Alliance Announces Direct Care Task Force

The American Alliance of Museums announces the formation of the Task Force on Direct Care. The objective of the cross-disciplinary Task Force is to provide clarity and guidance to the field on generally accepted field-wide and discipline-specific definitions of “direct care” and to provide a unified message to people outside the field that reinforces that museums are fulfilling their public trust role and are worthy of support. 

“The Alliance Board of Directors and Accreditation Commission believe this issue is a top priority for the field,” says Alliance President Ford Bell. “Ethics, standards and acceptable practices regarding use of deaccessioning proceeds vary among disciplines. The term ‘direct care’ has never been defined or clarified, resulting in gray areas, inconsistent application of standards and lack of guidance to museums for their decision-making.”

Between November 2014 and May 2016, the Task Force will:

  • gather data to find out how museums of different disciplines use proceeds from deaccessioning and how they define “direct care”
  • compile a list of generally accepted uses of proceeds shared by all disciplines and those specific to each discipline
  • evaluate the ethics underlying current standards and practices and advancing the thinking on this topic
  • issue a white paper with task force findings and recommendations, endorsed by the key discipline-specific organizations

The Alliance collaborated with the discipline-specific organizations to identify individuals who can represent a variety of perspectives on the task force. The members are:

  • Sally Yerkovich, chair, director of the Institute of Museum Ethics at Seton Hall University and faculty in the M.A. Program in Museum Professions, South Orange, NJ

  • Wendy Blackwell, executive director, visitor experience, National Children's Museum, Washington, DC
  • Kathy Kelsey Foley, director, Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum, Wausau, WI
  • Sarah George, executive director, Natural History Museum of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT
  • Patty Gerstenblith, distinguished research professor and director, Center for Art, Museum and Cultural Heritage Law, DePaul University College of Law, Chicago, IL
  • Ron Kagan, director, Detroit Zoo, Detroit, MI
  • Lisa Yun Lee, director, School of Art and Art History, University of Illinois, and Alliance board member, Chicago, IL
  • Burt Logan, executive director and CEO, Ohio History Connection, and chair, Accreditation Commission, Columbus, OH
  • Tom Mayes, deputy general counsel, National Trust for Historic Preservation, Washington, DC
  • Laurie Norton Moffat, director and CEO, Norman Rockwell Museum, Stockbridge, MA
  • David Rock, director of exhibits and collections management, Arizona Science Center, Phoenix, AZ
  • Tim Thibault, curator of Woody Collections, Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens, San Marino, CA
  • Ken Turino, manager of community engagement and exhibitions, Historic New England, Boston, MA

Learn more about the Task Force.