Biodiversity Deaccession Policy (2008)

1.    Purposes of Deaccessioning

Botanical and zoological specimens typically have no commercial value, although exceptions exist. Monetary values assigned to them for insurance purposes are usually based on replacement costs (collection, identification, curation etc) rather than market value.

The Trustees of the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery may as required from time to time deaccession and dispose of botanical and zoological specimens by:

1.1 Removing specimens which may have deteriorated beyond (useful) recognition; and

1.2    rationalising, consolidating and focusing the collection.

2.    Criteria for Deaccessioning

The following specimens from the Biodiversity Collection may be considered for deaccessioning:

2.1 Specimens which may not have been lawfully obtained by the Museum or which may legitimately be claimed by an individual or their heirs, trustees or representatives, or by an organisation or institution representing a claimant community or nation;

2.2 specimens which are in such poor physical condition, whether through accidental damage or deterioration that they are no longer suitable for public display, scholarly use or other appropriate museum purposes; and

2.3 uncertainty of ownership of specimens/s.

3.    Restrictions

The following specimens will generally not be considered for deaccessioning:

3.1    Specimens that have been cited in any published scientific work;

3.2 specimens that have been formally labelled or other wise annotated, indicating they have been used for a scientific study;

3.3    specimens from sites from which further material cannot be collected; and

3.4 specimens for which label data are in electronic websites, such as the Australian Virtual Herbarium.

3.5    specimens of extinct, rare, endangered and vulnerable species.

4.    Procedures

The following steps shall be followed in deaccessioning a specimen:

4.1 A proposal for deaccessioning shall be initiated by the Curator with immediate responsibility for the specimen(s), or at the request of the Director or Trustees;

4.2 A written deaccession proposal shall be prepared by the responsible Curator through the Director to the Trustees, and the proposal will include:

full details of the specimen(s)

reasons for the proposed deaccessioning (see 2, above)

 recommendations for the means of disposal (see 5, below)

4.3. The specimen(s) shall be approved in principle for deaccessioning on the absolute majority vote of the Trustees.

5.    Disposal

A deaccessioned specimen shall be disposed of by one of the following means:

5.1    Transferred to another museum or appropriate public institution;

5.2    in the case of returns (see 2.1, above), by gift to the original owner, their heirs, trustees or representatives; and

5.3 destruction.

6.    Disposal Restrictions

Under no circumstance shall a deaccessioned specimen be purchased by or transferred or given to any Trustee or employee of the Museum or any member of their immediate families.

7.    Documentation

On completion of the deaccessioning and disposal process:

7.1 The Museum’s registers and files shall be amended to note the deaccessioning and disposal of the specimen, and copies of photographic and written records pertaining to the specimen shall be retained by the Museum;

7.2    the specimen’s accession number shall not be reassigned; and

7.3    the deaccessioning and disposal of the specimen shall be reported in the next Annual Report of the Trustees of the Museum.

Initial draft prepared by Senior Curator of Geology, Noel Kemp, Senior Curator of Zoology, Dr David Pemberton and Acting Senior Curator of Invertebrate Zoology, Liz Turner, January 2003.

The document is adapted from the Deaccession and Disposal Policy for Art and Decorative Art Collections (31 October 2001). Revised and updated to include the Herbarium by Andrew Rozefelds, 2 June 2008