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Ravensthorpe Historical Society

Collection Policcy


Statement of Intent

This collection policy aims to define and guide the approach and procedures to be followed by the Ravensthorpe Historical Society and its museum in the acquisition of object which can best represent aspects of history which are most significant, important and interesting to the Ravensthorpe district.

Mission Statement

The Ravensthorpe Historical Society Inc. collects, holds and interprets objects, artefacts and information for the enrichment of all Ravensthorpe Shire Communities and their visitors.

A. Appropriateness

  1. The Society will only retain or accept into the collection those objects or archival materials which are relevant to and consistent with the stated aims of the Museum focusing on the following subjects specific to the Ravensthorpe district:

    1. Indigenous history
    2. Early settlers and residents
    3. Domestic and social life, except textiles
    4. Industries – gold and copper mining, farming and supporting businesses
    5. Communications, transport
    6. vArchival material / documents
    7. Contemporary history, including photographs and local newspaper articles
    8. Environmental data
  2. The Society may accept materials not directly related to the history of the area but reflecting the known social environment of the district which either supplement the Museum collection or can be used in education activities.
  3. The Society may accept materials suitable for use in education or public outreach activities.
  4. Objects collected will include both historical and contemporary material. The Society will collect three dimensional objects and also paper based records such as diaries, letters, books, newspapers, photographs, films, slides, IT records, videos and documents.
  5. The committee will endeavour not to accept objects that will duplicate items already in the collection.
  6. Offers of unsuitable material for donation are to be politely declined by referring potential donors to a copy of the Society’s Collection Policy.
  7. Once accepted, suitable donations will be formally acknowledged with a letter of thanks.

B. Transfer of ownership to Museum

  1. Objects will be collected by donation or purchase. Loans will only be accepted in association with specific temporary exhibitions. The terms of the loan will be specified on a specific form which sets out the length of the loan period and any conditions to which both parties agree.
  2. The society will receive only donations upon receipt of a deed of gift (Gift Acknowledgement Form) signed by the donor or donor’s agent in the presence of a witness. The form will be legally binding, the donor will forfeit all right and title to the object so given to the Ravensthorpe Historical Society Inc.
  3. Receipt of objects for the Society’s collection may be done by any member of the Ravensthorpe Historical Society. The final acceptance of objects will be determined by the majority vote of the Ravensthorpe Historical Society Committee.

C. Provenance and Documentation

  1. The Society will record all objects added to its collection promptly, using an approved registration system. All accessioning on Mosaic program and scanning of original photographs.
  2. Every effort is to be made to acquire all relevant information concerning an object at the time of acceptance.
  3. Where possible the museum will only accept or keep in the collection items that retain documentation of their provenance. Any items in dispute brought to the meeting for a decision on de-caccession.

D. Material accepted on a Temporary basis

  1. Long-term or permanent loans to the Society, although discouraged, will be accepted on the proviso that the object comes with detailed documentation and consent to the loan signed by the lender AND the Society. No long term loan or permanent loans will be made to other museums.
  2. Objects currently on loan to the Society must have their documentation updated as a matter of priority and written consent obtained from the lender.
  3. Short and medium-term loans will be accepted from time to time only when in association with specific temporary exhibitions of objects from the collection and with a loan agreement form which specifies the length and conditions of the loan.
  4. Outward loans, of specific duration, will be made only to those societies, institutions or individuals (in case of photographs or letters needed for a book, for instance) which can guarantee the security and safety of the Society’s objects and who are prepared to sign the Ravensthorpe Historical Society loan agreement form.

E. Adequacy of Museum Resources and Procedures

The Museum will only retain or accept items if adequate resources and procedures can be provided to preserve, research, document, store or display and interpret these items as applicable, in accordance with professional standards.

F. Physical Condition of Objects

Objects in very poor condition, eg dirty and torn, badly broken or heavily corroded should only be accepted if their rarity is balanced by their significance to the collection. If the committee acquires a damaged object, consideration needs to be given to the cost of conservation of that object before it is added to the collection.

  1. until such time that a like or suitable replacement is found.
  2. if they can be used to provide spare parts for the restoration or repair of like or similar items.
  3. if they can be used safely for educational or public outreach activities.

G. Management of the Collection

  1. The Society will de-accession objects in the following categories:
    1. duplicates of another object in the collection
    2. artefacts/objects in poor condition or requiring conservation work disproportionate to their significance
    3. those which do not meet the criteria of the Society’s collection policy
    4. objects whose ownership is the subject of a substantiated request for return by the owner.

    Objects considered appropriate by the Society for de-accessioning will be presented to the committee for endorsement and entered into the minutes of the committee meeting. On approval of de-accession the object’s entry in the society’s register will be amended with the de date of de-accession, initials of relevant committee member and a line diagonally through the register entry with “DEACCESSIONED” written across the line (or suitable amendment to the computer record). Methods of disposal will be:

    1. return to donor
    2. offer to another society or museum
    3. sale at auction conducted by a registered auctioneer
    4. donation to a recognised charitable institution
    5. carted to the tip if none of the above is appropriate

    If for any reason objects and specimens which are important to the purposes of the Museum cannot be collected, the Museum will endeavour to make complete documentary record of those materials using printed, visual and audio media.

    H. Ethics

    1. The Museum will only acquire items having a legal and ethical provenance.
    2. The collection of objects by the members or staff of the Museum will always be conducted in accordance with the standards of the Code of Ethics of the Museums Association of Australia.
    3. The Museum will not provide appraisal of objects for tax deduction or other external purposes.
    4. Identification and authentication will be given only for professional, scientific or educational purposes under the ethical and legal guidelines laid down by the Code of Ethics of the Museums Association of Australia.

    I. Museum Closure and Review Date

    1. In the event of the Museum closing, the collection will be disposed of to the original owner (or his/her heir) where ownership is known, and to other interested museums, and will not be considered as part of the “assets” of the Ravensthorpe Shire Council (owner of the buildings)
    2. This Collection Policy shall be subject to review every 5 years from the present date.
    Dated: 4th June, 2011 Review: May, 2016