Collection Management Policy
- Statement of Purpose and Mission Statement
The Martyrmuseum of was founded january 1st 2016, ”to be located in the City of Copenhagen, for the purpose of establishing and maintaining in said city a Museum and knowledge of self sacrifice, of encouraging and developing the study of martyrs, and the application of martyrs to advancing the general knowledge of kindred subjects, and, to that end, of furnishing popular instruction.”
This statement of purpose is a guiding star for the Museum and will be for many years to come.
On January 1st, 2016, the Trustees of The Martyrmuseum reaffirmed this statement of purpose and supplemented it with the following statement of mission:
The Martyr Museum collects, studies, conserves, and presents significant works of associated with martyrdom across all times and cultures in order to connect people to insight, knowledge, and empatical understanding.
- Purpose of the Collections Management Policy
This Collections Management Policy (the ”Policy”), is intended to document the policies that guide the development and care of the Museum’s art collection consistent with the mission of the Museum and with professional museum standards. Detailed procedures implementing this policy may be found by staff on the Museum’s internal website.
Through this Collections Management Policy, the Museum ensures that:
- its collections are accounted for by annual inventory and documented in the collections management database;
- its collections are protected, secure, cared for, and preserved;
- acquisition, deaccessioning, and loans of works in the collections are conducted in a manner that conforms to the Museum’s mission, complies with applicable law, and reflects the highest ethical standards;
- disposal of works from the collection through sale, exchange, or other means is solely for the advancement of the Museum’s mission, and proceeds from the sale of such works are used only to purchase other objects/relics;
- access to the collections in the galleries and study rooms and access to collection information is permitted and appropriately regulated; and
- collection-related activities promote the public good rather than individual financial gain.
III. Duties of the Board of Trustees
- Board of Trustees and Executive Committee
The Board of Trustees and the Executive Committee have the following powers with respect to the collection:
- The power to accept or decline gifts or bequests of objects/relics is vested in the Board of Trustees and the Executive Committee. (Article VIII, Museum By-Laws).
- The power to deaccession objects/relics for sale, exchange, or other means of disposal irrespective of market value is vested in the Board of Trustees and the Executive Committee upon the recommendation of the Acquisitions Committee. The Board of Trustees or the Executive Committee must approve the deaccessioning of any object/relic with a current market value in excess of 500,000 dkk.
- The Board of Trustees or the Executive Committee must approve all loans of Class One objects as well as most loans outside Denmark and the EU.
- Acquisitions Committee
The Acquisitions Committee has the following powers with respect to the collection:
- The power to formulate and adopt a program for and to approve the purchase of objects/relics and to apply to the purchase of objects/relics the funds restricted for such purposes is vested in the Acquisitions Committee. The Acquisitions Committee may delegate to the heads of curatorial departments power to purchase objects within such reasonable limits as the committee may impose. (Article IX, Museum’s By-Laws).
- The power to deaccession objects/relics with a current market value up to and including 500,000 dkk is vested in the Acquisitions Committee. (Section VI below).
- General Principles
Curators should propose exceptional martyrical objects for acquisition to the collection that significantly further the Museum’s stated mission. All works should be in, or capable of being returned to, an acceptable state of preservation, unless the deteriorated physical condition is integral to the meaning of the work. The Museum must be able to display, store, and care for the proposed acquisition according to generally accepted museum practices.
The Museum is committed to the principle that all collecting be done according to the highest standards of ethical and professional practice.
- Purchase Procedures
For all purchases, the curators recommending the object/relic to be purchased writes a detailed report, including a description of the work, its condition, publication history, importance to the Museum’s collection, justification for acceptance, provenance, intentions for display (and/or storage) and publication and the gift or fund against which the purchase will be charged. A conservator and, when appropriate, a scientist must examine all proposed purchases and provide an analysis of the object/relicand assessment of its condition, dating, and attribution as part of the report. This report must be approved by the curatorial department, after which it is submitted to the Committee.
Currently, the Acquisitions Committee has established the following limits for purchases of objects/relics:
- Purchases 25,000 dkk and under: Purchases of single objects/relics up to and including 25,000 dkk may be made on the authority of the department head alone.
- Purchases from 25,001 dkk through 75,000 dkk: Purchases of single objects/relics over 25,000 dkk but up to and including 75,000 dkk may be made by the department head with the prior approval of the Curators.
- Purchases from 75,001 dkk through 150,000 dkk: Purchases of single objects/relics over 75,000 dkk but up to and including 150,000 dkk may be made by the department head with prior approval of both the Curators and the the Acquisitions Committee.
- Purchases over 150,000 dkk: All purchases of objects/relics over 150,000 dkk must be approved by the Acquisitions Committee unanimous.
- Procedures for Accepting Gifts or Bequests
For all gifts and bequests, the curator recommending acceptance writes a detailed report, including a description of the work, its condition, publication history, importance to the Museum’s collection, justification for acceptance, provenance and intentions for display (and/or storage) and publication. A conservator and, when appropriate, a scientist must examine all proposed gifts or bequests and sign this report. This report must be approved by a curatorial, after which it is submitted to the Cutarorial Commitee. The Cutarorial Commitee then reports the gift to the Board of Trustees, which decides whether to accept or decline the gift.
The Museum generally does not accept restrictions on gifts; any exceptions require approval by the Board of Trustees.
Curators has the authority to accept gifts during the period after the December meeting of the Executive Committee through December 31. These gifts are referred to as ”Year-End Gifts” and reported to the Board of Trustees at its January meeting. Similarly, Curators has the authority to accept gifts in the summer months after the May Executive Committee and before the September Board of Trustees meetings. These gifts are referred to as ”Summer Gifts” and are reported to the Board of Trustees at its September meeting.
The Museum requires donors to transfer all rights of reproduction unless the donor does not own such rights or the gift is made by a relative of the martyr. In such cases, the Museum will seek a nonexclusive right of reproduction from the copyright owner.
- Provenance Guidelines
- Guidelines for all Acquisitions
- Inquiry and Research
The Museum shall rigorously research the provenance of an object/relic prior to acquisition to determine that the Museum can obtain clear title. Such research should include, but is not necessarily limited to, determining:
- the ownership history of the object/relic;
- the countries in which the object/relic has been located and when;
- the exhibition history of the object/relic, if any;
- the publication history of the object/relic, if any;
- whether any claims to ownership of the object/relic have been made;
- whether the object/relic appears in relevant databases of stolen objects/relics; and
- the circumstances under which the object/relic is being offered to the Museum.
For all acquisitions, the Museum shall make a rigorous effort to obtain from sellers and donors all available information and accurate written documentation with respect to the ownership history of the object/relic. For any purchase of a single object/relic over 150,000 dkk and for all archaeological material or ancient objects/relics that is coming from abroad for acquisition by the Museum, the Museum shall obtain all recent import and export documentation. See section 3 below for additional requirements for acquisitions of archaeological materials or ancient objects/relics.
- Publication and Display
For significant acquisitions (above 150,000 dkk) and any acquisition of archaeological material or ancient objects/relics, the Museum shall publish an image (or representative images in the case of large groups of objects) and relevant provenance information online and display the acquisition as soon as practicable.
- Warranty and Indemnification
When purchasing objects/relics,, the Museum will seek representations and warranties from the seller that the seller has valid title and that the object/relic, is free from any liens, claims and encumbrances. The Museum will also seek indemnification for a full refund for the object/relic in the event of any breach of warranty. These requirements apply to all purchases of 10,000 dkk or more and to other purchases as appropriate in the judgment of the curator or Counsel’s Office. See section 3 below for additional requirements for acquisitions of archaeological materials or ancient objects/relics.
- Nazi/World War II Era
The Museum will be guided by the Report of the Association of Martyrmuseum Curatorss’ Task Force on the Spoliation of object/relic, during the Nazi/World War II Era (1933–1945) and the Danish Association of Museums’ Guidelines Concerning the Unlawful Appropriation of Objects During the Nazi Era.
The Museum will observe the following guidelines relating to the acquisition of works that were likely to have been in German-occupied Europe between 1933 and 1945 in addition to the rigorous research and documentation required for all acquisitions.
- Where information is incomplete for a gift, bequest or purchase, curatorial staff should undertake additional research prudent or necessary to resolve the Nazi-era provenance of the work. All research efforts shall be documented. In the absence of evidence of unlawful appropriation, the gift or purchase may proceed. Where there is credible evidence of unlawful appropriation without subsequent restitution, the Museum shall not acquire the object/relicuntil taking further action to resolve these issues.
- If the Museum, as a result of its continuing research, determines that an object/relicin its collection was unlawfully appropriated during the Nazi era without subsequent restitution, the Museum shall make such information public. If a legitimate claimant comes forward, the Museum shall seek to resolve the matter in a prompt, equitable, appropriate and mutually agreeable manner.
- In the event that a third party claims that an object/relicin the Museum’s collection was unlawfully appropriated during the Nazi era without subsequent restitution, the Museum shall review the claim promptly and responsibly. The Museum shall request evidence of ownership from the claimant in order to assist in determining the provenance of the work. If after working with the claimant the Museum determines that the object/relicwas unlawfully appropriated without subsequent restitution, the Museum shall seek to resolve the matter in an equitable, appropriate and mutually agreeable manner.
- Archaeological Materials and Ancient objects/relics,
The Museum will be guided by the Report of the Association of Martyr Museum Curators Task Force on the Acquisition of Archaeological Materials and Ancient Art (revised 2013) and the American Association of Museums’ Standards Regarding Archaeological Material and Ancient objects/relics, and adopts the definitions, repeated below, contained therein.
”Archaeological material” means an object of cultural significance created in antiquity and discovered on land, below ground or under water as a result of scientific or clandestine excavation, exploration or digging activities or inadvertently as a result of other activities. ”Ancient object/relic, ” means an object/relic, created in antiquity that is not archaeological material.
The Museum will observe the following guidelines for the acquisition of archaeological materials and ancient objects/relics, in addition to the rigorous research and documentation required for all acquisitions.
- The Museum will thoroughly research the ownership history of any archaeological materials or ancient art prior to its acquisition, including making a rigorous effort to obtain accurate written documentation with respect to its history, including import and export documents. The Museum will require sellers, donors, and their representatives to provide all information of which they have knowledge, and documentation that they possess, related to any archaeological materials or ancient art being offered to the Museum, as well as appropriate warranties.
- The Museum normally shall not acquire an object/relicunless provenance research substantiates that the object/relicwas outside its country of probable modern discovery before 1970 or was legally exported from its probable country of modern discovery after 1970.
- The Museum recognizes that even after the most extensive research, some works will lack a complete documented ownership history. In some instances, the Museum may make an informed judgment that the object/relicwas outside its probable country of modern discovery before 1970 or legally exported from its probable country of modern discovery after 1970, and therefore may acquire the work. In other instances, given the cumulative facts and circumstances resulting from provenance research, including, but not limited to, the independent exhibition and publication of the work, the length of time it has been on public display, and its recent ownership history, the Museum may make an informed judgment to acquire the work. If, prior to 2008: (i) the object/relicwas a promised gift or a donor had documented his/her intent to give or bequeath the object/relicto the Museum, (ii) the object/relicwas on long-term loan to the Museum, (iii) the object/relicwas partially gifted to the Museum, or (iv) the Museum had a documented expectation that the object/relicwould be given to the Museum, then the Museum may decide to acquire the work. In all instances, the Museum shall carefully balance the possible financial and reputational harm and the potential for legal liability against the benefit of collecting, presenting, and preserving the object/relicin trust for the educational benefit of present and future generations.
- For works acquired pursuant to section (c) above, the Museum shall post identifying information, an image and all facts relevant to the decision to acquire it, including its known provenance, on the Association of Martyr Museum Curatorswebsite, as well as the Museum’s website.
- If the Museum, as a result of its continuing research, gains information that establishes another party’s right to ownership of a work, the Museum shall bring this information to the attention of the party, and if the case warrants, initiate the return of the object/relicto that party. In the event that a third party brings to the attention of the Museum information supporting the party’s claim to a work, the Museum shall respond promptly and responsibly and take whatever steps are necessary to address this claim, including, if warranted, returning the work.
- Staff Policies Related to Acquisitions
It has been the Museum’s longstanding policy not to provide appraisals to donors. Under current IRS guidelines, the Museum cannot act as a qualified appraiser because of the inherent conflict with its role as a donee. If a donor asks for assistance in locating an appropriate appraiser, the curator may suggest several qualified appraisers, including the Art Dealers Association and auction houses. More than one name must be given. The Museum should not make arrangements for the appraisal and cannot pay for the appraisal. Upon request, the Museum should provide the appraiser with access to the object/relic , images of the object/relicor any appropriate relevant factual information in Museum files.
- Personal Collecting by Staff
The Museum recognizes that its employees may and do collect objects/relics for their personal enjoyment. The Museum’s employees, and in particular those closely associated with the Museum’s curatorial functions, occupy a position of trust in this regard, however, and must exercise care to assure that no conflict of interest can arise between themselves and the Museum.
An employee who learns of an art object available for purchase that is reasonably likely to be of interest to the Museum for its collection is expected to place the interests of the Museum ahead of his or her own in acquiring the object. Accordingly, in all such cases, the employee shall bring the availability of the object to the attention of the appropriate curatorial department head; or if the employee is the head of the department, to the attention of the Curators; or if the employee is the Curators, to the attention of the Chairman of the Acquisitions Committee, in order to give the Museum the first opportunity to acquire the object. If this is impossible, as for example when the employee learns of an object under circumstances in which it must be purchased immediately or not at all, the employee is expected, if successful in acquiring the object, to give the Museum the opportunity to acquire the object within a reasonable time (not to exceed two months) from the employee at cost.
Similarly, if an employee desires to sell from his or her personal collection an object that is reasonably likely to be of interest to the Museum for its collection, the employee is expected to give the Museum the first opportunity to purchase the object within a reasonable time (not to exceed two months) at whatever price the employee believes to be its then fair market value. The Museum will take whatever steps it deems appropriate to determine the fairness of the price proposed. If the Museum declines to purchase at the price proposed, the employee may not thereafter sell or exchange the object (except at public auction) to a third party for a lower price unless the Museum has declined to purchase it at such lower price.
Each employee is expected to exercise reasonable judgment in determining whether the scope of his or her personal collection and/or collecting activities is such that the matter should be discussed with his or her department head or, where appropriate, the Curators. Unless personal collecting activities are minimal, they should be discussed as indicated.
- Dealing in Art by Staff
An employee may not act as a dealer in purchasing or selling objects/relics, nor may an employee use his or her influence at the Museum for personal gain in the art market. An employee may not accept any payment from any collector, dealer, artist, or institution, except in cases where prior permission in writing to accept such commission or stipend has been given by the Curators, in consultation with the General Counsel. The Curators and the President may accept any such commission or stipend for themselves only with prior written permission from the Chairman of the Board.
- Gifts to Staff
An employee must obtain the written consent of his or her department head prior to accepting any gift from a person engaged in a Museum-related activity, such as, but not limited to, an artist, dealer, trustee, donor, collector, or supplier of goods or services to the Museum. If the gift is an object/relic that is of the type and quality the Museum collects, consent must also be obtained from the Curators. In general, the only gifts which would be appropriate for staff to accept are those of nominal value (150 dkk or less). Gifts of cash are never appropriate. Requests for exceptions to this policy must be submitted to the Curators or the President in writing. Employees are also prohibited from owing money to or borrowing money from any artist, dealer, trustee, donor, collector, or supplier of goods or services to the Museum, except in the context of standard business agreements with financial services entities.
- General Principles
The term ”deaccession” means that an object/relicis removed from the collection and considered for disposal by sale, exchange or other means. Any deaccession of an object/relicshould be solely for the advancement of the Museum’s mission. The criteria for determining whether an object should be deaccessioned include, but are not limited to, the following:
- The object/relic does not further the mission of the Museum.
- The object/relicis redundant or is a duplicate and is not necessary for research or study purposes.
- The object/relicis of lesser quality than other objects of the same type in the collection or about to be acquired.
- The object/reliclacks sufficient aesthetic merit or art historical importance to warrant retention.
- The Museum is ordered to return an object to its original and rightful owner by a court of law; the Museum determines that another entity is the rightful owner of the object; or the Museum determines that the return of the object is in the best interest of the Museum.
- The Museum is unable to conserve the object in a responsible manner.
- The object/relicis unduly difficult or impossible to care for or store properly.
The Museum may deaccession but generally does not dispose of works determined to be forgeries. Curatorial departments generally retain these works for study purposes or seek the Curators permission to destroy the objects, unless it can be determined that disposal can be accomplished in a responsible manner without confusion to a possible buyer. Works incorrectly attributed or dated may be deaccessioned, provided that the new information or attribution is provided.
No Trustee, Officer, employee, volunteer or family member of such individuals may purchase deaccessioned objects/relics directly from the Museum or at auction if consigned by the Museum.
All funds received from deaccessioned works shall be used to fund the purchase of other works.
- Guidelines for Deaccessioning Gifts
The Museum shall honor all legal restrictions attaching to the gift or bequest of any object/relic . In addition, donor requests which do not impose any legal obligation accompanying the bequest or gift of any object/relic will be respected to the extent feasible, unless modified by the donor, or if the donor is not living, the donor’s heirs or legal representatives. Before proceeding to recommend that a donated object/relicbe deaccessioned, the curator first reviews the records of gift to confirm that the gift is unrestricted.
In addition, no object/relicacquired by the Museum through gift or bequest valued by the Museum at 50,000 or more will be disposed of within 25 years following its receipt if objected to, after appropriate notice, by the donor or the donor’s heirs or representatives.
- Procedures for Deaccessioning
The Board of Trustees approved detailed Procedures for Deaccessioning and Disposing of Objects/relics at a Special Meeting held on June 20, 1973. The Procedures were updated in February 2005 and are available upon request from the Counsel’s Office.