C2CC There’s a Form for That: Documenting Your Collections

–host Susan Barker from the FAIC Go ahead, Susan Hi Hi, everyone This is the third in our serious of Management 101, Getting a Grip on Collections Management Excuse me I have a croaky voice today And so I’ll be doing the same thing So the ground rules are you have to be at all four of the webinars in order to get a Credly badge And as soon as I get the list of who has multiple people, I will ask you who is there with you today So please keep track of that, and it may happen that I don’t get that soon enough today, and I will ask you next week when we do the next webinar on Tuesday So I’ll just start here Excuse me, I’m losing my voice We have a big thank to IMLS for continued funding We just got the National Leadership Award, and so we’re really pleased to about that We’ll be in business at least for another three years We hope for many more years So if you’re looking for information, you can check out all these resources that connect you into collections.org website I also want to point out that there are over 120 recorded webinars that are available in the archives So you may think that we haven’t covered something, but check that because there are a lot of resources there And we’re beginning to do closed captioning on them If there’s a closed captioned version, there’ll be an indication at the bottom of each webinar page And it will give you a link to the FAIC YouTube channel, which is where the closed captions are And you can like us on Facebook You can follow us on Twitter And if you want to join the C2CC announce list, just go to this website, and you can sign up And you can contact me anytime This is my email address Next week, we have a place for everything, and everything in its place, about collections inventories, which is the end of this series And then, towards the end of October, we’re going to have a webinar in caring for our archives So I now want to introduce you to Beverly Sutley And Bev’s been a registrar for over 25 years, and she’s currently the registrar at the Palmer Museum at the Pennsylvania State University She was the past chair of the registrar’s committee of the American– now American Alliance of Museums Used to be American Association of Museums And she’s a founding board member of the Association of Registrars and Collection Specialists, or ARCS So Bev, you’re now on Thanks, Susan I hope I’m audible to everyone Thank you all for coming today And today we’re going to be talking about documenting your collections, and there’s a form for that I want to start by thinking about what is a Museum? It’s an institution that, using a professional staff, owns and uses objects, cares for them, and exhibits them to the public Cares for them has been highlighted because part of caring for your collections is caring for the records of those collections When objects become separated from the information about them, they are less useful to us So keeping good records is a duty of museums When I started researching for this– I haven’t found a specific list of documents that must be kept, but I didn’t find many different kinds of lists that were provided by a lot of the different references that I found– a lot of different books and articles that I read Marie C. Malaro and Ildiko Pogany DeAngelis, in their book A Legal Primer on Managing Museum Collections, do state that, by law, museums must keep complete and contemporaneous records of all collection objects They cite a lot of case law in that book about museums who got in trouble for not having records So we can infer from that that it’s important to keep good records The law does not, unfortunately, provide us a list of what we have to keep We must infer that list

So, as I said, during my research, I found a lot of useful lists with types of documents to keep The primary sources I used were Molaro and DeAngelis, A Legal Primer on Managing Museum Collections, Elizabeth Orna and Charles Pettit’s Information Management and Museums Rebecca Buck and Jane Allman Gilmore editors, Museum Registration Methods 5 And then the International Council on Museums Website and Spectrum, the European’s museum’s collections management standards All of these provided different lists of types of records that need to be mentioned On this flag that you’re seeing now, these are some of the primary records that everyone agree need to be kept Or most agreed Actually, only two kinds of records were found on every list that I found– the catalog records and condition reports In my mind, proof of ownership, or possession, is the most important one So that’s what I’ve put up at top But these records, evidence of legal ownership, the catalog record, provenance information, activity of objects, and other specific records that are specific to your museum, these are the ones that I find to be the most important Just as an aside, Museum Registration Methods 5 includes a lot of specific records to be kept And I’ll be talking about those more at the end But you can tell that book was written by a bunch of registrars Overall, records should be made in a timely manner, that is, as soon as the information becomes available They should be organized in such a way that information can be easily retrieved, securely stored, and physically preserved by using proper handling and storage methods Today, there’s not going to be time to discuss all the records that might be kept So I’m going to focus only on the most common ones I’m also not going to provide a lot of examples or pictures of sample records Sample forms can be found in Museum Registration Methods 5 and A Legal Primer for Managing Museum Collections Full information about those two books is available on the resources handout that will be made available to you who are attending So I’m going to sort of structure this talk as looking at record from the moment the object arrives at the museum through its life at the museum So right here is my first incongruity I said I wasn’t going to show your samples, and here’s a sample This is an example of an incoming receipt Every object that comes into your museum should be documented with a receipt, no matter why that object is in the museum These receipts are called by a variety of different names They can be called a shipping receipt, a temporary receipt, an incoming receipt, a temporary deposit receipt– all of these receipts do the same thing They serve to document that a specific object has been left at the museum, and who left it, and when it was left Most of the receipts that you see, or that are kept by museums, fall into one of two categories The first is a very basic receipt It’s very simple, like the one that’s on the slide It just gives us the who, what, and when of the transaction when the object has dropped off Now this receipt that you see before you will be printed on my museum’s letterhead So that would give the museum’s contact information, and then you see the receipt gets all that information from the donor, the person making the deposit This receipt, you may also note, only has a place for me or a representative of the Palmer Museum of Art to sign and date at the bottom It doesn’t have any– we don’t have a place for the person leaving it to sign, so this is a really simple receipt, and it should be accompanied by either a loan agreement or some other document outlining the conditions under which the piece is being left at the museum So this is a very simple basic receipt You can make this more complex And when you do that, you add more information You add information about the care and handling that you’re going to provide, and document transportation arrangements that have been specified, who is handling the insurance, what reproduction rights does the museum have,

and how should the object be credited There should be a statement about ownership and what will happen in case the ownership changes while the object is at the museum There should be information about the custody period, how long it will be there, how extensions will be handled, and the right to return I know a lot of people think that it should be unnecessary to state that the museum has the right to return the object, but for any of you who have ever struggled in trying to find a lender and get them to take their object back, you know that it’s important to have that stated on there And when you do that, that statement usually says something like, the museum has the right to return the object, and if, after a reasonable amount of time, usually a specific length of time has passed, it is assumed that it’s a gift if the museum cannot get a response from the lender Going on to this, so we looked at about the very simple and a slightly more complex receipt But for most of them, the basics are the same You need the name of the object’s owner, or the person who’s leaving the object, if that’s not the owner, full contact information You need to have, somewhere on there, the reason the object has been left at the museum, the date the object was left at the museum, a description of the object, so you can know what it is when you find it, and the conditions under which the museum has accepted this object Now, a very basic receipt that I showed you first does not act as any kind of agreement between the museum and the depositor the more complex one that includes all the conditions that were described in the previous slide is sometimes used in place of a loan agreement The very simple, basic agreement receipt does not need to be vetted by legal counsel However, if the receipt as being used in place of a loan agreement, then you really should have this document vetted before you start using it I do want to make a statement here that I am not an attorney I am not qualified to give legal advice And I am not giving legal advice I am, however, sharing with you my experiences over the last 25 years So in general, it’s always best to seek legal counsel for any document you’re making that resembles a contract That is, any document that has two parties agreeing that they will behave in some specific way or act in some specific way So back to the receipts, again, the very simple one that it’s not in any way a contract, it’s just a statement of activity I don’t think it needs legal counsel If it’s going to be acting as your loan agreement, then you do need legal counsel Oh, what to do with the receipt? When you’ve made it, one copy with the original signature should go to the owner of the object One should say at the museum to be kept forever, and other copies may go to other people within the museum who need them, such as a curator, someone in development, if it’s an offered gift or purchase potential, exhibition designers, if the object is there for installation somewhere– whoever in your museum needs one can have a copy of this receipt But the museum should keep at least one copy in their registration files So now that the object is here in the museum, we’re going to be moving on to accessioning So the museum has decided it wants to keep this object, and it wants to start accessioning This is probably too basic for many of you, but, again, these are the five usually accepted methods that museums use when acquiring objects– gift purchase, request, field collection, or transfer from another institution Each of these has its own specific documentation needs For gift, the ideal, of course, is to get a deed of gift This is a document that conveys ownership of the object from the donor to the museum This deed of gift, the elements of it are the name of a donor, with full contact information, the name of the museum,

with full contact information If you’re going to be producing the deed of gift and printing it on your letterhead, which contains all of the contact information, you don’t need to duplicate that The letterhead can serve as providing contact information There should be a description of the materials that have been offered and then several statements from the donor One, that the donor owns the object and has the authority to pass clear title to you, another statement that the gift is without restrictions, or, if there are restrictions, the restrictions need to be spelled out specifically in the deed of gift And another statement that the donor relinquishes all rights he or she may have in the gift Now, for those of you at art museums, this can sometimes be an issue when an artist is donating his or her own work They generally do not want to give you all rights because their rights include copyright And it’s very unlikely that they’re going to want to give you that copyright So you may need to amend that portion of your deed of gift to indicate just which rights he or she are giving you So be prepared to amend that as necessary Then the donor needs to sign this deed of gift and date it And the authorized representative of your museum needs to sign and date the deed of gift Both parties receive a signed copy of this deed of gift You notice there is an optional part on this, which is the credit line to be used And this should generally be whatever format your museum has decided to be standard At my museum, there’s a space for it to say credit line, gift of, and then a space for the person to fill in their name However, sometimes donors don’t want to use that credit line, they want to do something else, so they write it in And that’s fine You’re just making a suggestion to them and then allowing them to change it as they like Now this is definitely a contract between two parties– the donor and the museum So deeds of gift suggest should definitely be vetted by legal counsel Unfortunately, as all of us know, you can’t always get a deed of gift And that’s when it becomes very important to remember that deeds of gifts are not required by law Three elements of a gift, come on, everyone can say it with me together– an offer, an acceptance, and physical transfer of the object As we all know, those are the only things you need to have a gift be official An offer can take the form of correspondence from a donor, with a clear offer to make the gift An acceptance can be a letter from the appropriate museum official stating that the museum is willing to accept the gift And the physical transfer of the object can be documented in the receipt that you were issued when the object entered the museum Now sometimes, you can’t even get these things If you don’t have a written offer on file, and you can’t get the donor to return a deed of gift, DeAngelis in A Legal Primer, offer this alternative They say that you can send a letter by certified mail so that there is documentation that you sent the letter And in the letter, you state that, unless you’re advised otherwise by a specific date, the museum will consider the object to be an unrestricted gift as of that date Because the certified letter confirms that the letter was sent and received, that can serve as your proof that the person had the opportunity to withdraw the gift that they want I do want to stress this again The deed of gift is not required by any law It is simply a convenient way to document all elements of the gift, and it has become the standard in museums So as the standard, this should obviously be kept forever when an object is accepted as a gift, and this record should be kept in the file Additionally, some of you may be asked to sign IRS form 8283 This is when your donor wishes to take a tax deduction for the value of the gift that they offered It’s important to know that the museum is only

required to sign confirming that the museum received the materials and also may be asked to indicate if the gift is for related or unrelated use An unrelated use would be if you were given something with the intention that you would sell it and use the money for the museum’s support That’s not considered a related use because it’s not directly serving the mission of your museum It’s also important to know that museums are not required to, and should not, provide appraisals on tax forms That is not the purview of the museum, and the donor needs to get an appraisal separately from the museum Museums, however, may be asked for my proof of the date the donor relinquished control of the work An incoming receipt noting the date that the work arrives serves this purpose There may be instances, I know it’s happened to me, when donor has decided late in December that they want to give a gift, and it’s not physically possible to have the gift arrive at the museum before the end of the day on December 31 If they’re out of town, or far away, sometimes that’s what can happen In that instant it is OK to assign someone to act as the museum’s agent That agent should be provided with a receipt that they can give to the donor proving that a donor no longer had benefit of the work, that it was out of his or her possession and in the possession of someone acting on behalf of the museum Copies of that receipt should also be added to the file Moving on to the next method of acquisition, purchase This is the easy one Proof of purchase is a receipt, a bill of sale, anything that names both the seller and the museum and documents the amount paid, and the date the money was paid That’s the easy one Bequests are not that difficult either, although, sometimes, it can be tricky The documentation needed to prove a bequest is a copy of the relevant pages of the will This should include the name of the person who representing the estate as well as a description of the property should be transferred, the property that was left in the request Many probate courts now require a receipt and release form that verifies that the request has been distributed This form is generally provided by either the attorney handling the estate, or, possibly, the probate court itself This form shouldn’t contain the signature of the museum official who signed to accept the gift– with the person who has the authority to accept their gifts and the bequests for the museum should sign that form, and should date it as to the date the museum was received, the material was received The next form of acquisition accessioning method of acquiring work is through field collection And I must offer my thanks to John E. Simmons for information on this topic My entire career has been spent in art museums And we generally do not acquire works through field collection So I had to contact John, who has vast experience in this, to find out just what you do need to document field collection His answer was that primarily what you need are permits There may be a collecting permanent for the state, federal, or local authority that controls the site on which you will be collecting– if the material was collected in another country, you may need an export permit from that country, and an import permit to bring it in Sometimes a CITES permit is required CITES is the Convention on the Transportation of Endangered Species of wild fauna and flora And they have the list of species that are controlled, must be managed And so, if what you are collecting is on that list, you’ll need a CITES permit to import it into the United States You will need a 3-177 declaration if you are importing animals or animal parts– importing or exporting them And some controlled wildlife can only be imported through specific ports, a designated port, and then, if you would need to get the designated port

exemption All of these documents are the proof that you have permission to acquire the pieces that you’re collecting And so these documents should all be treated as primary records and retained Additionally, you may need to get a few more permits If you’re collecting on private land, you do need to get permission of the landowner And it’s best to get it in writing It can be a letter, or a formal contract, but you do want something that says the landowner is giving you permission to collect on his or her property I thought it was also interesting that, in some states in the US, if you’re collecting animal or fish species, you may have to buy a hunting or fishing license So those are some of the permits that might be necessary As you are collecting them, you want to keep copies of all these permits They are the documentation that explain how you got the materials and prove that the museum owns them The last sort of chance of acquisition method that I’m familiar with is transfer from another institution If your museum does this frequently, you will probably want to develop a transfer form I think most museums don’t do this specifically But if you do do it frequently, then you’ll want to develop this form A transfer form should include the name of the museum or institution from which the works are coming, with all the pertinent contact information, the name of the museum acquiring the works, again, with all the pertinent contact information, and, if printed on the museum’s letterhead, the information is already there and doesn’t need to be duplicated It should include a description of the materials being offered and all the same statements that were on a deeded gift that the donor institution owns the object and has the authority to pass clear title, and that the gift is without restrictions, or else, exactly, what those restrictions are, and not the donor institution relinquishes all rights it may have had It should be a place for the credit line and then, again, signatures and dates for a donor institution representatives and receiving museum representatives This is clearly a contract that’s being created between two parties And so these sorts of transfer forms should definitely be vetted by legal council Now that we have discussed acquiring the works, we’re going to move on to what happens when the work is being added to the collection A catalog sheet, or worksheet, or accession sheet, was one of the two forms that was agreed on by everyone that this should be part of the record of the object You want to use this form to gather as much information about the object as you can This should be very specific to your information You need to gather the standard information, but then you want to make sure that, if there are specific bits of information your museum needs to collect, that this form ensures that you gather all of that information I have found that the elements of the worksheet were divided into two groups of accession information and cataloging information The cataloging information is basically what my museum would call the tombstone information, the maker or artist, if it’s a man made object Ideally we’d want to include the artist’s full name, culture– culture meaning where they came from, what culture they were part of, and life years Then you want a description of the object If it’s a made object, a title, or a description, the date it was made, if you know, the materials that were used, the dimensions of the object I include both inches and centimeters on my cataloging worksheet because we use them for different purposes If it’s signed, where and how was it signed Where and how is it inscribed If it is a multiple, what edition is it And you want to describe and be sure to capture

how it was acquired You want the method of acquisition used– gift, purchase, request, et cetera, a donor or a vendor’s name and full contact information We want to have the date it was received in the museum, and the date it was either purchased or formally given, if it was a gift– or a purchase Those two dates will be different I know we, at my museum, usually receive the object before we decide for sure that we’re going to keep it, so I keep both of those records Then you would have a general condition report It can be very simple And more specific or in-depth reports can be attached And they will, of course, be kept But one thing to remember about the condition report, it should be dated And the name of the person who made that assessment should be on the report You want to capture the accession number that’s assigned to the piece, plus any other numbers that have been associated with the work Those should also be captured You include the value, the date that value was assigned to the piece, who the appraiser was, and, if you have records of past appraisals, you can also gather that information on your worksheet And then copyright information Who owns the copyright What, if any, permissions have been given to the museum How should copyright be credited in publications All of these elements can be included on your worksheet for cataloging information You also want to include– the other was considered accession information This is cataloging information, and that includes provenance, as far back as you can get it, a bibliography, as many references or publications in which the object has been illustrated or discussed, as you can find, and an exhibition history Where has this object been shown? You also might want to use your worksheet to collect any other information that your institution regularly wants For example, my museum is part of the Pennsylvania State University And so one of the bits of information we collect is the donors class year, if they were alumni at Penn State There’s a place for that on my worksheet, and you can add any other bits of information that you need, you just put them on your worksheet so that you can make sure you are regularly collecting that information It’s important to remember that these worksheets are primarily for in-house use and, as such, do not need to be vetted by a legal counsel They don’t represent any kind of contract or agreement between your museum and any other institution So you can use them as a way to organize the information that you’re gathering But they don’t need to be vetted Once the object has become part of your collection, it may be necessary to lend to each other organizations Or you may be bringing objects in that are not going to be acquired And for those, you would need to develop loan agreements Loan agreements are records that should be kept And they should include the following elements You’ll need the borrower’s name, with full contact information, and I’m looking at this as an incoming loan agreement So this in a form your institution is generating If it’s printed on letterhead, again, this information is already on the form, and you don’t need to duplicate it You will then need the lender’s full contact information, and as many methods of contact as you can get for them are good You’ll need to include the purpose of the law There can be a wide variety of purposes that you could be bringing something into your museum It could be for exhibition You could be considering acquisition of it It could be a long term loan It could be for research, for photography, conservation, there’s lots of different information that could be a reason that the piece would

be delivered to the museum The dates of the loan should be included If you’re borrowing something for an exhibition, you should include both the dates of the exhibition and the dates that you wish to have the piece on site, since we need to include time for shipment to and from the borrower Then you need a full description of the materials you’re going to be borrowing, a credit line that should be used, a statement defining who will insure the object while it’s on loan and what the insurance value is There should be information about photography permissions on the form Here I want to insert that we have found, in my experience, that, often times, people neglect to check the boxes that say which photography permissions they’re granting you So our loan agreement now has a statement that says, unless we are notified in writing to the contrary, we assume permission to reproduce in museum publications such as newsletters, gallery brochures, catalogs, and for publicity and educational purposes connected to the exhibition for which the piece is being loaned There is a place, if someone wishes to deny this permission, they can do so But by putting it in this format, we assume unless you tell us otherwise, it’s much easier to get permission to use the image for legitimate museum purposes Any conditions on the loan should be included on the loan form These are often included on the back of the loan agreement And then there should be places for authorized signatures and dates for both the borrower and the lender The conditions of the loan, which, as they said, are often included on the back of a loan agreement, should include descriptions of what care and handling will be provided, or what care and handling are required The more details about the insurance, rather than just how much and for how long it will be provided, what the environmental conditions will be, and how they should be maintained There should be a statement about permission to clean or conserve And generally speaking, that is a statement that says the borrower will not clean or conserve without providing the owner with a detailed written description of what they wish to do and getting written permission to do such work And then a statement regarding the borrower’s right to return the object and what will happen if the ownership of the object changes during the course of the loan And then information about who is responsible for packing and shipping For more details about how these different conditions should be worded, I would recommend checking out a Legal Primer for Managing Museum Collections On page 43 of my edition, it has very good examples of wording to be used for all of these different conditions which might come up Regarding the care and handling requirements, I’d just like to say, it’s standard to promise to provide the same level of care that the borrower provides to a comparable property of its own So that’s the sort of language that the Legal Primer provides to you So you know that you’re being as clear as you can be Loan agreements are very clearly legal documents, contracts governing behavior between two parties So these really do require– they should be vetted by a legal counsel For objects leaving the museum, like objects coming in, there should be an outgoing receipt Like the incoming receipt, this documents the transaction and serves as proof that the museum no longer has custody of the object That’s very important if the object leaving does not belong to the museum If you’re returning it to the person who owns it, then you’re relinquishing your requirement to care for the object If it’s leaving your museum for another loan to another person, or another organization, then requirement to care for it is being transferred to that person So the receipt should include the name of the person or institution to whom the object is being delivered, again, their full contact information, why that object has been delivered to the person or institution,

the date they received it, a description of the object, again, that should be what we call tombstone, the artist, title, date, medium, that sort of thing And then there should be a place for the person or institution who is receiving it to sign and date confirming the receipt For outgoing recipients, I always send two copies with the object and ask that one copy be returned to me, and they can keep the other copy for their records Now regarding outgoing loan agreements, Penn State’s risk management office has informed me many times– only one document can govern any transaction If there are multiple loan agreements in place, one will invalidate the other Penn State’s lawyers say that the last one signed invalidates any of her earlier agreements I know many institutions use their own outgoing loan agreement And if they wish to do that, that should be the only agreement that is used If they’re willing to use the borrower’s incoming loan agreement, but they may add addenda listing specific concerns or requirements, since the borrower generally sends the incoming loan agreement It is sent to the lender They can make any adjustments or any information they need They sign and date it and send it back to the borrower who, by signing and dating it, also agree to any of the changes that the lender has made Sometimes, an outgoing loan agreement is necessary, such as the times when the borrower cannot provide one, for some reason, or the one provided by the borrower is so unacceptable that the lender won’t use it In that case, an outgoing loan agreement should include all of the same elements as the incoming loan agreement discussed earlier And, as with incoming loan agreements, outgoing loan agreements are contracts and should be vetted by legal counsel The last kind of type of form or record that I want to talk about– oh, wait a minute, are deaccessioning records I’m only going to be talking about the process of removing an object from the collection, I’m not going to be talking about disposal That’s a different issue De-accessioning is removing the object from the collection and stating that the museum will no longer provide the same standard of care to the object that it provides to its collection objects Once that has happened, then deaccessioning is a different issue– physically removing the object from the museum For deaccessioning, I have not been able to find any specific form that is required by law What is required is that the museum be able to demonstrate that it’s aware of issues surrounding deaccessioning of its collection objects, that it has developed a process for determining if an object should be deaccessionin And that it has followed that procedure Again, like the deed of gift, developing a form to document all of these steps is one of the easiest ways to prove that you’re following your internal procedure Disposal is what happens after the object has been in deaccessioning, and it too must be documented Common methods of disposing of objects are through sale or transfer to another museum or institution In the case of sale, you will of course want to keep copies of the bill of sale If it’s transferred to another institution, you’ll want to keep a copy of the transfer agreement And in both cases, any outgoing receipt will also need to be kept to document when the object left your possession Any other type of written documentation that you have in conjunction with the deaccessioning and disposal should also be kept in the object file and should include a date when it was enforced and, if possible, a signature of whoever is in charge of whatever aspect of the deaccessioning the additional documentation is covering When you’re developing your in-house deaccessioning form,

the elements you want to include are a description of the material, a full description, a statement that the museum has reviewed its files and is sure it has title to the material If it was a gift, there were no restrictions on the gift, or if there were restrictions, what those restrictions are, and how they have been addressed De-accessioning form should also include the reasons that the museum has decided are acceptable for deaccessioning and which ones apply in this specific instance This can take the form of a checklist, where you check off which elements are relevant to the particulars of this deaccessioning It should also reference the reasons– acceptable reason should have a reference to the museum’s collecting plan And the criteria for collecting should be cited in that the object no longer meets those criteria The deaccessioning form should also keep records what outside opinions have been solicited, and what those people said about the object This is usually used to support the idea that the piece is no longer appropriate to the museum’s collection There should be a place for someone on staff to make an formal recommendation to deaccession the object, and the date on which such formal recommendation was made If the object was a gift, there should be a notice about what the museum’s policy is for notifying donors And if it is the museum’s policy to notify donors, when and by whom that policy was followed and that [INAUDIBLE] donors were notified Finally, there should be a place for the name and signature of the person authorized to remove the object This should be a matter of record who is authorized, generally speaking, as the director, or someone else, although I understand that, in science museums, for just workability, it can be someone else, for some specific types of objects And then, finally, you should have the date on which the deaccession was approved Again, this form is for internal use And it’s just ensuring that you’re following your agreed upon procedures And so it is not a contract You’re not making promises to any other party So it does not necessarily need to be vetted by legal council Although it wouldn’t hurt So those are the main types of forms and records that I wanted to talk to you about in depth There are many other charts and records that are you routinely kept in museums These are some of them, and most of the US were listed in the list provided by the Museum Registration Methods book Regarding current location records, now, most museums keep this information electronically and a collections management system And as I’m sure you’re all aware, the goal of a location record is to be able to locate any object at any time Those do need to be maintained and updated on a very regular basis And the next one listed as a master log This is frequently an acid free ledger with numbered pages in which the accession number, basic object information, method, and source of acquisition should also be included I am still fond of the handwritten ledger, although many institutions have now moved to print their records from their collections management systems and have them bound at the end of each year Whichever form you choose to use, the log should be kept in a form in a format that cannot easily be tampered with or changed without leaving a record Other are records that are commonly kept include condition reports, copyright information, and/or licenses, and condition reports, which I’m going to speak on are a little bit more Correspondence, this can be anything at all relating to the object And again, you want to make sure it’s dated so that it can give you a history of what information you’re gathering about the object You want to have photographs of your objects, if possible These do not necessarily need to be reproduction quality But they should be appropriate for documentation

So you want them to be clear and showing as many angles as you can– especially for three dimensional objects Appraisals or other valuation documents should also be retained In addition to noting values on the worksheet that we talked about above, you do want to keep any paper documentation you have showing where you got those values You will want to keep insurance documents, especially if there has been an insurance claim And you’ll also want to keep records of any loss or damages that have happened to your objects For a little bit more about copyright, it’s important to know that museums do not automatically acquire copyright when they acquire objects So many times, museums have developed a licensing agreement so that they don’t have to contact the artist any time they want to reproduce the work There are two basic types of licenses– an exclusive license, which gives the museum permission to use the image and bars others from using it for the same reason This would be if the artist gives you an exclusive right to put his object on a poster If it’s an exclusive license, then no one else can make a poster using that image A nonexclusive license with the creator gives the museum permission to use the image, but it also allows the copyright owner to give others the same permission I have always used a nonexclusive license And I like that one because it doesn’t infringe upon the artist’s rights to use his or her own work And because you are not asking the artist to give up that right, it’s sometimes easier to convince them to approve your licensing agreement It’s important to remember that licenses are legally binding documents and therefore should be vetted by legal counsel Another word about condition reports, these can be loosely grouped into two different groups One is for collection management purposes– this simply documents the collection so that anyone who is looking at that report can understand the current condition of the object Obviously, these should be signed, and the person making the assessment should be signing the document, and the date the examination was conducted should be included Then there is a more technical condition report that can be used for object treatment and planning These often include possible causes of specific damage, and sometimes include a treatment proposal And these sorts of documents are frequently created by object conservators There has been a Connecting to Collections Care webinar about this And for more information about that so that I’m not duplicating what they say, I do suggest you take a look at the information that’s on the connecting to collections care website about that condition reporting webinar that was done We’re getting to the end, so I wanted to share with you some final thoughts On June 7th of this year, the association of registrars and collections specialist held a Twitter chat about documentation In this Twitter chat, it was a very interesting discussion that went on for quite a while, but, at the end of it, the group came together to develop a list of characteristics of bad documentation First is the loss of context caused by incomplete documentation So incomplete documentation is the key here, documents that were not fully filled out This happens when you don’t have time to complete the record properly, and you place can say to yourself, oh, I’ll come back to this But we’re all busy, and we all know we don’t So incomplete documentation is really a problem Another characteristic is a reliance on institutional memory instead of written documentation I know that happens here at my museum, where we actually have someone who has been on staff since the day the museum opened And we’re always inclined to just go ask Barbara what happened And it’s important to write this information down Another characteristic is inconsistency, where you collect some data for this one,

and different data for that one So that’s another characteristic And then poor handwriting I was very surprised at how low this came on the list of characteristics of bad documentation Because it certainly has been vexing to me at times when I just can’t read the handwriting The group then went on to discuss the characteristics of good documentation And these were the top characteristics that they found All the records are dated All of the information is complete The records are easily understood, use standard terminology, and are clear and precise They include good descriptions of the objects and good photographs And they include, actually, a history of the records When was this information added to the file, and by whom? And again, and one of the most important characteristics is legible handwriting We all want to be able to read it in 100 years So, in conclusion, my final, final thoughts about this In general, try to be clear, be permanent That is, use appropriate papers, inks, backup and migrate your electronic records Be legible and be as comprehensive as possible Start today to make clear and clean records If you have to haven’t had them before, start with the next thing that comes in to your office In conjunction with that, create a clear documentation policy and train everyone who uses your documents what their responsibilities are If you are one of those people who have lots of messy old records, create a schedule to clean up the old records And as you do so, create a history of those records as you go And finally, be kind to your future self, what would you want to be able to find in 100 years? That’s the reason we’re keeping these records So think about your future self, and trying to be kind That’s the end of my formal presentation So now I think we can start looking at some of your questions And I don’t know how to do that Susan? OK, I’ll be your moderator And there are a lot of questions So I’m going to kind of go back to the beginning And so the first question that came up was, what to do when there are historical items that were taken in many years ago without a donor agreement or transfer of title form And I’m assuming the question is, and you want to keep them If you don’t have a donor agreement, transfer of title, anything like that, that can be really problematic If you do have anything at all from the depositor in writing, that can sometimes be used to prove intent, that the person intended to give it to you If they’re really old– this is a really difficult problem that many institutions face I’m thinking that this might fall under abandoned property If you don’t have anything that shows that the donor intended to give it, and you can no longer find the donor, it may fall under abandoned property issues And then you would need to look up the abandoned property law in your state I believe the museum registration methods book contains a list of states with abandoned property legislation, and that may be the best place to start looking Yeah OK And [INAUDIBLE] says, how often should you have your forms reviewed by legal counsel? I think, unless you hear about major changes in law, you’re probably not going to have to have them reviewed very often at all They would be reviewed if you might want to make a change in the conditions on your forms, or if you have a feeling that they’re incomplete, you may want to try to do that One thing I do want to say, I did want to mention, I forgot to make a note about it, was legal counsel is going to try to make them much more complicated than you want them to be So you really have to work to make sure that the language remains simple and clear And there is one aspect of legal counsel advice that is always problematic for me

Legal counsel always wants to include a statement regarding where adjudication will take place in the event of conflict, that the agreement will be held to the laws of a particular state The Pennsylvania State University as an instrumentality of the state of Pennsylvania, and we cannot agree to be governed by the laws of any other state So if two institutions that both cannot agree to be governed by the laws of another state are trying to make an agreement, having that statement on the agreement can be very problematic What we have discovered is that, if the document remains silent– that is, it doesn’t state what the governing law will be, we can usually get it through our legal counsel So that is something that your attorney is going to want to add, and you’re going to have to work with them to explain the issues and see if we can work around that How did you decide who is responsible for completing the various stages of paperwork, particularly for a very small 2.5 person staff, so as not to overwhelm anyone but also keep the process clear without too many gaps to another person so that they can cause a to-do list to be forgotten or left out To me, if you’re a 2.5 person staff, you’ve all got too much to do Some of these documents, I would say most of them, if they’re involving the museum in a contract of any kind, promising the museum is going to do something with another party, the director probably should be the one to sign off That does not mean the director has to fill out all stages And you can have whoever knows the most about the different aspects of the agreement fill out those aspects of it and then simply give it to the director with any notes that he or she would need to sign So dividing the responsibility is a good idea But have the people who know about know the most about the particular topic fill out that portion of the agreement There have been quite a few discussions, and side discussions, and questions about porch donations, or people that leave stuff on your on your doorstep, and questions of how you should deal with that Are these things that are being left and someone at the desk accepts them? Or is it stuff that’s literally left outside the museum at night, when no one is there? [INAUDIBLE] stuff that was left on the porch overnight It’s my understanding that stuff that’s left on your porch overnight that no one has taken, no one has touched, can be considered not your property, and therefore not your problem And if it’s left on the porch with no way to contact anyone to come get it, it’s my understanding that you can get rid of that stuff If you want to keep it, however, that’s when it becomes problematic Because then you do need to find an owner And I don’t know what to tell you about stuff that’s left overnight I’ve just never been in the position before I’m sorry OK What if you’re a government agency? What kind of nonprofit form letter would it receive? Not a 501(c)(3) since government’s not a 501(c)(3) I’m sorry, I don’t quite understand that question I think what he’s asking is, if you’re a government agency, and you need to receive something, what kind of form do you need to provide to a donor, I think, in case they want to take a tax deduction I think you’d have to consult with your lawyers I would consult with legal counsel Regarding tax deductions, all that the museum has a responsibility to prove, is that the museum received their materials So we’d be signing the 8283 saying that you received the materials, and that’s all you’re saying I am not aware that the museum has to prove that it’s a nonprofit I think that’s up to the donor, who is trying to take the tax break to say that I don’t know what a government agency is It’s clearly not profit So I don’t think it’s up to you to her

provide that information, but I may be mistaken So yes, I agree with Susan That might be a good time to go talk to an attorney about that, just to figure it out once and for all Right And I think that’s right, that it’s really up to the donor, once they have their tax documents And they have to do the tax documents If we receive a gift but are only accessioning a portion of the gift into the permanent collection, should we still list all the items on the deed of gift, or only those pieces that will be utilized long term? You definitely need to provide the donor proof that you accepted everything in the gift You may want to, on your deed of gift, when you’re listing in the material accepted, have two different sections– have a section that says materials accepted for the collection, and then materials accepted for non-related use So you would be listing them all, but being clear that you don’t intend to keep them all for a museum use– for permanent collection use I’d like to go back just a moment about the porch donations If you do want to keep that object, yes, you should definitely document when it was or when it was received– as much as you know about it, when it showed up, what day, what time, who found it If there’s anything with it you want to keep any copies of any notes or letters, and then you can start the abandoned property clock, saying that this was abandoned, and you couldn’t follow your state legislation for abandoned property There was a question that kept coming up about, if you commission an artwork from an artist, directly from an artist, what kind of records do you need? You will need a formal agreement, a formal commission document, that states what each party is going to do And within, the formal commissioning agreement, it should state what you expect the artist to provide and what the museum will do as far as payment for it, or– oh dear, my computer just went– as far as payment for it and what your rights will be using it This is definitely a form that should be vetted by an attorney And I believe that you can find sample forms The Registrars Committee of the American Association of Museums, on their website, which is on the resource page, does have a button for sample documents You may be able to find a sample document there I’m not sure, but there may be sample documents, and museum registration methods, and a legal primer on managing museum collections So the contract itself will become your document in the case And I know of cases where the artist who was commissioned didn’t produce what was agreed to And that caused a lot of trouble But the museum was able to reject it because they had the proper documentation Right We generally do not use a receipt as mentioned at the beginning when an object enters our custody A deed of gift acts as should we also be using a receipt as well And then there were a lot of questions that said, yes, there’s a big difference Yes, there is a huge difference You should be issuing a receipt for every object that enters your museum Not everything that comes in is coming in as a gift, as an offered gift You may just be borrowing something for exhibition, or it may be offered gift that you choose not to accept So you really do need to institute a receipt policy and not use your deed of gift as your receipt Those are two different actions, and you should have documentation for both of them Yeah, and there are questions that, should a deed of gift also be treated like a receipt? And I think you just answered that No They are two different documents covering two different activities Yeah What forms are acceptable to have an electronic signature

versus original signatures? And what forms require an original signature? Boy, things are changing so much these days I am sorry, I am not familiar with case law I don’t know if any cases have gone before the courts yet regarding this I tend to be conservative on these matters and always want an original signature If you want to be the one who tries it, and let us know how that goes then I think electronic signatures are becoming more and more acceptable Perhaps, if I knew the other party and was confident that they were going to honor their contract or their agreement, then I might be more comfortable allowing an electronic signature OK Does Palmer Museum use fair use for reproduction of works of art? I’ll tell you, I’m very conservative when it comes to copyright law I don’t want to ever infringe upon an artist’s rights So we do not use fair use as a reasoning for reproducing works in our collection I’ve been the bad guy so many times by saying we don’t have permission to use that image And so we pick a different image But we don’t rely on fair use I should amend that, we have not relied on fair use, except for our online catalog, where we are sort of assuming fair use in that case OK, here’s a question Did your graduate work for your occupation require learning a foreign language? That’s an interesting question It did not only, because I went to a kind of weird program And I’m very old and back when I was in graduate school being computer literate was considered a foreign language So I did not have to I did, for my undergraduate, have to have language requirement With loan agreements, what’s the best way to amend the form, if something changes, such as the end date Is written permission from the lender enough, or do you need a new agreement? I would say written permission from the lender is enough It should be signed by both the lender and the borrower, a form saying borrower wishes to extend the loan from this state through this date, and that the lender agrees to it, and both sign and date it, and that should be adequate Yeah Are you required to contact a vendor when the loan period ends? Is the museum required? Yes Yes It’s you’re responsibility to contact them to begin to return arrangements Right I once worked with someone who lent a museum something, and they failed to identify her And when I saw there was a loan agreement that was out of date, I called the curator and asked him about it And he said, oh, we thought that she was going to give that to us anyway, so we just accessioned it Oh my goodness Yeah, they had to deaccession it very fast They didn’t get it That’s pretty horrifying Yeah Exhibit requirements should be mentioned, too, in the loan agreement, such as a display in a locked case, or books must be displayed in its accorded– Yes, those should be included in the conditions of the loan agreement And if they’re not written out, spelled out in the incoming loan agreement that the potential borrower sends you, you should add a document stating what those agreements are, what those conditions are Yeah Our museum has moved locations a number of times in the past 20 years, and quite a few items have no paperwork, except for a letter from us thanking them for bringing their donation to the museum With no paper trail and a shrinking storage area, what are your feelings on deaccessioning? We had a really good webinar on deaccessioning

from John Simmons last fall, so take a look at that also I’m going to let that stand as the answer, then If a museum makes a loan to another museum, and the outgoing loan document is required by one, and an incoming loan document is required by the other, will one document invalidate the other based on when they signed? According to the attorneys here at Penn State University, yes The latest one, the last one signed, is the controlling document So that would invalidate the earlier signed document A-ha According to those attorneys Yeah Then there are a bunch of things about founding collections and how to document those Yes, founded collection items– it’s very important to document the first time it’s found, when it was found, and by whom it was found And that can help you establish– I don’t remember the Latin word, but not before this time, or not after this time So it’s been site at least since this date And when you’re following abandoned property laws trying to claim ownership of it, having that start date is very important And then, where should you file the deaccessioning forms? In the accession folder for that item, or elsewhere? I would follow them in the accession folder for that item You may want to start a deaccession folder and keep copies of that, so you have all deaccession information together That’s really an institutional choice, though You need to file them in such a way that you can find them when you need to be able to produce them So that’s a institutional decision You decide how it would work best in your institution and follow that And there were several questions about how many forms you need– if you have a deaccession form, or a loan form, how many do you need, do you keep them in different places? I personally, always keep forms with the object record so that they are there So that they’re there when you’re looking for information about that object OK I just put up the evaluation link, and these are really important They help us to see how we’re doing They help us to make plans for a new webinars that might be of help to you So please fill it out Thank you And then what about notifying donors when you’re deaccessioning? So there’s a question here that says, I’ve heard discussions on the registrars committee’s listserve, and some pointed out that notification of the donor gives a false impression that the donor retained any sort of legal interest in the objects after donating It’s a dangerous precedent Yes, it’s hard to convince a donor that they’re being notified simply as a courtesy, and not because they have some say in it That should be a matter of institutional policy, that your board of directors, your trustees should decide whether you are going to notify and how you would do in that So I think the language used in whatever form of communication you use should be very careful to make sure that they understand that this is not giving them permission to say something about it, just to let them know that it’s happening Right So this says, is this, if it said copyright and fair use, is it also for any educational materials, such as coloring pages that were made by the staff, or are those automatically part of the institution? So I imagine this is materials that are made to go with an exhibit, that are based on whatsoever in the exhibit

Fair use is a really fuzzy concept I think that’s the term that Marie Malaro and Ildiko DeAngelis used, that fair use is fuzzy If it’s coloring pages, I can see it might be considered transformative, and therefore a derivative work, and you don’t need to get permission I think the one thing to be cognizant of, and to try to think about is, is this going to injure the artist in any way I think it really kind of depends on what use you’re making of it I would recommend checking with A Legal Primer on Managing Museum Collections for their section on copyright I think that’s very helpful and might explain that better than I have And I think sometime next year we’re going to do a series on legal issues that will include copyrights So keep an eye out for that I think that’s a great idea Yeah, and we’re doing it with art So I’m real pleased about that Let’s see Do you keep digital copies of these documents as well as paper copies in the physical files? I’m speaking only for myself, here at the Palmer Some records we do keep digitally, but most we keep in hard copy That’s partially because we don’t have staff to go and scan everything to get it digital Maybe someday we will But if you’re keeping records digitally, you need to remember that you will need to migrate and maintain them as formats change And we have one person who says, I have a room full of stuff given over the years How do I start keeping records? Start at the beginning I would say go with what’s closest that you can manage most easily and see what you can gather about it And start creating your documents Take a whack at last week’s webinar with [INAUDIBLE], where she gave a lot of concise advice about how to deal with that kind of stuff In our collection, it’s my understanding we have several items that are on long term loan to us, and they are expected to be given as gifts after the loan dies Is this a common practice? Yes, it is It still means that you need to maintain those long term loan agreements There should be regular renewal dates on that, so you stay in touch with the lender, the potential donor But yes, I’m afraid that is pretty standard OK, I think that’s all the questions If I missed any, I apologize And I’ll send all of the questions from both chat boxes to Beverly, and she can look at them to see if there’s anything else that needs to be answered And so next week we’re going to have Maureen McCormick, and we’re going to talk about inventories, and that’ll be the end of this Credly course And as soon as I get the list of who’s in multiples, I will send you e-mail like I have in the past weeks and ask you who’s there with you And just to remind everyone the ground rules for getting a badge are you have to have been your all the time So thank you very much, Bev This is fabulous And we will see you all next week And if I don’t get this today, I’ll get it up next week because I’m going away, and I’m not going to do any work while I’m gone So have a good weekend See you Tuesday, and I think that’s it Thank you