9524.6 Collections and Individual Objects

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This policy is archived and has been superseded by the policy currently in effect.

  1. Date Published: August 17, 1999

  2. Response and Recovery Policy Number: 9524.6

  3. Title: Collections and Individual Objects

  4. Purpose: This policy clarifies terms associated with the eligibility of collections and individual objects of exceptionally significant cultural value located within or on the property of public or private nonprofit facilities, for the purpose of funding stabilization and treatment. The policy also establishes and describes the eligibility criteria for collections and individual objects.

  5. Scope and Audience: This policy is applicable to all major disasters and emergencies declared on or after its publication date. It is intended for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) personnel involved in making eligibility determinations under the provisions of the Public Assistance (PA) program.

  6. Background:

    1. Under 44 CFR 206.226 (f) and (g), "equipment and furnishings" of an eligible facility are eligible for FEMA assistance, as are "library books and publications," including cataloging and other work incidental to replacement. The Mexican Museum appeal in 1991 (FEMA-845-DR; P.A. 075-90561) addressed the inclusion of displayed "art objects" as eligible "equipment and furnishings" of an eligible public or private nonprofit facility. Further, the appeal addressed FEMA's treatment of these objects.

    2. This policy broadens the scope of eligible collections and objects beyond "art objects," to include other collections and objects of exceptionally significant cultural value. The policy also broadens the function of eligible objects beyond those "on display," and it re-defines FEMA's approach to treatment measures for eligible collections and objects.

    3. Relevant definitions have been adapted from those used in the professional conservation and cultural resources community to best meet FEMA's needs. Specifically, definitions are derived from those published by the American Association for State and Local History (AASLH), the American Association of Museums (AAM), and American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (AIC).

  7. Policy:

    1. Definitions:

      1. An individual object of exceptionally significant cultural value is a non-living artifact, specimen, or work of art whose value is intangible because of its artistic, historic, scientific, educational, or social importance as an individual piece.

      2. A collection of exceptionally significant cultural value is a set of non-living objects acquired and preserved because of their potential value as examples, as reference material, or as objects of artistic, historic, scientific, educational, or social importance as a collection.

      3. The owner of the collection or object has legally purchased or obtained the collection or object, and inventoried/catalogued it as part of the institution or individual's collection.

      4. The responsible institution is the entity formally assigned the responsibility to care for the collection or objects by the owner during the period in which the collection or object suffered damage. The responsible institution is normally also the owner of the collection or object, except in some cases where the collections or objects are on loan.

      5. An accessioned collection or object is one that has been formally accepted as worthy of being collected by the institution and has been legally conveyed to and recorded by the institution as part of their collection.

      6. A reproduction is a collection or object that is an imitation in materials, form, and workmanship of an original collection or object of exceptionally significant cultural value. The reproduction itself may or may not possess exceptionally significant cultural value in its own right for artistic, historic, scientific, educational, or social importance.

      7. Complete devastation or loss refers to a state in which a disaster destroys the collection, or a portion thereof, or object in its entirety; thus, stabilization of the collection or object to a point where it retains its physical integrity and conveys the characteristics for which it is exceptionally significant is no longer practicable or possible.

    2. Eligibility.

      1. All damaged collections and individual objects of exceptionally significant cultural value are eligible for FEMA assistance if the damage is the result of a major disaster event, the collections or objects are located within a designated disaster area, and the owne of the collections or objects is an eligible applicant. For collections or individual objects that are on loan, the responsible institution must be an eligible applicant in order for the collections or objects to be eligible for treatment.

      2. FEMA's Preservation Officer or designee (in consultation with FEMA's conservation consultant, the facility's representative responsible for the collection or object, and a State official) has determined that the collection or object possesses exceptionally significant cultural value and the collection or object meets other criteria established in this policy.

      3. The eligible facility has accessioned and catalogued/inventoried, or in the case of loan, inventoried and documented the collections or objects.

      4. The collections or objects are in storage, on display, or are part of an exhibition and are accessible to the general public for educational purposes. This applies to both eligible public and private nonprofit facilities. Collections and objects located outside the facility, such as outdoor sculpture and exhibits/displays, are also eligible for FEMA assistance.

      5. The collections or objects are non-living.

      6. The collections or objects have exceptionally significant cultural value in their own right. Some reproductions may be eligible under this clause because they possess exceptionally significant cultural value (artistic, historic, scientific, educational, or social); however, collections or objects that can be replaced are not eligible as "collections and objects of exceptionally significant cultural value," although they may be eligible as "equipment and furnishings" according to 44 CFR 206.226(f).

    3. Insured Collections and Objects: In accordance with 44 CFR 206.250(c), "actual and anticipated insurance recoveries" from collections and individual objects of exceptionally significant cultural value "will be deducted from otherwise eligible costs." FEMA will approve assistance for collections and objects of exceptionally significant cultural value only under the conditions of 44 CFR 206.252, 206.253, requiring the grantee to obtain and maintain such types of insurance as are reasonable and necessary to protect against future loss to such collections and objects from the types of hazards which caused the major disaster.

    4. Materials and Equipment Used to Conserve, Exhibit, Display, or Store Eligible Collections and Objects

      The materials and equipment associated with the storage, display, preservation, or exhibition of collections or objects of exceptionally significant cultural value are eligible for FEMA assistance as "equipment and furnishings" of a facility, according to 44 CFR 206.226(f). This may include (but is not limited to): equipment regulating temperature or humidity; exhibit panels; models; video and audio equipment; and, multimedia containing oral histories or photographs of significant cultural value. FEMA will provide assistance to replace or repair the damaged item (or other incidental expenses required to replace or repair the item), but will not provide assistance for original research associated with replacement. General equipment and furnishings not essential to the collection may be eligible for assistance under the provisions of 44 CFR 206.226.

    5. Treatment of Eligible Collections and Individual Objects

      1. Determination of Treatment Measures : FEMA's Preservation Officer or designee (in consultation with FEMA's conservation consultant, the facility's representative, and a State official) will determine the appropriate treatment measures for the eligible collections or objects.

      2. Complete Devastation or Loss : FEMA's Preservation Officer will determine the extent of damage to the collections or objects; those that have been completely destroyed by the disaster will not receive any FEMA assistance.

      3. Stabilization and Restoration : The goal of FEMA assistance for damaged collections and objects will be to treat the damaged collection or object through stabilization, in order to prolong its existence, maintain its integrity, and minimize deterioration from the damaging effects of the disaster. FEMA will not restore the collection or object to its pre-damage condition. FEMA will, however, take the minimum steps necessary to return the collection or object to a condition in which it can function in the same capacity as it did prior to the disaster. However, FEMA's Preservation Officer or designee (in consultation with FEMA's conservation consultant, the facility's representative, and the State official) will use professional judgement to determine if additional treatment beyond stabilization is necessary to maintain the integrity of the collection or object and return it to its pre-disaster function.

        Example 1 : A wagon in a living history museum, possessing significant cultural value and functioning as a wagon for educational purposes, should be minimally restored to a condition in which the institution may again use the wagon for this purpose. However, if the wagon's intended use is to be part of a display or exhibit, then FEMA will take the minimum steps necessary to stabilize the wagon so that it may return to the display.

        Example 2 : A damaged painting of significant cultural value, which functioned prior to a disaster as part of an exhibition, may require additional treatment measures beyond stabilization. These measures may be necessary in order to restore the aesthetic qualities that convey the value of the painting so that the painting may be returned to public display.

         

      4. Professional Standards and Guidelines: The treatment will be conducted by a qualified conservation professional with the appropriate specialty, in accordance with the American Institute for Conservation of historic and Artistic Works' (AIC) Code of Ethics and Guidelines for Practice. When non-intervention best serves to promote the preservation of the collection or object, it may be appropriate to recommend that no treatment be performed.

      5. Extent of Compensation: FEMA's Preservation Officer or designee (in consultation with FEMA's conservation consultant, the facility's representative, and a State official) will determine the extent of compensation to the applicant that will be provided for the treatment of the collection or object.

      6. Eligible Costs of Expertise: Reasonable costs associated with the development of the treatment plan and the subsequent treatment for the collection or object, as determined by FEMA, are considered eligible costs of expertise for FEMA assistance.

      7. Supersession: This policy updates and replaces relevant provisions of previous Public Assistance policy documents.

      8. Authorities: Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, P.L. 93-288 as amended; 44 CFR 206.226; 44 CFR 206.250; 44 CFR 206.252-253.

      9. Originating Office: Infrastructure Division, Response and Recovery Directorate

      10. Review Date: Two years from date of publication

      11. Signature:

                signed        
        Lacy E. Suiter
        Executive Associate Director
        Response and Recovery Directorate

      12. Distribution: Regional Directors, Regional and Headquarters R & R Division Directors

Last Updated: 
07/24/2014 - 16:00
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