CSU Policy: Art Museum Collections Management

Policy Title: Art Museum Collections Management Category: Finance
Owner: Provost/Executive Vice President Policy ID#: 2-1778-001
Gregory Allicar Museum of Art
Web: http://central.colostate.edu/department/art-museum/
Phone: (970) 491-1983
Original Effective Date: 12/3/2012
Last Revision: 9/6/2016
Print Version: Click Here to Print
Attachments to this Policy:


This Policy governs the acquisition (accession), protection and deaccession of items in the collection of the Gregory Allicar Museum of Art and the disposition of proceeds from deaccessioned items, as well as the manner in which assets within the Museum’s collections are categorized under applicable accounting principles.


This Policy applies to all collection items now owned or hereafter acquired by the Gregory Allicar Museum of Art.


Exceptions to the Policy may be made on a case-by-case basis by the Museum Director after consultation with the Museum Advisory Board.


Accession: The process of adding an item to the Museum’s collection, or may refer to the item added.

Collection or Collection Item(s): The art collection of the Colorado State Gregory Allicar Museum of Art, consisting of works of art that comprise the permanent collection. Objects accessioned into the permanent collection are acquired and preserved because of their value or potential value as objects of aesthetic or educational importance or for use in exhibition, research and/or educational programs.

Deaccession: The formal process used to permanently remove an object from the collection.

Museum: As used herein, except where the context indicates otherwise the Museum is the Gregory Allicar Museum of Art, including all of its locations and exhibits.

Museum Director (“Director”): The administrative head of the Museum, who reports to the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and is advised by the Museum Advisory Board.

Museum Advisory Board (“Board”): A board of advisors to the Director of the Museum that is constituted and governed by the Museum Advisory Board Bylaws.  The Board’s function is to:

  • Advise the Museum Director on museum policy including collections, exhibitions, preservation, and educational programs;
  • Provide support in areas of fundraising and development;
  • Promote and act as a liaison for the Museum to the community and University; and
  • Carry out projects and events as planned and directed by the Director.


The Gregory Allicar Museum of Art (“Museum”) is governed by the College of Liberal Arts at Colorado State University (“College”). The Dean of the College has in turn delegated responsibility and authority for managing and directing the Museum to the Museum Director.  

The purpose of such activities is to support the University’s academic mission by promoting education, awareness, exposure to and understanding of the visual arts to students, faculty, the campus community and the broader public.  The Museum is the main exhibition and collecting venue of art for the University.  The Museum is dedicated to the enrichment of the cultural and intellectual life of Colorado through the presentation of art that is stimulating, relevant, and of the highest quality.  Through innovative exhibitions, programs and publications the Museum brings artists, the University community and the people of Colorado together, with important contemporary cultural issues, and with the art of diverse times, peoples and places.  The Museum serves as a resource for the study of art, art history, and other related disciplines, extending the University’s educational and scholarly programs to the community at large.

The University is committed to following good ethical and professional practices to protect the museum’s assets, both tangible and intangible; and to fully supporting the Museum in its compliance with the standards set forth by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM), including policies related to collecting, deacessioning, and the use of deaccession proceeds. Collections are made accessible to students, faculty, community and global audiences through exhibitions, open storage, research, programs and classes, publications, the internet, traveling exhibitions and loans.  Acquisitions are identified to support these initiatives and build upon the strengths of the existing collection.

Further, it is the express goal of Colorado State University that the Museum be continuously accredited by the AAM. The Museum Director, with the advice of the Advisory Board, shall make all reasonable efforts to secure and maintain such accreditation until such time as the University determines it is no longer in the best interests of the University to do so.  


Mission Statement of the Museum

Colorado State University’s Gregory Allicar Museum of Art invites individuals to engage with art and each other to inspire fresh perspectives and wonder. The museum is a catalyst for visual literacy and critical thinking that instills a passion for learning.

Vision Statement of the Museum

With a growing and diverse art collection, expanded facilities, and dynamic on-and-off site programming, the Gregory Allicar Museum of Art is a cornerstone of Colorado State University’s arts initiatives and a fluid link to alumni, Fort Collins, and our region. We are open and available to everyone in the region. We actively participate in the University’s core education mission via broad ranging faculty and student partnerships across campus. Through arts programming and partnerships throughout the community, we invite Colorado residents and visitors to revel in direct engagement with outstanding examples of visual art.

Collection Management Procedures

The Director shall promulgate Collection Management Procedures, with advice from the Museum Advisory Committee. Such procedures may be amended in the same manner.

Classification of Collection Items as Capital Assets

It is the University’s policy that all collection items donated to or otherwise acquired by the Museum shall be treated as non-depreciable capital assets (or such other category of assets as, under generally accepted accounting principles applicable to the University, best protects the assets from being sold or exchanged for purposes other than overall protection, preservation and improvement of the Museum and its collections). Except in the most extraordinary circumstances (as determined by the Museum Director, after consultation with the Museum Advisory Board), disposal of collection assets through sale, trade or research activities shall occur solely for the advancement of the museum’s mission; and that proceeds from the sale of nonliving collections are to be used consistently within the established standards of the museum’s discipline, and not for anything other than acquisition or direct care of collections.

Accessions to the Collection

The term “accessions” includes gifts, purchases, exchanges, bequests and any other formal process by which title to a collection item is transferred to Colorado State University for designated use in the Museum.  Because of limitations of staff, physical space, and finances, it is neither feasible nor ethical for the Museum to collect indiscriminately. 

The Museum will adopt and implement procedures and guidelines to implement and support this policy. Specific procedures for accession and deaccession of works may be modified from time to time by the Museum Director so long as such procedures are consistent with this policy.

1. Criteria for Accession

Objects that are acquired for the Museum should meet all of the following conditions:

(a)  The objects are relevant to and consistent with purposes and programs of the Museum as follows:

  1. Exhibition at the Museum at the University Center for the Arts;
  2. Exhibition in traveling art exhibitions which may be organized and circulated to other galleries and museums;
  3. Resources for classroom teaching, research and exposure to museum studies practices for students and faculty; and
  4. As an interdisciplinary link with other university departments.

(b) The Museum can provide for the storage, protection, and preservation of the objects under conditions that insure availability for the Museum and the College of Liberal Art’s and Colorado State University’s purposes and that are in keeping with professionally accepted standards.

(c)  Objects must be in stable physical condition and not burden the Museum’s resources or compromise the safety of other works of art already in the collection.

(d) Works offered as gifts by current, former, and emeritus faculty and current and former students will be considered based on the national and international reputation of the artist and/or potential merit of the work.

(e) Any expense related to purchase, transportation, conservation or storage of the object should not be prohibitive given the Museum’s budget.

2. Conditions of Acceptance

(a)  Title to all objects acquired for the collection should be obtained free and clear, without restrictions as to use, change of attribution, display or future disposition.  The Museum does not accept objects or collections with the provision of permanent display, or the provision to display a collection together.

(b)  Exceptions to this policy may be made only for particularly rare, valuable, or important objects where restrictions imposed by the donor are in accordance with current laws.  If objects are accepted with restrictions or limitations, the conditions should be adequately documented and retained as part of the record pertaining to the objects.

(c)   Works of art and artifacts shall be acquired only when the Museum has determined to the best of its ability that they have satisfactory provenance and have been collected, exported, and imported in full compliance with current laws and regulations of the country or countries of origin, of the federal government of the United States, and of the individual states within the United States.  The Museum may accept objects that have been confiscated and offered to the Museum by government authorities.

(d)  The Museum will fully comply with the requirements of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), and future amendments to the Act, and will not knowingly purchase or otherwise traffic in any Native American object subject to NAGPRA.  Gift offers that include Native American materials will be considered following NAGPRA recommendations. The Museum will likewise comply with AAM requirements and standards regarding unlawfully appropriated items.

(e)  The Museum will comply with AAM policies regarding protection of indigenous works and endangered species, prevention of trafficking in stolen works or those acquired through unlawful appropriations, and the like (including, but not limited to, a policy requiring identification of works created before 1946 that were transferred between 1932 and 1946 as a result of Nazi-era appropriations).

(f)    Should evidence be presented that any object in the Collection was acquired illegally or in violation of any rule or policy of the AAM, subsequent to the date on which these procedures were approved, the Museum Director will conduct an investigation into the circumstances, and, if justified by the results of the investigation and approved by the Dean of the College and the Office of the General Counsel for the CSU System, will return the object(s) to its rightful owner to the extent it is legally possible and practical to do so, or otherwise determine the appropriate resolution and/or disposition.

(g)  Proposed purchases and gifts will also be submitted to the Museum Advisory Board collections subcommittee, which will make recommendations to the Director.  The same procedures as noted above for gifts will be followed. When time constraints or other factors reasonably require it, and the Museum Director determines (in his or her sole discretion) that is in the best interests of the Museum, the Director may take action on a proposed gift, purchase, transfer, or any other matter without recommendations from the Board and sub-committee, and shall promptly report such action to the Board.

3. Deaccessioning

(a)  Objects may be deaccessioned by exchange, sale, transfer or other disposition in accordance with the Museum Collections Management Procedures as approved by the Director.

(b)  The Director shall determine the conditions, requirements and methods for deaccessioning an object from the collections.

4. Outgoing Loans

(a)  The term “loan” refers to temporary physical transfer of collection items from the Museum permanent/study collection.  These transfers do not involve a change of ownership but constitute a temporary, revocable license establishing the terms of the loan, rights to display and use the object, and other conditions or restrictions.

(b)  The conditions, procedures, and methods for making outgoing loans shall be specified in the Museum’s Collections Management Procedures and approved by the Director.

5. Access to Collections

(a)  All collections of the Museum not on display shall be accessible to Colorado State University faculty, faculty sponsored students, as well as pre-approved non-University scholars and members of the public for legitimate research and study, subject to procedures adopted by the Museum.

(b)  Others may be granted access to items in such collections, in the discretion of the Director, by appointment. 

(c)   Conditions of access shall be determined by the Director and may be specified in the Museum Collection Management Procedures as appropriate.

6. Insurance and Risk Management

(a)  The Museum collection shall be insured through the Colorado State University Risk Management program while on the premises of Colorado State University and while in transit. A borrower’s or other party’s insurance coverage may be designated as primary by agreement. Objects loaned to the Museum for exhibition, research, gift or purchase review shall also be covered under the Risk Management program while on Colorado State University premises, and for transit, when such coverage is specifically requested from and approved by the University Office of Risk Management prior to any casualty or loss.  Museum staff members are to submit required forms to the Risk Management Office.

(b)  The Museum will follow standard practices to establish the valuation of an art object for insurance purposes, loans, conservation priority, and deaccessioning, or as otherwise necessary for the protection of collection items and proper business operations of the Museum.

Museum Code of Ethics

The Gregory Allicar Museum of Art Code of Ethics reflects the University’s responsibility as a steward of the collection and the public trust. Museum staff members are required to follow it. The Museum Code of Ethics, which may be amended from time to time, adheres to the ethics promulgated by the AAM.

The Museum shall not allow objects from the permanent collection to be acquired privately by any staff member, volunteer, or Museum Advisory Board member, or their immediate family members. Staff, volunteers, board members and family members must not benefit from sales and exchanges.

Procedures for Policy Implementation and Compliance

Subject to final approval by the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts, the Museum Director shall promulgate procedures for implementing this Policy and shall submit them to the Museum Advisory Board for review and comment. When (at the discretion of the Director) such procedures require modification, changes shall be reviewed and approved in the same manner.


  • Museum Advisory Board Bylaws (revised March 10, 2016)
  • Gregory Allicar Museum of Art Code of Ethics (revised March 15, 2016)


University Art Museum Gift Processing Checklist


Approved on: 12/3/2010

By: Anthony A. Frank, President


Revised, approved on: 12/3/2012

By:  Anthony A. Frank


Revised, approved on 9/6/2016:

By: Lynn Johnson, Vice President for University Operations (President’s designee)




Print Version: Click Here to Print

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