Ox-Bow Deaccessioning Policy


DEFINITION: "Deaccessioning" is the process used to remove permanently an object from Ox-Bow’s collection. “Disposal” is the official mode of transferal.


Deaccessioning, when carried out in an appropriate manner and with thoughtful consideration, is an integral part of responsible collections management. This view is based on the ethical codes of national and international museum professional organizations.


1.    Only full-time, executive level staff has the authority to approve deaccessions from the collection.

2.    Full-time staff, in collaboration with the Executive and Creative Director, shall be responsible for researching all legal and ethical considerations surrounding a proposed deaccession.

3.    Full-time staff, in collaboration with the Executive and Creative Director, are responsible for maintaining all written documentation regarding the deaccession and disposal process.

4.    Only the Executive and Creative Director, will approve a mode of disposal.


1.    Objects may be considered for deaccessioning under one or more of the following circumstances:

a.    Inadequate documentation exists and/or there is an absence of documentation.

b.    The object cannot be preserved, or has deteriorated and is no longer of any cultural or historical value.

c.    The object has been destroyed or damaged to the extent that it no longer possesses any cultural or historical value.

d.    The object went unsold in a previous fundraising auction. 

e.   The object was donated for use in a previous auction. 

f.   The object has been purchased in a previous auction and was not claimed within one year of said auction. 

g.    The object was abandoned by the artist.

h.    Ox-Bow has been instructed to deaccession the object by the owner or artist. 


1.    Any object that has been selected and approved by the Executive and Creative Director for deaccessioning should be transferred or disposed of as follows (this list is not hierarchical and does not imply an order to follow): 

a.    Transfer: If proper documentation exists, the artist of the work will be contacted and allowed an opportunity to reclaim the work. 

b.    Sale: Pieces in the collection can be used to enhance Ox-Bow by deaccessioning for sale.

c.    Destruction: If the object cannot be disposed of in any of the above manners, it shall be destroyed by a member of Ox-Bow’s full-time, executive level staff. Destruction is defined as the obliteration of an object or specimen by physical or mechanical means. No remains of the object may be retained by Ox-Bow staff or affiliated parties. The remains of the object must be placed in an Ox-Bow garbage receptacle. This disposal method must be both documented and witnessed.


1.    Full-time, executive level staff will identify an object for deaccession/disposal based on the criteria above.

2.    As a courtesy, reasonable efforts will be made to contact donors or their heirs, and living artists prior to the deaccessioning of objects from Ox-Bow’s collection.

3.    The Executive and Creative Director will determine the method of disposal, taking into account the reason for deaccessioning.