- The offer of artifacts to the Museum, and the acceptance of those artifacts by the Museum, whether as acquisitions (items owned by the Museum as part of its permanent collection) or loans (items temporarily in the custody of the Museum, to be returned later to the lenders), is known as accessioning. Artifacts are items of historical significance or interest, and include letters, diaries, ledgers and account books, ephemera, other documents, photographs, maps, engineering and architectural diagrams, blueprints, books and other printed material, clothing and other fabrics, tools, machines, furniture, and other items.
- The Executive Director, or someone designated by the Executive Director, has the authority to accept or refuse artifacts offered to the Museum. Artifacts shall be accepted or refused based on their appropriateness, size, condition, and redundancy to the Museum’s collection.
- The Museum collects artifacts that depict or represent: (a) the lives and experiences of workers, manufacturers, craftspeople, consumers and other people involved in the textile industry and textile arts in Connecticut; (b) the cultures of the ethnic groups involved in the textile industry and textile arts in Connecticut; (c) preindustrial and industrial textile equipment, tools, and implements.
- When the Museum first accepts a donation or loan, a representative should complete an Accession Sheet and give a copy to the donor or lender. All artifacts that are donated or lent together should be kept together throughout accessioning.
- Acquisitions should be placed in the Museum’s Processing Room for processing, along with the Accession Sheets. At that point, they are assigned temporary Accession Numbers.
- Loans should be placed in the custody of the Executive Director, along with the Accession Sheets.
- The Museum does not accept long-term or open-ended loans. The Museum only accepts loans for limited and specific periods of time, either for particular exhibits or to be reproduced.
- The Museum takes reasonable precautions to protect artifacts accepted on loan, including keeping or exhibiting the artifacts in secure and fire-protected areas.
- If the Museum is unsuccessful, after using its best efforts for twelve (12) months, in returning borrowed artifacts to the lender, the ownership of such items shall pass to the Museum, to be treated as if the artifacts had been donated to the Museum as acquisitions.
- The sorting, cataloging, preserving, storing, and displaying of artifacts in the Museum’s collection is known as processing. The Executive Director, or someone designated by the Executive Director, oversees processing, with the advice and assistance of the Museum’s Curatorial Committee.
- Each artifact is assigned to a particular Collection. Artifacts of unknown origin are usually placed in the General Collection.
- Each artifact is individually cataloged on a Catalog Card in the Card Catalog in the Museum’s Dunham Hall Library. Catalog Cards record: (a) the name of the Collection into which the artifact has been placed; (b) a description of the artifact; (c) the artifact’s permanent Accession Number; (d) the artifact’s location within the Museum; and (e) other information deemed appropriate by the Museum’s archival staff.
- The Museum’s archival staff takes reasonable care to preserve artifacts from deterioration.
- Normally, the Museum does not attempt to conserve artifacts (i.e., restore them to their original condition).
- It is vitally important that artifacts not be lost or damaged. Therefore, after each artifact has been sorted, cataloged, and preserved, it is placed in the archives (or on display) in a secure location, which is recorded on the artifact’s Catalog Card, so that it can be found and retrieved whenever needed. Whenever an artifact is moved, its new location should be noted on the Catalog Card.
- After an artifact has been processed, the original Accession Sheet should be amended to note the artifact’s Collection, permanent Accession Number, and location within the Museum. The Accession Sheet should then be placed in the Accessions file in the Museum’s Dunham Hall Library.
III: Found Items. Artifacts in the possession of the Museum, but for which no documentation can be found, are deemed found items that, absent any evidence to the contrary, are considered the property of the Museum.
- It is considered good museum practice to periodically cull unwanted items, in order to create space for new artifacts, remove items that should not have been collected in the first place, or transfer artifacts to other, more proper museums. Removing artifacts from the collection is known as deaccessioning.
- The Executive Director, or someone designated by the Executive Director, shall have the authority to deaccession artifacts from the Museum’s Collection, with advice from the Museum’s Curatorial Committee.
- All deaccessions will be recorded in the Museum’s Deaccessions Book. When possible, deaccessions will also be recorded on the items’ Catalog Cards and Accession Sheets. The information recorded in the Deaccessions Book will include: a description of the item being deaccessioned, the item’s Accession Number (if available), the date of deaccession, and the disposition of the item (i.e., where it went).
- The Museum will deaccession found items that have significant financial value only very carefully and with the approval of the Board of Directors.
- The Museum will place deaccessioned items with other history museums whenever practical.
- “In the event of dissolution, all the remaining assets of the corporation shall after payment of necessary expenses thereof be distributed to such organizations as shall qualify under section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954, as amended, or, to another organization to be used in such a manner as in the judgment of a Justice of the State of Connecticut will best accomplish the general purposes for which this corporation was formed.”