Collections Guidelines

Champs Case

 

1.1 Mission Statement and History
The mission of the Beaumier Heritage Center (BHC) at Northern Michigan University (NMU) is to preserve and present the material and social history of the Upper Peninsula. This will be done with a particular focus on ethnic cultures, immigration, religion, industry and folklore.

To accomplish this mission the BHC will:

  • Collect and preserve artifacts that are significant in the history of the Upper Peninsula and NMU.
  • Produce exhibits and public outreach programs related to telling the story of the Upper Peninsula’s cultural groups and individuals who had a significant role in the region’s history.
  • Provide a research and teaching resource for both NMU and the larger community.
  • Engage members of the NMU community in Museum activities.

The BHC was founded on the campus of NMU with an endowment from Dr. John Beaumier, an alumnus of the University. The intention was to create a history museum on campus to tell the story of the Upper Peninsula’s residents specifically by looking at the diversity of its culture; its ethnic, social and religious heritage. In 2006 the first gallery of the museum was opened in the Superior Dome on campus. In addition to this display, the BHC manages historical displays throughout the campus community on the history of the Upper Peninsula and NMU.

1.2 The Permanent Collections
BHC’s permanent collections are divided into three main components:

  • The Upper Peninsula Collection consists of material culture artifacts relating to the ethnic, religious and social diversity of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
  • Individual Collections consist of various three-dimensional artifacts related to the lives of important historical figures from the Upper Peninsula’s past.
  • University Artifacts consist of three-dimensional artifacts relating to the history of NMU.

1.3 NMU Museum Code of Ethics
BHC staff members abide by the guidelines set forth in the NMU Administrative Policy Manual (http://www.nmu.edu/humanres/AdminPoliciesMan) and adhere to the requirements designated for all staff members. However, this general document does not cover many areas of concern to professional museum staff and the code of ethics outlined below applies not only to staff, but also to volunteers, members of the Advisory Board and its associated committees.

All of the above parties are guided by the following principles:

  • Staff members owe their first professional loyalty to the BHC and NMU and should fully and conscientiously fulfill the responsibilities of their employment.
  • Staff members should avoid conflict of interest as described in the following code, and should discuss any potential conflicts with the Director.
  • Staff members should not use their position at the BHC for personal gain.
  • Staff members should maintain the good name of the BHC throughout the community and not misuse its name, reputation, property or services.
  • A staff member may not intentionally do anything through family or friends that s/he may not do directly under these guidelines.

PART I. Personal Ethics
A. Staff
1. Conflict of Interest
All BHC staff members abide by NMU Administrative Policy Manual.
2. Gifts and Gratuities
All BHC staff members abide by "Accepting Gratuities" in the NMU Administrative Policies Manual.
3. Responsibility to Museum Property, Real and Intangible
No staff member should use, away from Museum premises or for personal gain, any object or item that is a part of the Museum's collection or under guardianship of the Museum, or use any other property, supplies or resources of the Museum except for the official business of the Museum. The name and reputation of this Museum are valuable assets and should not be exploited either for personal advantage or the advantage of any other person or entity. Information about the administrative or non-scholarly activities of the Museum that staff may acquire in the course of their duties which is not generally known or available to the public must be treated as information proprietary to the Museum. Such information should not be used for personal advantage or for any other purposes. Staff members are responsible for maintaining the security of confidential record and information, and the privacy of individuals or groups who support the Museum. NMU employees and visitors may frequently request information on outside suppliers to the Museum, relying on the professional expertise of the staff. Museum staff should be circumspect in referring members of the public to outside vendors. More than a single qualified source (and three if possible) should be named in order to avoid the appearance of personal favoritism in referrals.
4. Outside Employment or Volunteer Activities
All BHC staff members abide by the conduct outlined for faculty members in “Employees Serving on Outside Boards, Councils, Commissions, etc. Unrelated to employment of the NMU Administrative Policies Manual.
5. Personal Collecting by Staff
The acquiring, collecting and owning of objects by Museum staff and the Advisory Board is not in itself unethical, and can enhance professional knowledge. However, the acquisition, maintenance and management of a personal collection by a Museum staff member can create a conflict of interest. No Museum staff member may compete with this institution in any personal collecting activity. No Museum staff member may use his/her museum affiliation to promote his/her or an associate's personal collecting activities. No staff member may participate in dealing (buying or selling for profit as distinguished from occasional sale or exchange from a personal collection) objects similar or related to the objects collected by the Museum.
B. Volunteers and Advisory Board Members
Volunteers play an active and important role in the operations of the BHC. It is incumbent on the paid staff to be supportive of volunteers, receive them as fellow workers, and willingly provide them with appropriate training and opportunity for their intellectual enrichment. Volunteers have a responsibility to the Museum as well, especially those with access to the museum's collections, programs and privileged information. Access to the Museum's internal activities is a privilege and the lack of material compensation for effort expended on behalf of the Museum in no way frees the volunteer from adherence to the standards that apply to staff. Volunteers must work toward the betterment of the institution and not for personal gain other than the natural gratification and enrichment inherent in museum participation. Conflict of interest restrictions and gift policies applying to the paid staff of the museum must be explained to volunteers and be observed by them. Volunteers must respect the confidentiality of any proprietary information to which their volunteer activities give them access. Although the Museum provides special privileges and benefits to its volunteers, volunteers should not accept gifts, favors, discounts, meals, loans or other gratuities of value from other parties in connection with carrying out duties for the Museum.

Board and Committee Members, like paid staff and volunteers, have a responsibility to the Museum as well, especially those with access to the museum's collections, personnel, financial or any other confidential information. Access to the Museum's internal activities is a privilege and the lack of material compensation for effort expended on behalf of the Museum in no way frees board members from adherence to the standards that apply to paid staff. Board members must work toward the betterment of the institution and not for personal gain other than the natural gratification and enrichment inherent in museum participation. Conflict of interest restrictions and gift policies applying to the paid staff of the museum must be explained to Board members and observed by them. Full and timely disclosure and discussion of all conflicts of interest with the Director is essential. It is the responsibility of a Board member to notify the Director of any conflict. Board members should not accept gifts, favors, discounts, loans, meals or other gratuities of value from other parties in connection with carrying out duties for the BHC.

PART II. Museum Management Guidelines
1. Personnel Practices and Equal Opportunity
All BHC staff members abide by the personnel practices outlined in the NMU Administrative Policies and Procedure Manual. All staff members will adhere to the NMU Non-Discrimination Policies (http://www.nmu.edu/AAEO/).
2. Ownership of Scholarly Material
All BHC staff members, volunteers and Board members abide by the personnel practices outlined in "Intellectual Property" NMU Administrative Policies and Procedure Manual (http://www.nmu.edu/humanres/AdminPoliciesMan/ IntellectualProperty.htm)
3. Fundraising Practices
The BHC staff adheres to the guidelines found in "Fundraising and Soliciting Gifts" NMU Administrative Policies and Procedure Manual (http://www.nmu.edu/humanres/ AdminPoliciesMan/FundRaisingAndSolicitingGifts.htm)
4. Museum Shop and Other Commercial Activities
The Museum Shop and other commercial activities of the Museum, as well as publicity relating to them, should be in keeping with the Museum's mission, should be relevant to the collections and the basic educational purposes of the Museum, as determined by the Director, and must not compromise the quality of the collections. In arranging for the manufacture and sale of replicas, reproductions, or other commercial items adapted from an object in the Museum's collection, all aspects of the commercial venture must be carried out in a manner that will not discredit either the integrity of the Museum or the intrinsic value of the original object. Great care must be taken to permanently identify such objects as reproductions and to ensure the accuracy and high quality of the manufacturer.

PART III. The Collections
1. Management, Maintenance and Conservation
Museums generally derive their mission from their collections, and these holdings constitute the
primary difference between museums and other kinds of institutions. A museum's obligation to its collection is paramount. Each object is an integral part of a cultural or scientific composite. That context also includes a body of information about that object which establishes its proper place and importance and without which the value of the object is diminished. The maintenance of this information in an orderly and retrievable form is critical to the integrity of the collection and is a central obligation of those charged with collection management. An ethical duty of a museum is to transfer to its successors, when possible in enhanced form, the material record of human culture. They must be in control of their collections and know the location and condition of the objects they hold. Procedures must be maintained for the periodic evaluation of the condition of the collections and for their general and special maintenance.

In keeping with the Museum's responsibility to provide continuous curatorial and protective care
for its collections, it must endeavor to protect such collections from potential damage from the
effects of smoke, beverage, or food service around exposed collections, or the dangers of
inappropriate building environmental conditions. The physical care of the collection and its
accessibility must be in keeping with professionally accepted standards. Where gross deficiencies exist, a decision may be made by the Museum management to dispose of the collection, preferably to another comparable institution.

2. Interpreting the Collections
It is the responsibility of museum professionals to use museum collections for the creation and
dissemination of knowledge. Intellectual honesty, balanced arguments, and objectivity in the
presentation of objects is the duty of every museum professional. The stated origin of the objects
or attribution of work must reflect the thorough and honest investigation of the curator and must
yield promptly to change with the advent of new facts or analysis. Museums may address a wide
variety of social, scientific, artistic or political issues. Any can be appropriate, if approached
objectively and without prejudice. Museum professionals must use their best efforts to ensure that exhibits are honest expressions and do not perpetuate myths or stereotypes. Exhibits must provide, with candor and tact, an honest and meaningful view of the subject. Sensitive areas such as ethnic and social history are of most critical concern. The research and preparation of an exhibition will often lead the professional to develop a point of view or interpretive sense of the material. That individual must clearly understand the point where sound professional judgment ends and personal bias begins. S/he must be content that, as far as possible, the resultant presentation is the product of objective judgment.

2.1 Acquisition
All acquisitions are made by the NMU for the educational, scientific, and research purposes of BHC. In addition to the policies set forth here, acquisitions are subject to NMU’s Administrative Procedures Policies regarding purchasing.

2.2 Collecting Goals
The overall direction and goals of collecting activities are governed by the mission of BHC.

  • The Upper Peninsula Collection seeks to acquire material culture and three-dimensional artifacts relating to the history of the Upper Peninsula’s citizens from the pre-historic period through the 20th Century, with a particular focus on the ethnic cultures and immigration history of the Upper Peninsula.
  • The Individual Collections seeks to acquire artifacts related to the lives and work of significant individuals who shaped the political, artistic, cultural and social nature of the Upper Peninsula. These are generally intact collections donated during a defined period and cataloged as a whole.
  • The collecting goals of the NMU Collection are to acquire three-dimensional artifacts relating to the history of NMU.

2.3 Collection Categories
Two categories of collections are held by the Museum:

  • The Permanent Collections (Category I) contain those objects which directly support the mission of the Museum and help to achieve its primary collecting goals, as outlined above.
  • The Education Collections (Category II) contain supplemental materials which augment the Permanent Collections and are used for exhibitions, public programming and hands-on activities.

The Museum does not maintain the archives of NMU, nor does it collect the papers or manuscripts of citizens, professors, faculty, or staff unless they have first been offered to the NMU Archives and then only if the material meets the Museum's requirements for acquisition. If a donated collection to the BHC contains documentary artifacts, including photographs, documents, maps, etc, these items are to be transferred to the University Archives for cataloging or disposition.

2.4 Acquisition Decisions
Decisions as to the appropriateness of proposed acquisitions are made by the Director/Curator of the BHC. An acquisition recommendation can be made by staff members, board members and volunteers of the BHC. Objects may be acquired from academic and administrative offices within NMU, private individuals, or non-NMU related organizations in the form of bequests, exchanges with other repositories, gifts, purchases, and transfers of NMU property.

With regards to the donation of artifacts that are of a sensitive nature, have a large monetary value or are very large in a physical nature, the Director/Curator will confer with the NMU Administration through the proper command structure to gain permission to accept the proposed donation.

The Museum will not directly or indirectly acquire objects that have an unethical history of ownership. The Museum adheres to the ethical standards of the Association of American Museums and the Native American Grave and Repatriation Act passed by the U.S. Congress and will not knowingly acquire or exhibit artifacts which have been stolen, illegally removed from their country of origin, illegally salvaged, or removed from commercially exploited archaeological or historic sites.

The Museum does not accept acquisitions on which restrictions or special conditions, other than donor recognition, have been placed. Exceptions to this policy must be considered by the Collections Committee and approved by the Director. Partial title will be accepted only under conditions pre-approved by the Director.

Due to limited exhibition space and periodically changing exhibitions, no commitments shall be made to exhibit objects acquired for the collections in the Museum's galleries for any duration of time as a condition of acquisition.

2.5 Acquisition Criteria
Potential acquisitions must meet three basic criteria:

  • Relevance: the object must support the Museum's mission and fit within its stated collecting goals.
  • Use: the object must have the capacity for use in exhibitions and/or for research and scholarly purposes.
  • Condition: the object must be in reasonable condition and must not require significant expense for treatment in order to make it relevant or useful unless such funds are pledged in writing by a donor.

In addition, the following questions must be considered when evaluating a potential acquisition. If the answer to any one of these questions casts doubt on the ability of the Museum to properly care for or manage the object, serious thought should be given to declining the acquisition.

  • Is the source the rightful owner of the object and are there any conflicts regarding property rights or legal title?
  • Has the source requested that any restrictions or special conditions be placed on the acquisition? If so, is their acceptance justifiable given Museum policy?
  • Are there any constraints in terms of intellectual property rights? Will all intellectual property rights be turned over to NMU? If the source is not the copyright holder, has the holder been identified and can copyright be transferred to the Institute or a licensing arrangement made?
  • Has the provenance of the object been properly documented? Are there any concerns as to the authenticity of the object or its provenance?
  • Does the object unnecessarily duplicate another object already in the collections?
  • Does the Museum have the ability and intention to use and care for the object? Is appropriate storage space available? Are additional funds beyond the scope of the general collections budget necessary to make the object accessible? If the answer to any of these questions is no, the Museum should explore with the prospective donor the possibility of his/her establishing an endowment to support the extraordinary costs of care, storage, and/or access.
  • Are there any safety concerns related to the object which might demand special handling, display, and/or insurance requirements?
  • If the object is being purchased, is the price fair and reasonable? Could the object or its equivalent be acquired by gift or bequest rather than purchase?

 

2.6 Gifts
For all gifts, a Deed of Gift agreement must be signed by the donor or the donor's authorized representative at the time of donation. Objects will not be re-housed, preserved, cataloged, or made available for use by researchers until a Deed of Gift has been executed. The Museum does not accept donations in which legal title is not transferred to NMU. If a donor wishes to retain title to an object, the object shall be considered an adjunct to the Permanent Collections and processed as an extended loan. In this case, it is understood by the Museum that the donor's intent is to turn all rights and title in the object over to NMU at some future point and an agreement to this end must be entered into prior to acceptance of the loan.

Gifts to BHC are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law. If a donor wishes to take a charitable deduction, it is their responsibility to initiate IRS Form 8283 for Non-cash Charitable Contributions. The NMU is responsible only for certifying receipt of the gift and is not allowed to establish any valuations, nor provide any recommendations as to appraisers. Under no circumstances will Museum staff appraise donations or make arrangements for an appraisal on the donor's behalf.

Unsolicited objects offered as potential acquisitions for the Museum's collections are considered to be in the temporary custody of the Museum. If the acquisition of an unsolicited object is approved, the object will be formally accessioned into the collections and the Temporary Custody Receipt will be retained in the object's accession file. Unwanted, unsolicited objects will be returned to the source, if the source is known. If the source is not known, Museum staff will attempt to locate an appropriate repository for the object and if unsuccessful, the object may be disposed of by witnessed destruction.

2.7 Bequests
Bequests will be considered for acquisition in the same manner as gifts. BHC reserves the right to refuse bequeathed objects that do not meet its criteria for acquisition, or it may choose to accept only a portion of the bequest. For all bequests, copies of the will including all codicils shall be retained for the object's Accession File.

2.8 Exchanges
Exchanges are treated as two separate collections management actions. Incoming objects will be considered for acquisition in the same manner as other acquisitions and must be approved before the exchange takes place. Title transfer documentation appropriate to the type of acquisition will be retained in the object's Accession File. Outgoing objects must be deaccessioned in accordance with Museum policy. Deaccession Recommendation and Deaccession Action forms will be retained in the object's Accession File.

2.9 Purchases
BHC maintains an acquisition fund, under the supervision of the Director, which is used towards the purchase of objects for the collections and for the direct care of collections, which is defined as the conservation of collections objects or the improvement of collections storage facilities. Objects purchased with funds from the sale of donated objects will be credited to the original donor. The bill of sale or signed Receipt of Purchase will be retained in the object's Accession File.

2.10 Transfers of Institute Property
A transfer of NMU property will be considered for acquisition in the same manner as other acquisitions and in accordance with NMU’s Administrative Procedures Policies regarding purchasing. Once an object has been transferred to the Museum, it cannot be returned or lent to the transferring office except in accordance with the Museum's policies. The Museum does not provide storage space, either temporary or long-term, for objects owned by other academic or administrative offices that have not been acquired for the collections.

A Receipt for the Transfer of Institute Property will be issued for all transfers and retained in the object's Accession File. The Collections Manager will provide a report on acquisitions to the collections at the close of the fiscal year.

2.11 Appraisals
Donations are tax deductible to the extent of the law; however the Museum cannot appraise items for a private owner. Donors, therefore, are expected to get independent appraisals for the objects they are donating prior to making the donation.

2.12 Availability of Collections
Although the public must have reasonable access to the collections on a nondiscriminatory basis, the museum assumes as a primary responsibility the safeguarding of their materials and therefore may regulate access to them. The judgment and recommendation of professional staff members regarding the use of the collections must be given utmost consideration. In formulating their recommendations, staff should let their judgment be guided by three primary objectives: the continued physical integrity and safety of the object or collection, scholarly or study purposes, and public access/education.
In addition, the BHC Collections Management Policy states the following regarding general and specific collections:

  • Unprocessed collections and objects removed for retrospective cataloging, conservation, exhibition or loan purposes will not be made available to researchers.
  • In accordance with the policies of NMU Alumni/ae Association, the Museum will not give the address, phone number, or any other contact information of living alumni/ae.
  • Researchers wishing to contact living alumni/ae will be referred to the Association, who will initiate contact on the patron's

3.1 Deaccession
Acquisitions are made with the intention of building the Museum's collections and preserving them for future use in exhibitions and for historical research. Objects accessioned into the collections will be permanently retained provided they continue to support the mission of the Museum. However, the Museum may choose to deaccession, or remove from the collections, any object which it legally owns that, upon examination, is deemed to be inappropriate for further retention.
Once an object has been accessioned into either the Permanent Collections or the Research Collections, it can only be removed through completion of the deaccession process. The act of deaccessioning presupposes that the object has been formally accessioned into one of the Museum's collections. The same degree of careful examination shall go into making decisions regarding the deaccessioning of objects as is given to the evaluation of potential acquisitions.

3.2 Deaccession Decisions
Decisions as to the appropriateness of proposed deaccessions are made as follows:
For objects from the Permanent Collections (Category I), a recommendation is made by BHC’s Collections Committee, operating in accordance with its Bylaws, to the Director, who, taking into account the Committee's recommendation, makes the final decision as to whether the object should or should not be removed from the collections.

For objects from the Research Collections (Category II), a deaccession recommendation is made by the appropriate curator to the Director, who makes the final deaccession decision.

3.3 Deaccession Criteria
To be considered for deaccessioning, an object must meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • Relevance: inclusion of the object in the collections does not support the Museum's mission or fit within its stated collecting goals.
  • Condition: the object has deteriorated or been damaged beyond repair or poses a health hazard.
  • Care of the Object: the Museum is not able to provide proper care for special preservation
  • requirements associated with the object.
  • Duplication: the object is an exact duplicate or unnecessarily duplicates the subject matter or relevance of another object.
  • Authenticity: the object is found to be falsely attributed or documented, or proved to be a fake or forgery.
  • Quality of the Collection: deaccessioning of the object will improve or strengthen another area of the collections and, in so doing, further the goals of the Museum. In this case, great care must be taken to ensure that an object in one area of the collection is not disposed of purely for the sake of acquiring an object in another area.

No action pertaining to the deaccessioning or disposition of an object will be undertaken that would impair the integrity and good standing of the NMU or BHC within the community at large or within the museum profession.

3.4 Disposition of Deaccessioned Objects
Disposition of deaccessioned objects will be carried out in accordance with any local, state, and federal regulations and legal requirements, and in accordance with the policies of the NMU. NMU employees, officers, members of the BHC Advisory Board and Collections Committee, and their immediate family members may not purchase or otherwise benefit from the disposition of a deaccessioned object. When deemed necessary by the Director, an outside appraisal or qualified consultation shall be obtained to assist in determining the appropriate disposition method. Any disposition restrictions placed on an object by a donor will be strictly observed. If the object was a gift or bequest, donors or their heirs will be notified, when possible, of the Museum's intention to deaccession the object. Such notification is carried out as a courtesy and does not constitute a request for permission to dispose of the object, nor shall a donor be given preferential treatment in reacquiring the object.

The method of disposition must be approved by the Director and documented on a Disposition Action Record. Disposition of approved deaccessions shall take place in a timely fashion. In determining the appropriate method of disposition, consideration should be given to the best interests of the Museum, the public and scholarly communities it serves, and the public trust it represents. Appropriate methods of disposition are:

  • Donation: the object may be donated to another repository or educational organization.
  • Institute Transfer: the object may be transferred to the custody of another academic or administrative office at NMU.
  • Exchange: the object can be exchanged with another repository, educational organization, or academic or administrative office at NMU in return for an object of equal or greater value.
  • Sale: the object may be sold at public auction or sold privately to another educational organization.
  • Destruction: if an object has deteriorated or been damaged beyond repair, poses a health hazard, is determined to be a fake or forgery, or holds neither intrinsic nor monetary value, it may be deliberately destroyed.

The Museum will place all net proceeds (all proceeds less out-of-pocket expenses) from the sale of deaccessioned objects into its acquisition fund. This restricted fund will be used solely for the acquisition of objects for the Museum's collections or for the direct care of collections, which is defined as the conservation of collections objects or the improvement of collections storage facilities. The original donor will be given credit for acquisitions made with the proceeds from the sale of the deaccessioned object.

A Deaccession Recommendation and Disposition Action Record will be completed for all deaccessions and retained permanently in the object's Accession File. The Collections Manager will provide a report on deaccession actions at the close of the fiscal year.

4.1 Loans
BHC makes loans of objects from its collections to qualified borrowers, and may request loans from other organizations or individuals, for exhibition purposes. Documentation of loans is maintained in the object's Loan File. The Collections Manager will provide a report on all loans to and from the Museum at the close of the fiscal year.

4.2 Outgoing Loans
Requests for loans from the Museum's collections will be evaluated according to the following criteria:

  • The object is not judged to be too fragile to withstand the associated handling, shipping and changes in climate.
  • Conditions during the loan period will not endanger the object.
  • The object is not needed during the requested loan period by BHC staff.
  • Loans from the collections are made at the discretion of the appropriate curator, with final approval from the Director.
  • Loans are not made for personal use or for commercial purposes.
  • The Museum will not consider requests for loans of original documentary photographs unless the borrower can show a need to exhibit the original object.
  • The Museum does not make indefinite or permanent loans. The duration of a loan must be specified on the Loan Agreement and cannot exceed three years.
  • Requests for loan extensions are evaluated by the appropriate curator and approved by the Director. If granted, loan extensions must also be for a specified period of time, not exceeding three years.
  • Requests for outgoing loans must be made in writing to the appropriate curator and the borrower must include a current facilities report with the request.
  • Non-museum educational organizations must certify to BHC that they are able to provide professional, museum-quality care for loaned objects before an outgoing loan will be approved.
  • All outgoing loans are subject to the conditions set forth on the reverse of the Outgoing Loan Agreement, which must be signed by the borrower prior to shipment of the object. Any special conditions, requests, or restrictions must be discussed with Museum staff in advance and documented on the Loan Agreement.
  • The Museum charges a loan fee of $50 per item for all outgoing loans. In addition, the borrower is responsible for any appraisal, conservation, packing, shipping, handling, and insurance costs associated with the loan.
  • Unframed works on paper will be matted and framed by Museum staff at the borrower's expense. Mats and frames remain the property of the BHC.
  • If an outgoing loan is insured by the borrower, a certificate of insurance must be issued to BHC prior to shipment of the object. If the borrower requests that BHC maintain its own insurance on the object for the duration of the loan, it will be done at the borrower's expense.
  • Appraisal values for insurance purposes will be based on the fair market value of the object as determined by the Museum's curatorial staff. If Museum staff cannot provide an accurate valuation or if the period of the loan is greater than one year, a professional outside appraisal may be required at the borrower's expense.

4.3 Campus Loans
At this time, loans are not made to members of the NMU community for decorative purposes. However, certain objects from the Museum's collections are currently and have been for many years on display in offices on the NMU campus. These objects are considered to be on special loan and may be removed at any time at the discretion of the Director. They may not be moved or re-loaned without permission from the Museum, and it is the responsibility of the borrowing office to immediately report any damage to or change in the condition of the object to the Museum.

Except as outlined below, the Museum does not make loans of collections materials to individuals or University offices for research purposes or for use in publications. Individuals wishing to access biographical or subject files must come to the Museum to conduct research. Patrons in need of photographic materials may have reproductions made at their expense. Special loan requests will not normally be considered; however, any such exceptions must be approved by the Director.
In recognition of time constraints governing the operation of NMU’s Marketing Office, approved staff may borrow files and photographs when these materials are needed to write a news story and it is not possible for research to be done at the Museum or for reproductions to be ordered. All Museum photographs published must be accompanied by the credit line, "Courtesy of the BHC, NMU." While in the custody of the Marketing Department, materials from the Museum's collections may not be available to other offices or individuals. All materials borrowed from the Museum must be picked up and returned by hand.

4.4 Incoming Loans
Requests for loans to the Museum are made by the appropriate curator and are reviewed with consideration of the object's provenance, its condition, the clarity of rights and title, the presence of lender imposed restrictions, and the associated costs of the loan.

BHC does not accept incoming loans offered for the purposes of commercial exploitation of the object or to increase the value of the object when sold, nor does it provide long- or short- term storage services. The Museum adheres to the ethnics standards put forward by the Association of American Museums, the Native American Grave and Repatriation Act and will not knowingly exhibit artifacts which have been stolen, illegally removed from their country of origin, illegally salvaged, or removed from commercially exploited archaeological or historic sites.

All incoming loans are subject to the conditions set forth on the reverse of the Incoming Loan Agreement, which must be signed by the lender prior to shipment of the object. Any special conditions, requests, or restrictions must be discussed with Museum staff in advance and documented on the Loan Agreement. Loans are made to the Museum for the period of time listed on the Incoming Loan Agreement and may not be withdrawn without adequate prior notification. All costs involved with incoming loans must be discussed in advance with Museum staff and require approval from the Director. These can include loan or rental fees, framing costs, insurance fees, and two-way shipping charges.
If requested, BHC will provide the borrower with a certificate of insurance as evidence that NMU has insurance coverage in place for the object on loan. Loans will be insured based on their fair market value as provided by the lender. It is the responsibility of the lender to inform the Museum if the stated value of the object changes during the period of the loan. The Museum will also, when requested, provide the lender with a current Facilities Report.

It is the responsibility of the lender to inform the Museum in writing if their address or ownership status changes during the loan period. The Museum will return the object to the lender listed in the Incoming Loan Agreement and will only deliver the object to another party with written authorization from the lender.

4.5 Temporary Custody
Objects may be placed in the temporary custody of the Museum, the period of which may not exceed 90 days, for the purposes of research, identification, consideration for acquisition into the collections, or evaluation for loan. Placement of an object in the temporary custody of the Museum does not constitute a transfer of legal title to the Museum. All temporary deposits are subject to the conditions set forth on the reverse of the Temporary Custody Receipt, which must be signed by the owner or owner's representative before the object is delivered to the Museum. Objects on temporary deposit will be stored properly and monitored; however, the Museum will not insure objects placed in its temporary custody, nor will it re-house, catalog, or make them available to researchers.