City Commission Approves Editorial Clarification to Smoky Hill Museum's Collections Policy

City Commission Approves Editorial Clarification to Smoky Hill Museum's Collections Policy
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At Monday's City Commission Meeting, Commissioners heard an editorial clarification to the Smoky Hill Museum's Collections Policy.

BACKGROUND: The Smoky Hill Museum (Museum) is in the process of its accreditation review. The Museum was originally accredited by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) in 1997 and re-accredited in 2009. Museums are required to complete additional reviews every ten to fifteen years. Museum accreditation certifies that our institution has undergone the rigorous, professional examination established by the AAM Accreditation Commission. The Smoky Hill Museum is one of only ten museums in the State of Kansas to receive accreditation. The Salina Art Center is also an accredited museum.

Part of the Accreditation process is to complete a self-study which is designed to gather detailed information about all aspects of the Museum's operations, mission, and goals to demonstrate that the Museum meets the eligibility criteria, the Characteristics of an Accreditable Museum, and the Accreditation Commission's expectations. It involves reviewing and, if needed, revising all of the Museum's policies. A policy that holds a significant amount of weight with the Accreditation Commission is the Museum's Collections Policy. The Collection's Policy is required, by the Accreditation Commission, to have the approval of the governing authority.

The Collection's Policy supports the Collections Stewardship Core Standards. It outlines the scope of the museum's collections; explains how the museum cares for the collections; explains how the collections are made available to the public; and clearly defines the roles of those responsible for managing the collections. The current Collection's Policy was approved by the City Commission on March 9, 2020.

Upon review by the Accreditation Commission's staff an irregularity was identified. Under section Ill. Ethics, the policy as adopted stated, "Staff will NOT ... Acquire objects from the Museum collections owned by or on loan to the Museum unless such transactions are available through a disposal process, which is public in nature." The last part of this statement, "unless such transactions are available through a disposal process, which is public in nature," is not in keeping with industry best practices. Therefore, that part of the statement needs to be removed. The revised Collections Policy will then completely prohibit museum staff from acquiring any objects under any circumstances. This revision has gone before and has been approved by the Salina Arts and Humanities Commission (SAHC), and will go before the Friends of the Smoky Hill Museum Board of Directors at their next meeting on July 12.

FISCAL NOTE: As the change is only clerical, there is no associated fiscal impact.

The motion to approve the proposed editorial change to the Smoky Hill Museum Collection Management Policy was approved 4-0. Commissioner Lenkiewicz was not present.

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