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City writing new strategy for museum artifact disposal

Ottawa Citizen
August 28, 2017

The city is crafting a strategy to unload museum artifacts if the keepsakes no longer hold meaning for the municipality or if they’re simply too ragged to bother hoarding.

“Over 200,000 objects in our artifact collections tell the story of the city’s evolution and the people who shaped it — from the earliest settlers to local celebrities,” the city says in its description of the artifact collection.

Much of the collection is on display at the city’s five museums, everything from rare children’s toys and children’s clothes to old spoons and musical instruments. Many items at the Billings Estate National Historic site have Canadian Cultural Property designation, deemed to be important artifacts in the development of the national capital.

Dan Chenier, the general manager of recreation, culture and facility services, explained that the city is developing a new deaccessioning policy to update existing, and dated, procedures that vary between each museum.

“The new policy and procedures will provide direction in terms of the types of artifacts that should be retained in the collection and how to dispose of items that are no longer required or reflective of the museums mandate,” according to Chenier. “The policy will be based on a new methodology commonly adopted by public museums using a weighted criteria assessment to evaluated artifacts and quantify their relevance for retention in the collection.”

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