Art Collections Policy

Campus Collection Policy


POL 02.40.01


Review Date: Pending Approval


  1. Policy Purpose 

The purpose of this policy is to state how the Brown University Campus Collection (Campus Collection or Collection) is added to, cataloged, cared for and deaccessioned.


  1. To Whom the Policy Applies  

This policy applies to Brown University faculty, staff, students, volunteers and any others who manage or maintain the Campus Collection.  


  1. Policy Statement

The Campus Collection serves to strengthen the creative and curricular life of the University by furthering the appreciation and enjoyment of visual arts for the Brown community. This policy governs the Brown Portrait Collection, the Gardner House and works in the Historical Properties inventory.


3.1    Accessions

Objects may be added to the Campus Collection by means of gifts, bequest, and purchase. Objects are intended to be retained for the long-term must meet the following criteria:

  • The object is consistent with the collection goals of Brown University.

  • The object presents a unique opportunity for Brown University and should be given preferential consideration.

  • Brown University has adequate facilities, staff, and funds to care for the object.

  • The object is adequately documented, and the donor/seller has clear legal title to it.

  • The object is suitable for display.

  • The object is unencumbered by restrictions, either imposed by the donor or by intellectual property rights (copyright, trademark, patent or trade secret), or by its nature is not physically hazardous, defamatory, and does not present an invasion of privacy. On all matters of collection policy, Brown University is committed to upholding the UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property (1970) and to complying with applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations, including Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (1990). 


All proposals for donations to the Campus Collection must be made to the University Curator (Curator), who will present the proposal together with a recommendation to accept or decline to the Committee on Campus Collections. Gifts or purchases accepted by the University will comply with the Gift Acceptance Policy to ensure that valid legal title is passed to the University, that proper tax forms are completed when applicable and requested by the donor, and that the records of both the University Curator and the Advancement Office acknowledge the donation by a deed of gift. 


The Curator may purchase objects on their own initiative for the Collection provided that the individual object’s purchase price is less than $5,000, and funds have been identified for purchase. While it is the University’s intention to accession objects for long-term use and preservation, no guarantee shall be made that the gift or bequest will be retained in perpetuity. 


3.1.1    Legal Restrictions to Accession 

Objects will be accessioned only when the Curator has determined to the best of their ability that they meet the criteria in Section 3.1 and have been collected, exported, and imported in full compliance with the current laws and regulations of the country or countries of origin, of the federal government of the United States, and of the individual states within the United States. 


The Campus Collection will follow the recommendations from the American Alliance of Museum (AAM) regarding the UNESCO Convention and Nazi-era provenance, European paintings and Judaica. The University Curator will participate in the Nazi-Era Provenance Internet Portal.


Should evidence be presented to the University or Curator that an object in its possession was acquired illegally, the Curator and the Campus Collections Committee will conduct an investigation into the circumstances. If justified by the results of the investigation and having obtained approval from the University Office of General Counsel, the Campus Collection will return the object to its rightful owner, to the extent that it is legally possible and practical to do so. 


3.2    Cataloguing and Care of the Collection 

All objects identified as part of the Campus Collection must be catalogued and entered into the University’s Inventory of Historic Properties database. The Curator will oversee regular inventory of the objects in the Campus Collection, whether on site or on extended loan to other institutions. For objects that are placed on public display throughout the campus the Curator will advise responsible parties concerning the maintenance and conservation of art objects. 


To maintain accountability and to provide ease of access to the Collection, the Curator will inventory Collections regularly. The goal of the inventory is to record and verify object locations, assess past and future storage usage needs and identify major conservation issues. Results of the inventories will be reconciled with the collection management system and records documentation according to inventory procedures.


3.3     Deaccessioning

Over time it may become necessary to discard some objects because of condition or sell them because they are no longer considered appropriate for use on campus. In all cases, both legal requirements and the wishes of the donor as stated in correspondence, deed of gift, or other legal document will be respected.


All recommendations for deaccessioning will be made by the Committee for Campus Collections, upon the proposal of the University Curator. If the value of the object or proceeds from the sale of the object meet or exceed $100,000 the recommendation will be forwarded to the President and the Corporation for their approval. Any proceeds realized through the sale of objects deaccessioned from the Campus Collection will be restricted to the use of new acquisitions and object conservation.

All records relating to the disposal of an object shall be retained by the University Curator. Whenever possible, objects deaccessioned from the Campus Collection will be disposed of at an appropriate non-profit institution or through public auction. For works of little to no monetary or historical value, majority vote by the Committee on Campus Collections  regarding the disposal of the object will carry, and disposal will be at the Curator’s discretion.

3.4    Risk Management and Security

Brown University maintains a standard fine arts wall-to-wall insurance policy covering its collections and, as needed, loans to the campus. Coverage is in effect on University premises, in transit and at other approved locations, unless otherwise provided in writing. Insurance coverage is negotiated by Brown University’s Department of Strategic Purchasing, Contracts and Insurance. All damage or loss must be reported to the University Curator, who will report it to Brown’s Department of Public Safety immediately. A written report will be filed with the University Curator. Photographs of any damage will be taken immediately after damage is reported.


3.5     Loans 

In general, objects in the Campus Collections will be retained for their intended purpose of furnishing the University campus. On occasion, objects from the Collections can be lent for exhibitions, and educational and scholarly purposes to institutions that can demonstrate they have the facilities and staff available to care for the object to the University Curator’s satisfaction.


All loans will be made for a specific period of time and will be documented in accordance with established registrarial methods and procedures. All loans must be contracted for by written loan agreement between the University and the borrower prior to shipment of the object. An administrative loan fee of $150.00 per object will be charged to borrowing institutions.  


Loans of collection items will not be made to individuals for personal use.  


3.6    Reproduction of Artwork and Reproduction of Artwork for Publication

Requests to reproduce Campus artwork should be referred to the Curator. The University can grant such permission only to the extent of its ownership interest in the artwork. The Curator will process reproduction contracts, which will include reproduction terms, including a Brown University credit line.


3.7    Governance

The University Curator reports to the Director of Exhibitions and Chief Curator of the Bell Gallery. Recommendations concerning the Campus Collections are made in consultation with the Committee on Campus Collections, whose members, in addition to the Curator, shall include, ex officio, the University’s General Counsel, the Executive Director of Planned Giving, the Director of Exhibitions and Chief Curator of the Bell Gallery, the Director of the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology, the Director of the Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World, the Associate University Librarian for Special Collections  and the University Librarian.


  1. Definitions

For the purpose of this policy, the terms below have the following definitions:


Campus Collection of Brown University (Campus Collection): The Campus Collection of Brown University includes those objects and architectural interiors which are deemed to have lasting cultural value to the University and which are not included in the University’s Museum, Gallery, Public Art or Library Collections. The Campus Collections are accessioned and catalogued according to AAM professional standards and subject to a high standard of ethical and conservation considerations.  Brown University actively seeks to obtain by gift or purchase, works of art and other objects that are in accord with its mission. 

5.  Responsibilities

All individuals to whom this policy applies are responsible for becoming familiar with and following this

policy. University supervisors and employees with student oversight duties are responsible for promoting the understanding of this policy and for taking appropriate steps to help ensure and enforce compliance with it.


The Curator reports to the Director of Exhibitions  and Chief Curator of the Bell Gallery. Recommendations concerning the Campus Collection are made in consultation with the Committee on Campus Collections, whose members, in addition to the Curator, generally include, ex officio, the University’s General Counsel, the Executive Director of Planned Giving, the Director of Exhibitions and Chief Curator of the Bell Gallery, the Director of the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology, the Director of the Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World, the Associate University Librarian for Special Collections  and the University Librarian, or similar positions.


  1. Consequences for Violating this Policy

Failure to comply with this and related policies is subject to disciplinary action, up to and including suspension without pay, or termination of employment or association with the University, in accordance with applicable (e.g., staff, faculty, student) disciplinary procedures. 


  1. Related Information

Brown University is a community in which employees are encouraged to share workplace concerns with University leadership. Additionally, Brown’s Anonymous Reporting Hotline allows anonymous and confidential reporting on matters of concern online or by phone (877-318-9184).


The following information complements and supplements this document. The information is intended to help explain this policy and is not an all-inclusive list of policies, procedures, laws and requirements.


  1. Related Policies: 

  1. Related Procedures: N/A

  2. Related Forms: N/A

  3. Frequently Asked Questions: N/A

  4. Other Related Information: 


  1. Policy Owner and Contact


  1. Policy Owner: Provost

  2. Policy Approved by: The Corporation of Brown University

  3. Subject Matter Contact: University Curator


  1. Policy History


  1. Policy Issue Date: Pending Approval

  2. Policy Effective Date: Pending Approval

9.3    Policy Update/Review Summary: N/A