Monday, February 10, 2014

Scary and entirely unethical

This sort of behavior will frighten potential donors and jeopardize future acquisitions. The term "Museum" carries meaning, ethical considerations, and legal obligations. There are many operations that function somewhere in the shadowy interstices between true (autonomously governed, non-profit) museums/galleries and something else (a university department and collection in this instance). They typically accept gifts of art or artifacts that donors inevitably imagine are going to be subject to the fiduciary rules and ethical obligations of museums, and yet this is often not the case where donations are concernd, as these entities are typically controlled by individuals who have no professional museum training and/or no autonomy to invoke their training. And they often must answer to a supervisor in another division who has no knowledge of and/or respect for museum ethics and practices. These entities often want the cache of a museum operation to support their academic curricula, prestige and fund-raising capabilities, but rarely want to support those operations with the necessary resources and independent governance. What do our readings for this week have to say about the appropriation of monies from the sale of accessioned work(s)?

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