Policy for Collecting Archeological Materials and Antiquities at the Harn Museum of Art
The Ham Museum of Art accepts and abides by the Statement of Principle and Guidelines
outlined in the attached document: "Report of the AAMD Task Force on the Acquisition of
Archaeological Materials and Ancient Art." In keeping with that document, the Har will be
guided by the following policy in its collection of all archeological materials and antiquities.
When considering the acquisition of any archeological materials or antiquities, the Ham Museum
will always prefer objects that have well documented provenances (for example, that have been
published in earlier books or catalogues, that have recorded sales histories, or that have been
recorded in legal documents.) The provenance should indicate that the object under
consideration was collected prior to 1970, the date of the UNESCO Convention (see AAMD
document). The museum recognizes that objects with such provenances are typically more
difficult to find and more expensive to buy than objects without such provenances. However, the
museum believes that collecting ethically is more important than collecting economically.
The museum may occasionally consider the acquisition of archeological objects or antiquities
that do not have documented provenances pre-dating 1970. In these cases, the curator shall
demonstrate to the director verbally and in the written acquisition justification that the objects in
question are not exceptionally rare or unique to a particular archeological context, and that
comparable pieces have been widely collected by other museums and private individuals for
When purchasing archeological objects or antiquities, the museum will prefer to purchase objects
from well advertised public auctions that are open to academic, legal, and governmental scrutiny.
If the museum purchases or accepts the donation of an undocumented object from a private
individual or gallery, the museum will require the individual or gallery to provide a letter
explaining what he or she knows about the origins of the piece, verifying that they have legal
title to sell or donate the piece, and stating that the piece was not illegally removed from its
country of origin.
In the event that claims are made against any archeological objects or antiquities collected by the
Har Museum, the museum will cooperate fully with the claimants to establish the proper
ownership of the objects in question. If an object in the Ham Museum collection can be proven
to have been removed from its country of origin illegally, the museum will turn over the object to
an appropriate institution in that country.