Summer is in full swing and plenty of outdoor activities beckon, though I am sure you are busy pondering matters of ethics and standards instead. Well, don’t feel badly if you aren’t because the AASLH Professional Standards and Ethics Committee is hard at work.
The Committee’s charge is to help our membership better understand the ethical ramifications of organizational and individual behavior, to develop and advocate for professional development opportunities related to ethical issues and standards, and to respond to situations as they arise.
Avenues for disseminating the committee’s work include white papers, technical leaflets, articles and sessions at the AASLH annual meeting. We’ve developed a short list of potential topics including financial transparency, museum shop management, and collections use.
Perhaps not surprisingly we have spent a fair amount of time dealing with an oldie but goodie as several organizations struggled publicly with the ever-thorny but critical “what to do with the proceeds from deaccessioned collections” question.
Recently the National Trust for Historic Preservation consulted the Committee on the Trust’s work to roll out their decision to treat historical buildings held in the public trust as collections. This allows the Trust, in some instances, to use funds from deaccessioning for direct conservation care of certain buildings. There will be an article on this in the next issue of History News so stay tuned.
Our efforts also extend to active participation in vetting future changes or additions to standards and performance indicators used in StEPs.
We welcome your input. If you have suggestions for areas or topics where an ethics or standards update would benefit the profession let us know.
So hit the beach, take in a softball game, have an ice cream cone and relax. We’ve got you covered.
Nina Zannieri is Executive Director of the Paul Revere Memorial Association and Chair of the AASLH Standards and Ethics Committee.