Scientific Testing Policy
The Museum accepts requests for scientific sampling, testing, and analysis—both destructive and non-destructive—in order to promote research on its collections. Requests are evaluated based on a comparison of the potential contribution to knowledge and the potential negative effects to the Museum and the objects being tested.
Submitting a Request
Researchers must submit a written proposal to the Registrar. The Registrar will bring the proposal to the Acquisition Committee for review and approval and then report its decision to the researcher.
Proposals should include the following information:
- names and contact information of the researcher and all affiliated persons and facilities to be involved in the testing, evaluation, and publication of results
- a list of the objects to be tested, including accession numbers
- supporting documents that demonstrate how these objects were selected for testing, why the scientific testing is important, and the potential knowledge to be gained by the proposed analysis
- a description of the scientific procedures and methodology to be used
- a description of how the object and/or samples will be handled to minimize damage or disfigurement
- a description of arrangements for packing and shipping
- a description of how artifacts or samples will be identified and tracked, including cross-referencing of Museum accession numbers with any tracking numbers assigned during the scientific testing process
- an expected time schedule
- acknowledgment of responsibility to publish or otherwise disseminate the results of the analysis
- acknowledgement that the researcher will provide to the Museum a copy of all raw data resulting from the analysis and a copy of all manuscripts, submissions, reports, papers, and publications that make use of these data
- a written statement addressing cultural sensitivity issues, if applicable
Criteria for Scientific Testing Requests
The Acquisitions Committee will approve or deny the request following a careful review of the following considerations:
- the title of all requested objects is held by the Museum and object is free of any and all encumbrances
- the potential knowledge to be gained by the proposed analysis and the likelihood that a valid result will be attained
- the soundness of the proposed research methodology and testing process and the likelihood that a valid result will be achieved
- the researcher’s acknowledgement of responsibility to publish or otherwise disseminate the results of the analysis
- the extent of loss, damage, or disfigurement that may be caused to the object and the degree to which it can be minimized
- the uniqueness, rarity, integrity, intellectual value, and aesthetic value of the object
- the potential for public objection to the testing and treatment of the object due to cultural beliefs
- the availability of financial, staff, time, and other resources required to implement the request
Scientific Testing Procedure
Once a proposal is approved, the following steps are taken to carry out the scientific testing:
- The Collections Manager takes samples for testing, directly supervises that process, or gives prior written approval for other individuals to do so.
- The Museum’s Outgoing Loan Policy is followed for all objects and samples of objects being removed from the Museum for scientific testing.
- Packing and shipping of all objects and samples of objects being removed from the Museum are arranged under the direct supervision of the Collections Manager and must be in keeping with the Museum’s Packing and Shipping Policy.
Results from scientific analysis are confidential until published or disseminated by the individual(s) making the request. If the researcher fails to publish within an established period of time, results may be released with permission from the Director, in consultation with University Legal Counsel.