14.7 Policy on Acquisition of Art and Artifacts

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The art and object collections of MIT uphold standards of excellence and enduring quality for the benefit of students, faculty and staff and the larger community. To maintain these standards, the Institute applies policies and procedures for the acceptance and commissioning of tangible artistic property. It also cites additional policies specific to the List Visual Arts Center (LVAC) and the MIT Museum.

  1. The MIT Corporation is responsible for the acceptance of all gifts.
  2. However, in order to insure the quality and coherence of the permanent public collection, which is defined as art objects sited in public locations other than museum exhibit spaces, and one percent for the Arts commissions incorporated into the architecture, the following procedure will be followed:
    1. In the case of art objects designated for public siting, The LVAC Collections Committee will evaluate the object or commission and make a recommendation to the Director of the LVAC and the Associate Provost.
    2. A chair or co-chair of the Collections Committee will be appointed by the Chair of the Advisory Committee in consultation with the List Center Director and the Associate Provost. Members of the Collection Committee need not be members of the Advisory Committee. The committee may choose to refer some Collections matters to the full Advisory Committee. In all cases, it will ultimately report its actions to the full Advisory Committee.
    3. Based on discussions with and the recommendation of the Collections Committee, the chair will make a recommendation to the Director of the LVAC and the Associate Provost.
    4. The Associate Provost will make a recommendation to the President, who will also consult with the Institute Building Committee.
    5. In the case of one percent for the Arts, consultation among the Director of the List Visual Arts Center, the architects, and the project clients will precede the procedures described in b)i-iii).
  3. In all other cases, any decision to accept materials donated to the List Visual Arts Center or the MIT Museum is solely within the purview of the relevant organization as described by its published collections policies and accession procedures.
  4. All of the procedures above will also apply to any long-term loans that are offered to the Institute and all art and artifacts that may be produced at the Institute, including those of artists in residence, members of the Faculty, and alumni/ae artists.
  5. Although it is stated in the published collections policies of both the LVAC and the MIT Museum, it should be noted here that gifts to the permanent collection are never accepted with restrictions attached to them.
  6. Those artifacts that do not fit into either the MIT Museum's or the LVAC's collections but that the Institute wishes to accept (such as gifts of furniture or other pieces of decorative art) or those artifacts acquired by specific departments with special interest collections should be considered the property and management responsibility of the department that acquires them. Neither the MIT Museum nor the LVAC will be responsible for maintenance, storage, conservation, insurance, or inventory control of these artifacts.
  7. Works that are not appropriate to the collections of either the LVAC or the MIT Museum but that the Institute wishes to accept in order to sell later will fall under the present arrangement with the Treasurer's Office and will not at any time be considered a part of the permanent collection. Neither the LVAC nor the MIT Museum will be responsible for the maintenance, storage, insurance, or conservation of such non-accessioned gifts in kind. Insurance claims under these arrangements are processed through the Office of Insurance and Legal Affairs.