PIONEER AND HISTORICAL SOCIETY COLLECTIONS POLICY   
I.  PURPOSE  
In accordance with the stated purpose of the Pioneer and Historical Society of Muskingum County which is "perpetuating the history of Muskingum County, Ohio, the memory of the pioneers who settled in this section of the country, to collect a museum of articles of historical interest and to preserve these intact for future generations" the Society will maintain museums known as the Dr. Increase Mathews House Museum and the Stone Academy. This collections policy will govern the Society's handling of the collections contained in those museums.   
II.  TYPES OF ITEMS TO BE INCLUDED IN COLLECTION  
1. Items in the Society's collection may come from the following categories: Books and other printed material, fine art, folk art, clothing, manufactured goods (both commercially made and home-made), decorative art materials, and tools. All of the items will have a connection to Muskingum County and Southeastern Ohio in that they were used, made or owned by someone from this area or are examples of such items or, in the case of art and books, have Muskingum County or a Muskingum County person as a subject.  
2. The Society will also collect written materials such as diaries, journals, letters and business and legal papers which were produced by Muskingum County people or which are illustrative of life in Muskingum County.  
3. Reference books to be collected may include histories of the area, city and county directories and legal books.  
4. The items in the collection will generally come from the geographic area of Muskingum County and Southeastern Ohio and will be from the time period of the first settling of the United States up to the present time.  
5. Items not included in the above categories will be reviewed on a case by case basis and may be admitted to the collection if their inclusion will contribute to the fulfilling of the goals of the Society. The Society will not accept any donations for which adequate storage conditions do not exist at the Society's facilities. The Society will not accept a donation that is in need of repair unless it is determined that repair is feasible or that the piece is not duplicated by any other item in the collection and that, even in its state of disrepair, it will make a substantial contribution to the Society's collection. The Society will not accept any donation which may be a hazard to the museums' staff or visitors. The Society will not accept any donation if the possession of the object would violate any state or federal law. Natural history items (including biological and geological specimens) and items from foreign cultures which cannot be related to immigration into
 
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this area will be referred to institutions specializing in such collections.   
III.  METHODS OF ACQUISITION  
1. Items for the Society's collection may be obtained through donations, by purchase and through trade with other institutions. Donated items will be accepted with the understanding that all decisions regarding ultimate use or disposition of the items rests with the Society and that the donor may not place any restrictions upon them. Donations accepted by the Society should fall within the guidelines of Section II but exceptions may be made for items that possess exceptional merit or which contribute to the overall purposes of the Society. The Society will not accept an item solely for the purpose of selling the item. However, this restriction will not prohibit the Society from disposing of an item at a later date without recompense to the donor. The Society may accept a donation of a collection of items even though not all of the items fall within the collection guidelines.  
2. The Society will not provide donors with an appraisal of a donated item. All appraisals and determinations of authenticity are the responsibility of the donor. The Society will provide the donor with a written statement that the item was accepted by the Society.  
3. Expenditure of Society money to purchase objects will require prior approval of the Board of Trustees upon recommendation of the Accessions Committee.  
4. Any person offering to donate an item which had not been in his or her personal possession prior to the donation (for example, objects from an estate or from a business or organization) will be required to provide proof of ownership before the donation will be considered by the Society.  
5. Any donor of a “found” object will be informed that the Society will cooperate with any individual or law enforcement agency who claims that the object was improperly donated to the Society.  
6.  To avoid receiving stolen property, if any objects are left anonymously at either museum the Zanesville police and Muskingum County Sheriff's Department will be notified and a notice will be printed in the Society's next newsletter. If no one claims the item within six months it may be added to the collection or disposed of.  
7. The Society will have no duty to care for any unsolicited donations which are thrust upon the Society by donors acting outside the usual acquisition process.   
IV.  ACCEPTANCE OF DONATIONS  
In general, responsibility for accepting or rejecting offered items will be with the Accessions Committee. Decisions of the Accessions Committee may be overturned by a 2/3 vote of the Board of Trustees. In situations where an immediate decision is required
 
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the Museum Director may accept or reject donations.   
V.  RECORDS KEEPING  
Cataloging of new accessions will be the responsibility of the Museum Director. Cataloging will be done in accordance with the current museum practice. All accessions records will be made available to Society members at reasonable times.   
VI.  DEACCESSIONING  
1. From time to time it may be necessary to remove an item from the collection. This is done through the deaccessioning process. This can be done to dispose of duplicate items, to dispose of items which may not fit within the parameters of the collection, to dispose of items of questionable authenticity and for other reasons. All deaccessions must first be approved by a majority vote of the Accessions Committee. After the Committee has approved a deaccession it will be referred to the whole Board of Trustees where a simple majority will be needed for approval. Any Trustee or the museum director may recommend to the Accessions Committee that an item be deaccessioned.  
2. Deaccessioned items may be sold or traded to another institution or sold on the open market. No deaccessioned item may be purchased or traded by an officer of the Society, a member of the Board of Trustees, an employee of the Society or a member of their immediate family. For this section immediate family will include children, parents and spouse.  
3. All money derived from sales of deaccessioned items will be placed in the Society's Accessions and Conservation Fund and may be used to purchase items for the collection and to conserve or repair items already in the collection.  
4. Whenever possible the name of the donor of a deaccessioned item will be placed on the item purchased with the proceeds from the sale of the original item.   
VII.  LOANS  
1. Loans of items to the Society will be discouraged but the Director may accept items on loan when they posses exceptional merit and are not duplicated by items already in the collection or when they are needed to fill out a museum display. The Museum Director will complete the Society's "Certificate of Loan" for all items accepted on loan.  
2. Items from the collection may be loaned out for research purposes, to assist other institutions or for public relations purposes but under no circumstances will they be loaned for the personal use of the borrower. The Museum Director will complete the Society's loan contract for all items released on loan. 
 
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VIII. USE OF ARTIFACTS  
1. Artifacts will not be displayed, used in any manner or subject to any treatment that could hasten their deterioration. Articles of clothing may not be worn. Artifacts will not be displayed under conditions of harsh lighting or extremes of temperature or humidity. No item from the collection will be cleaned or treated in a manner that could potentially cause deterioration of the item without prior approval of the Board unless such treatment is deemed immediately necessary to prevent harm to other items in the collection (e.g.. treatment of insect infestation).    2. Any organization borrowing items from the collection will be bound to the restrictions found in Section VIII, paragraph 1.      
Originally adopted February 21, 1991 Amended by Board of Trustees April 11, 2006