation shall
specify the source of the object, the reason(s) for
deaccessioning, the estimated market value (if applicable or
available), and the recommended means of disposition as
listed in the “Methods of Dispersal” section of this Policy.
The recommendation shall require approval first by the
director and then by a majority vote of the Commission.
Consideration may be given to any ethical or political
implications of the proposed action.
Methods of Dispersal
These methods are not ranked in order of preference; any
method may be applied as long as it is deemed the most
appropriate one given the nature of the object and the
general interests of the public.
1. An object may be placed through gift or exchange in
another tax-exempt public institution, preferably in
2. An object may be placed into the Museum’s Teaching,
Image, or Research Collections, or in the Museum Archives.
3. An object may be offered back to the original donor if it
can be considered to have sentimental properties (e.g.,
family Bible, military uniform).
4. An object may be sold by private or public sale, as
recommended by the Commission. However, an object shall not
be given, sold, or otherwise transferred, publicly or
privately, to Museum employees, Commissioners, Friends of
the Museum board members, or their families or
5. An object may be donated to a charitable institution
(e.g., a thrift store) if its intrinsic or monetary value is
so low as to make burdensome the effort of finding an
institutional home for it or offering it for sale.
6. An object may be destroyed if it is significantly
deteriorated and if no further use for it can be found. The
Museum shall follow the practice of “witness destruction,”
in which one staff member witnesses another staff member’s
destruction of an object.
7. An object may be transferred to its legal owner(s) should
the legality of the donation be contested and non-Museum
ownership sufficiently proved. The Museum may act as the
repository for the object while its true ownership is
The curator of collections shall follow all deaccession
procedures as outlined in the Collections Procedures Manual
and shall be responsible for maintaining all records
pertinent to the collections. The curator of collections
shall also maintain a complete and current list of objects
which have been deaccessioned. This list may be distributed
in response to any responsible inquiry at the director’s
As a courtesy, the Museum shall attempt to notify the donor
of a deaccession if the object was accessioned within the
last ten years. This notification is not to be construed as
a request for permission to deaccession.
In compliance with the American Association of Museums’ Code
of Ethics, proceeds from the sale of collections shall go
only to the acquisition of new collections or for the direct
care of existing collections.
CARE OF COLLECTIONS
The Museum maintains five types of collections: Permanent,
Teaching, Image, and Research Collections and Museum
Archives. The curator of collections shall maintain
accession and deaccession records which shall contain Deeds
of Gift, correspondence, historical information, and other
relevant documents for the collections. Records shall be
made in a timely manner, housed in secure locations, and
physically preserved by proper handling and storage methods.
The curator of collections shall maintain records that are
complete, accurate, orderly, retrievable, and current. A
duplicate copy of all records shall be maintained and stored
separately (off-site) from their originals.
The curator of collections shall be responsible for
monitoring and adequately maintaining all collections
storage and exhibition areas. Such efforts shall be
documented through a variety of means including
environmental records, inventories, photographs, and storage
Museum staff shall be responsible for the preservation and
protection of the Permanent Collection in accordance with
current professionally accepted methods including the
maintenance of proper storage environments, the use of
archivally safe storage materials, and the practice of
recommended object-specific storage techniques.
A comprehensive inventory shall be taken annually of the
Hawkins House and biannually of the Museum’s collections
storage areas at the Key Wing and the Museum Annex,
accompanied by a condition inspection of the objects. Any
object showing signs of instability or recent damage shall
be noted and a remedy sought, if possible. Spot inventories
of the Museum’s more significant collections (i.e., those
objects that are considered local historical “treasures”
and/or have a high monetary value) shall be taken annually.
Additional guidelines regarding the management of the
Permanent Collection are detailed in the Collections
The objects in the Permanent Collection shall be adequately
covered by insurance. For purposes of valuation, the curator
of collections shall seek comparable valuations from local,
regional, and national sources and may, if warranted, seek
the assistance of a qualified appraiser. Valuations shall be
updated as need, time, and budget allow. The curator of
collections shall be responsible for monitoring insurance
coverage. All proceeds from insurance payments resulting
from claims due to damaged or lost collections shall go only
to the acquisition of new collections or for the direct care
of existing collections.
The Permanent Collection shall be used for research and
exhibition purposes by Museum staff, qualified museums, and
Museum staff, their authorized representatives, and
sanctioned educators or other non-profit organization
leaders shall be responsible for the protection of the
Teaching Collection. The Teaching Collection shall receive
adequate maintenance; however, because of the purpose of the
Collection, the objects in it are subject to wear and tear.
The Teaching Collection shall be housed in suitable
materials that offer protection and which may or may not be
A comprehensive inventory of the Teaching Collection shall
be undertaken annually, along with a condition inspection.
Any object that has deteriorated or has been damaged beyond
usefulness shall be disposed of. Additional guidelines
regarding the management of the Teaching Collection are
detailed in the Teaching Collection and Prop Materials
The Teaching Collection shall be used for education and
exhibition purposes by Museum staff, their authorized
representatives, and sanctioned educators or other
non-profit organization leaders.
Museum staff shall be responsible for the preservation and
protection of the Image Collection. The Image Collection
shall be housed in archivally safe materials whenever
possible. It shall be used for publication, education, and
exhibition purposes by Museum staff, qualified museums, and
Museum staff, volunteers, and sanctioned researchers shall
be responsible for the protection of the Research
Collection. The Research Collection shall be housed in
vertical files and on shelves. It shall be used for research
purposes by Museum staff and sanctioned researchers.
Museum staff shall be responsible for the preservation and
protection of the Museum Archives. An inventory shall be
undertaken annually. The Museum Archives shall be housed in
archivally safe materials. It shall be used for research and
exhibition purposes by Museum staff.
The Museum holds and cares for all objects as a public trust
and is committed to the standards set by the American
Institute for Conservation. The authority for collections
care is vested in the director and the curator of
The curator of collections shall determine, either through
routine monitoring, exhibit production, or accidental
damage, which objects may need professional conservation
treatment and inform the director. Objects in need of
treatment shall be assessed and an appropriate time for
conservation determined, considering a combination of need,
budgetary allowances, and the availability of a qualified
conservator. All treatments shall be properly documented and
treatment records maintained by the curator of collections.
Museum staff and, to some degree, volunteers are responsible
for the security of the Museum and its collections, and for
the safety of staff, volunteers, and visitors. The curator
of collections is responsible for safety and security at the
Museum. Additional guidelines regarding buildings,
collections, and personnel safety, as well as emergency
procedures covering fire, theft, injury, and inclement
weather, are detailed in the Emergency Preparedness Plan.
Loans of Museum objects shall be consistent with the
Museum’s Conditions Governing Loans. These conditions shall
be met in writing before any objects may be loaned. The
curator of collections, in consultation with the director,
shall be responsible for authorizing loans of objects and
maintaining all records pertinent to the loans. If there are
any unusual circumstances concerning the conditions of a
loan, the decision to loan shall be referred to the
As deemed necessary by the curator of collections, outgoing
loans shall be covered by insurance (e.g., wall-to-wall,
transit), and the coverage shall be carried by the borrower
or the Museum. Incoming loans shall be insured by the
Museum, if requested, as specified by the loaning
institution. Insurance coverage to be carried by the Museum
shall be arranged by the curator of collections or the
All loan transactions shall be processed through the curator
of collections or the assistant director, who shall be
responsible for proper and legal documentation, insurance
coverage, and packing and shipping arrangements. The curator
of collections shall monitor all loans.
The Museum will not normally accept long-term or “permanent”
loans from individuals or institutions. Loans of this type
can cost the Museum greatly in terms of maintenance, time,
insurance, and space. A long-term loan shall be considered
if the object is needed for special exhibition or research
purposes. The director has the authority to approve such a
OBJECTS PLACED IN THE CUSTODY OF THE MUSEUM
Objects temporarily deposited with the Museum for whatever
purpose shall be subject to all conditions specified on the
Temporary Deposit Receipt unless otherwise noted. A staff
member shall sign the Receipt on behalf of the Museum.
Additional guidelines regarding objects placed in the
custody of the Museum are detailed in the Checklist for
ACCESS TO AND USE OF COLLECTIONS
The Museum welcomes study of its collections by qualified
individuals for research and other generally beneficial
purposes, taking into account the following conditions:
1. The curator of collections shall receive a written
request to study a collection at least two weeks (10 working
days) prior to the time the collection is to be studied. The
request shall outline the goals and methods of the research
and include the credentials of the researcher. The curator
of collections, in consultation with the director, shall
determine whether access to the collections shall be granted
and shall inform the researcher in writing.
2. Research space shall be made available.
3. The researcher shall agree to meet all imposed conditions
deemed necessary for the protection of collection materials.
4. Copying and photography costs shall be borne by the
5. The researcher shall give the Museum copies of papers or
publications which result from the study of its collections.
6. The curator of collections or the director may waive any
of the above conditions if it is in the best interest of the
Museum to do so.
COPYRIGHT & REPRODUCTION
In policy and in practice, the Museum shall follow U.S.
copyright law incorporated in Title 17 of the U.S. Code, as
well as all subsequent legislation pertaining to copyright
and other issues of intellectual property. Additional
guidelines regarding copyright and reproduction issues are
detailed in the Copyright Guidelines manual and the Policy
COLLECTION POLICY REVISIONS AND AMENDMENTS
Revision and amendments shall be made at any time by
approval of the director and a majority of the Commission.
The policy shall be reviewed at least every five years by
the director and the Commission. Any necessary revisions
shall be made at that time.