Museum Collecting Policy

Established: November 13, 1996
Amended: November 9, 2013

The Maple Grove museum, the Propst House museum, and Houk’s Chapel  are adjunct operations of the Hickory Landmarks Society (hereafter known as “HLS”). As such, museums shall have no independent existence from HLS. References to these museums shall be deemed as products owned by HLS.

I.  Acquisition Policy

A. Types of Acquisition
The Hickory Landmarks Society (HLS) accepts material in two categories:
– Accessioned collection
– Unaccessioned collection

a. Contains objects valuable for their aesthetic qualities, historic and native associations, and that are consistent with HLS’s Statement of Purpose. Objects may be accepted into the accession collection if they are:

(1) Related to the history and material culture (i.e. furnishings, manuscripts, and accoutrements) of Maple Grove (1874. 1883), the Propst House (1881), the Corinth Church Parsonage (1895), Houk’s Chapel (1893) and their occupants.

(2) Related to the history and material culture of any building or site that may become the permanent possession of HLS.

(3) Reflective or illustrative of Hickory area life, landmarks and built environment.

b. In all the above categories, artifacts not original to the Hickory area may be accepted if Hickory area artifacts are not available, and provided that the artifacts accepted are typical of and can be used accurately to reflect Hickory life, culture, people or places of historical significance, or to accurately furnish historic houses in a particular “period” or “periods” if desired. 

c. HLS will collect foreign culture material (i.e. outside the United States) only insofar as the material was actually used within a particular site in Hickory, and not simply collected as an art object or an object of curiosity.

d. Standards for Documentation of Accessioned Collection:
(1) Minimum requirements of documentation vary with the object or collections being received.

(2) Objects with less than complete data or weak documentation as to point of origin may be accessioned at the discretion of the executive director.

(3) Undocumented objects which are good examples of their type, at the discretion of the executive director, may be accessioned for use in exhibition and educational programs.


a. The Demonstration Collection contains objects which will not be accessioned into the collection, but which may be useful in the education and exhibition programs, such as:
(1) reproductions;
(2) objects not of museum quality;
(3) objects incompatible with the institutional statement of purpose;
(4) duplicates of the accessioned collection;
(5) undocumented objects;
(6) exhibit props.

b. The Museum Use collection contains items useful in the administration and maintenance of the museum, such as office and other equipment.

c. The Library collection contains books, journals, and other items useful for research and documentation.

B. Condition of Acceptance:

1. Only unconditional gifts will be accepted. HLS cannot accept objects on which restriction are placed.
2. All gifts are considered outright and unconditional property of HLS.
3. All acquisitions are accepted under the supervision of the executive director.
4. Donations of objects or money to HLS which meet the requirements of charitable contributions under Internal Revenue Code (Section 170) and related regulations (section 1.170A-1), are tax deductible.

C. Valuation /Appraisal/Authentication:

1. HLS will not place a valuation on artifacts for the benefit of the donor.

a. HLS is not in a position to make valuations, particularly when there may be a personal connection or a sentimental attachment.

b. Where a donor has already given artifacts and needs to have a valuation, HLS will assist by preparing a lists or making the material available for examination by an appraiser selected and employed by the donor.

2. No member of HLS staff shall, in his or her official capacity, give appraisals for the purpose of establishing the tax deductible value of gifts offered to HLS

D. Items of Identification or Study

1. HLS will attempt to identify items only when a curatorial staff member is available.

2. No items are to be left at HLS for identification. If a curatorial staff member is unavailable to identify the item on the spot, the owner should make an appointment to bring the item back when such a staff member is available.

3. A curatorial staff member is defined as any employee of HLS, paid or unpaid, with full job description and adherence to both existing personnel policies and standards of ethics.
II. Incoming Loan Policy

A. HLS will accept on loan only those items which will be used for the exhibition, research, identification, and educational programs.

B. Incoming loans of objects for exhibit, research, identification, or educational purposes are arranged and approved by the executive director for up to one year, after which the loan may be extended.

C. Objects which are perishable in nature, defective in quality, fragile or unstable in condition, will not be received on loan.

D. The conditions of loans:

(1) The articles shall remain the property of the owner and shall be subject to withdrawal by the owner, provided notice of intention to withdraw shall have been given in writing fifteen days prior to withdrawal.

(2) Articles will be delivered upon surrender of the receipt by the lender in person, or upon the presentation or a written order of the lender or the lender’s duly authorized agent or legal representative, any time following the fifteenth day after receipt or written notice of intention to withdraw.

(3) Borrowed articles, while in the custody of the museum, shall be given the same care and attention they would receive if they were museum property; HLS will assume responsibility and will be liable in case of loss or damage by theft, fire, or accident only to the extent of any insurance carried by the museum to cover such losses.   

(4) Should HLS at any time desire to terminate its obligations with reference to the articles, the owner will be notified to withdraw them.

(5) A properly executed loan contract will be signed and filed.

III. Outgoing Loan Policy

A. HLS may lend collection material to nonprofit cultural, educational or charitable institutions which are judged to be appropriate depositories and able to provide appropriate care and insurance for the material.  Use of museum artifacts is restricted to exhibit, research, identification, education, or conservation purposes.

B. HLS does not grant loans of its collections to private or corporate establishments, except for educational, non-profit purposes.

C. The purpose of a loan policy for the Hickory Landmarks Society is to support the availability and dissemination of collections materials and information consistent with the organization’s stewardship responsibilities. Loans of objects to or from the Museum are temporary physical transfers of collection objects to or from the institution, without transfer of ownership.

D. All requests for short term loans of registered artifacts shall be made in writing, and will be considered by the museum staff and Executive Committee.  No long term loans may be made without approval of the Board of Trustees.

E. Borrower must protect items from loss or damage caused by temperature, humidity, vermin, handling, or other such causes.

F. Agreements are executed for a maximum of one year. An extension is granted if approved by the executive director.   Loaned objects may not be transferred or loaned to a third party. If the borrower wishes to transfer material, a new loan agreement with that third party must be requested from the executive director.

G. Borrower shall be responsible for any loss or damage to the property while on loan or in transit.

1. HLS shall determine the value of material being borrowed.

2. If total value of borrowed item exceeds $500, borrower shall insure the material through an all-risk fine arts floater with HLS named as an additional insured under the policy.  Evidence shall be furnished to HLS that such coverage is in force.

3. The responsibility of the borrower begins at the time borrower takes possession of the loaned property from HLS and continues until HLS assumes possession and acknowledges receipt of the material in writing.

H. A properly executed loan contract, containing loan conditions, insurance responsibilities, and exhibition specifications will be recorded in writing on the appropriate loan form and signed by the borrower before the material is transferred.

I. All HLS owned objects on loan shall be marked or identified with the object’s catalog number for identification purposes.

IV. Deaccessioning

A. Definition: Formal process used to remove objects from an accessioned collection.  Deaccessioned items may be retained by the museum for transfer to any unaccessioned collections (see section I.A.2.a.,b&c.) or disposed of as provided.

B. Purpose: Removal from the accessioned collection of objects in poor or deteriorated condition, or undocumented items or reproductions which are readily replaceable, serves to upgrade the quality of the museum’s collection, and to reduce storage problems, record keeping, & storage costs.

C. Determination of Quality:  Objects proposed for deaccession shall be judged based on condition, history, association, and value for exhibition, study, and reference.

D. Certification: The curatorial staff member shall complete an object deaccession proposal form on which will be listed the objects provenance, condition, reason for proposed deaccession and recommendation for transfer or disposal. Upon agreement of the executive director, the proposal will be reviewed by an ad hoc Collections Committee, which will then recommend its disposition to the Board of Trustees; they shall review and take action.

V. Disposition

A. Definition: The process by which deaccessioned or unaccesioned objects are removed from the museum through gift, transfer, exchange, sale, or destruction.

B. Purpose:  The removal, or consideration of removal, or deaccessioned and un accessioned material from the museum shall be a continuing process as the museum continues to meet its objectives.

C. Types of Disposition

1. Articles deemed to have no monetary value by the curator, executive director, the ad hoc Collections Committee and the Board of Trustees shall be referred to the executive director with a recommendation for disposal.

2. Disposal of articles with monetary value will take the form of:

a.  Gifts to other museums or cultural institutions: realizing that in certain circumstances, HLS can benefit from the release of deaccessioned or unaccessioned objects.

b. Exchanges: the formal reciprocal transfer of deaccesioned or unaccessioned objects between HLS and another similar type institution may serve to advance the objectives of HLS.  Such exchanges can occur through private negotiation when done in accordance with the provisions set forth in sub-section 4e & 4f of this section below.

c. Sales: Deaccessioned or unaccessioned objects may be sold, subject to the following guidelines:

(1) the goal of all such sales of HLS property shall be to bring the best possible price for the material.

(2) There shall be no private sales of HLS objects to staff members, trustees, or their agents or representatives. In the event of public sale or sale to dealers of antiques, such individuals shall be eligible, as are any other private individuals, to bid on offered items.

(3) Public sales should be held and advertised outside of the Hickory city limits whenever possible.

(4) Method of sale shall be determined by the executive director, subject to the approval of the Board of Trustees.

(5) Methods and procedures of sale or exchange:

(a) Private Sale.  Any one item or group of similar items valued by an independent third party qualified appraiser at less than $10,000 may be sold by private negotiations and sale. Property worth in excess of $10,000 may not be sold by private negotiations and sale.

(b) Sealed bid. Property worth in excess of $10,000 must be advertised outside of Hickory city limits and only sealed bids may be accepted.

(c) Public Auction. Property to be sold at public auction must be advertised not less than ten days prior to the date of auction.

(d) Exchanges

(e) Consigned Sales.  HLS may place objects on sale at consignment stores provided such businesses are located outside of Hickory city limits.

(6) All net funds received from the sale of objects or collections must be used solely for the collection or conservation purposes of HLS.