Deaccession Policy

To fulfill the objectives set forth in the Collection Development Statement, the Gallery will implement a deaccessioning process whereby art objects and artifacts are permanently removed from the University's permanent collection. Deaccessioning is considered a proper function of collections management and development. Its purpose is to enhance the quality, integrity, and identity of a collection without violating legal or ethical obligations. 

Criteria for deaccessions 

The decision to deaccession any object from the University's permanent collection is based on, but not limited to these criteria:

  • the object is no longer relevant or useful to the purposes and activities of the University;
  • the University is unable to preserve the object properly;
  • the object has deteriorated beyond usefulness or reasonable repair;
  • the object duplicates other objects in the collection;
  • the object's removal will provide the means for improving or strengthening the collection to further the goals of the Gallery;
  • the object is requested for repatriation by aboriginal groups or foreign governments.

Recommendations for deaccessions

The Gallery Director or Assistant Director will submit written recommendations for deaccessions to the Library and Art Gallery Committee, in consultation with the following individuals and senior staff of the University, as appropriate: artist, donor, funder, seller, the Vice President for University Advancement, the Vice President and Dean of Academic Affairs, the Vice President for Finance and Treasurer, and the President. The recommendation will include an evaluation of the object and the reason for and method of its proposed removal. Recommendations may require consultation with external scholars, curators, conservators, or other experts. Final recommendations for deaccessions must be approved by the Vice President and Dean of Academic Affairs, and the President of the University. 

Removal of objects 

The object to be deaccessioned will be disposed of by offer of donation or exchange, as determined by the Gallery Director and the Library and Art Gallery Committee.

Usable objects that have been deaccessioned will be donated to or exchanged with the following institutions in order of preference:

  • appropriate public museums;
  • appropriate public educational agencies and institutions;
  • private museums and educational agencies and institutions.

If the donation or exchange option fails, objects may be sold at a widely publicized public auction conducted by a reputable purveyor, who will determine fair market value. An independent appraisal may be conducted, if necessary. If contemporary works of art are involved, the artist, donor, or heirs will be notified by the University of the intention to sell.

Objects under consideration for exchange are subject to the Gallery's Acquisitions Policy and Procedures. Any object acquired as a direct result of the deaccession of another object shall be noted as "provided by" the donor of the original object.

If an object is disposed of by sale, its proceeds must be used for the purpose of acquiring objects for the collection, or at times, conservation, digitization, and maintenance of objects. Funds from deaccessioning will be placed in a separate University budget and will not be used toward the University's operating or capital expenditures.

St. Lawrence University faculty, staff, or students, or current or past members of the University's Board of Trustees are not permitted to acquire any deaccessioned object under any circumstances. Funds from deaccessioning will not be used for personal gain.

Procedures for deaccessioning

Deaccessioning will be documented in writing and the original documents pertaining to the deaccession will be kept on file permanently with the Gallery. Duplicate records will be retained by University Campus Support Services. The written deaccession record will include: 

  • the names and titles of persons involved in initiating and sanctioning the process, and date of deaccession; 
  • an initial recommendation by the Gallery Director or Assistant Director; 
  • the reason(s) for deaccessioning; 
  • a description and condition report of the object being deaccessioned; 
  • the St. Lawrence University identification number; 
  • evidence of clear and unrestricted title of the University to the object;
  • photographic documentation of deaccessioned object.

When applicable, the following written documentation will also include: 

  • a formal request for repatriation by aboriginal group or foreign government; 
  • the name and location of the receiving museum, agency, institution, or purchaser, or aboriginal group or foreign country; 
  • evidence from the receiving agency, aboriginal group, or foreign country government of their ability to properly care for and use the object; 
  • a document transferring clear and unrestricted title to the receiving agency. 

The Assistant Director will note the status of the object as "deaccessioned," and the object's accession number will not be reassigned. 

Approved by the Library and Art Gallery Committee on December 16, 2016, and by the University President and Senior Staff on December 13, 2018.