A Guide to MOA’s Acquisitions Process

This brief guide to the Museum of Anthropology’s acquisitions process is intended to give potential donors/vendors information that will help them make decisions about the future of their collections. The Acquisitions Committee’s task is to ensure that the Museum is the right place for the object(s) in question. MOA’s internal process is a carefully considered one and can take more time than most people expect – anywhere from two to 12 months, and occasionally longer.

How does the Museum acquire collections?

Donation: The giving of one or more objects to the Museum.
All donors must be the legal and rightful owners of said objects. The donation form includes the phrase, “I hereby donate said property in whole to the UBC Museum of Anthropology with no reservations, restraints or limiting conditions of any kind whatsoever.”

Bequest: The bequeathing of one or more objects to the Museum as described in the owner’s last will and testament.
Museum staff can express interest in the object(s) at the time of the making of the will but always with the proviso that the object(s) will be subjected to the same acquisition process that applies to all donations (see below).

Purchase: The purchasing of one or more objects by the Museum.
The vendor must be the legal and rightful owner of the objects and must be able to produce appropriate export paperwork if the purchase originates outside of Canada.

Commission: The commissioning by MOA of a work by a contemporary artist.
The timing and cost of a commission is negotiated, as are the copyright conditions.

Transfer: The transfer of one or more objects from another institution.

How do I donate?

Initial contact is usually made with a Co-Chair of the Acquisitions Committee. A preliminary discussion will determine whether or not the material offered is of interest to the Museum or may be better suited to another institution. For example, objects that do not fall within the Museum’s collecting parameters are not brought forward to the Committee.
The object(s) offered, or preferably a photograph, are submitted to a Co-Chair with as much background material as possible. If the object(s) is/are brought into the Museum, the potential donor is issued with a receipt.

Enquiries regarding the possible donation or sale of objects to the Museum may be made directly to one of the Co-Chairs of the MOA Acquisitions Committee, listed here. For further information, please see the full version of the MOA Acquisition Guidelines.

For enquiries regarding objects from Asia, Africa, Pacific Islands or Europe, please contact: Carol Mayer Acquisitions Co-Chair; Curator, Africa/Pacific, 604-822-8224, carol.mayer@ubc.ca

For enquiries regarding objects from North, Central or South America, please contact:
Karen Duffek, Acquisitions Co-Chair; Curator, Contemporary Visual Arts & Pacific Northwest, 604-822-4604, karen.duffek@ubc.ca