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Collection Management Policy

The Director has primary responsibility for maintaining collections, authority to accept new collections within our scope, and to establish loans to and from the AAL’s holdings.  Cultural Heritage Resource Coordinator acts as a registrar under the Director.  The Director will review all proposed accessions of human remains and loans exceeding the established one-year duration.  The AAL’s Director has oversight responsibility for the professional performance of staff and the AAL Director is accountable for fiscal soundness of the operating budget dedicated to collections maintenance.  The AAL Director reports to the Chair of the Department of Sociology regarding policies and activities related to collections.  SFASU and its agents are legally accountable for the A&AL’s holdings including financial commitments to care and maintenance of collections.

Only qualified researchers or students engaged in legitimate research are permitted access to the AAL’s collections.  A proposed research plan and formal research question must be approved in advance by the Director of the AAL and the Chair of the Sociology Department.  For federal collections, the controlling agency will be consulted.  Additionally, the AAL reserves the right to deny access to persons without a valid scientific research plan.  Access to human remains and associated items must meet with stipulations of the NAGPRA.

SFASU indemnifies all buildings and materials held within.  The AAL does not carry insurance beyond what is provided by SFASU.  The AAL will petition the Texas Historical Commission for a waiver of insurance requirement under the rules of CFCP.

Public Information
The AAL’s web site carries a listing by county of site collections held at the AAL’s repository.  Future plans include a searchable database for particular classes or specific types of artifacts, sites, and projects.  This database will be a separate copy from that used for inventory purposes due to the sensitive nature of archaeological site locations.

Originally established to curate materials generated from in-house projects, the AAL primarily accepts collections from east Texas, but will consider collections from other areas when these collections fit the broader regional and thematic areas already exemplified by our collections, such as Spanish colonial sites, prehistoric hunter-gatherers and proto-historic Indians of the greater Piney Woods region of Texas. 

Collections are acquired through gift, bequest, fieldwork, transfer, exchange, held-in-trust agreement, or purchase.  Acquisitions are evaluated in terms of objectives, purpose, mission, and scope of the curatorial facility and its ability to care for acquisition.  No collection will be accessioned into the AAL’s holdings unless it is physically located at the facility or its annex at Mission Dolores, clear title or stewardship has been established, and no restrictions or conditions placed upon the AAL through acquisition.  Acquisition of any state-associated held-in-trust collection will be reported to the THC annually.

Held-in-Trust Agreements
Transfer of stewardship of state-associated held-in-trust collections is made through a signed, written Held-in-Trust Agreement that identifies agency, institution, and the objects/collections/documents for which stewardship is transferred.  This document is executed between the THC and the curatorial facility.  A separate Held-in-Trust Agreement is completed and maintained by the curatorial facility and forwarded to the THC for each held-in-trust collection.  A Held-in-Trust Agreement requires an accession or baseline inventory of counts of objects by material type and total linear feet of documentation.

It is considered unethical for an archaeologist to appraise the value of collections and therefore the AAL does not provide appraisal to any potential donors or the general public.  The AAL will not accept a donation without the owner providing this information as stipulated by the policy of SFASU.

The AAL will accept human remains and associated items when provided with clear documentation regarding NAGPRA status.  The submission must be arranged in advance.  Any request for access to human remains and/or associated items will be considered to be within the confines of NAGPRA regulations and is to be accompanied by a letter of credentials in addition to documents required for general collections access in consultation with any American Indian group claiming cultural patrimony.  A committee consisting of an osteologist, the Director of the AAL, the chair of the Department of Sociology, and the academic dean will render final determination regarding access.

Registration System
To accept a donated collection, a deed of gift is required to be signed by the person or person(s) holding legal title to the material.  The AAL will not accept any materials without a title transfer.  Collections and records produced by compliance projects must be accompanied by a transfer of custodianship between the state or federal agency and the AAL.  Project materials submitted by a contractor acting on behalf of a regulatory agency must obtain permission from custodial agent and submit appropriate documentation with original signature.

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