Statement on the Deaccessioning by the Delaware Art Museum and the Action taken by the AAM Accreditation Commission
Accreditation conferred by the American Alliance of Museums designates a museum’s credibility to donors, funders and the public. Accredited museums have a fundamental fiduciary and ethical responsibility to care for and maintain their collections and determine their disposition following national standards. The collections of accredited museums must be unencumbered and cannot be treated as disposable financial assets. As the accrediting body the AAM Accreditation Commission has a responsibility to take action when violations to standards occur.
On June 17, 2014, the AAM Accreditation Commission unanimously voted to remove the Delaware Art Museum’s accredited status in response to the board’s decision of March 26, 2014, to deaccession and to sell works from the collections for purposes other than acquisitions or direct care of collections. The action of the Delaware Art Museum is in direct violation of museum standards and ethics.
The American Alliance of Museums Code of Ethics for Museums says, “disposal of collections through sale, trade or research activities is solely for the advancement of the museum's mission. Proceeds from the sale of nonliving collections are to be used in a manner consistent with the established standards of the museum's discipline, but in no event shall they be used for anything other than acquisition or direct care of collections.”
The Accreditation Commission is the appointed seven-member body of museum professionals responsible for making independent decisions regarding AAM accreditation.