Smithsonian Institution and National Air and Space Museum policies call for the periodic review and evaluation of collections. While our collections are developed with the good faith intention to retain objects for an indefinite time period, these periodic reviews can identify objects that no longer meet our current collecting plans, objects that are insufficiently related to our mission, or objects that are duplicative of other artifacts in our collection. Once such objects are identified, they may be selected for formal removal from the collection through the action of deaccession.
The Smithsonian Institution and the National Air and Space Museum view deaccessioning as an essential element of responsible collections management, which serves to refine and improve the overall quality and relevance of the entire collection with respect to the Museum's mission, purpose and programmatic goals. Our deaccession procedures are designed to ensure thoughtful, well-documented consideration of each proposed object deaccession in the context of the long-term interest of the Smithsonian, the general public and the object itself. Objects that are deaccessioned may, under certain circumstances, be made available for transfer to other museums and educational organizations.
In order to facilitate such transfers, the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum has established a process intended to facilitate collaboration with other museums and educational organizations who share our goal of preserving, exhibiting and interpreting objects of historical interest related to the history of aviation and space flight. The process will identify appropriate recipients and formally transfer ownership of objects deaccessioned from the National Air and Space Museum to qualified museums and educational organizations.
To achieve this goal the National Air and Space Museum will:
- Provide information on available objects to interested and qualified organizations and provide a mechanism for requesting objects;
- Assess object requests and determine the appropriate distribution of objects to requesting organizations on a regular basis; and
- Effect the deaccession and transfer of objects in accordance with the policies of the Smithsonian Institution and the National Air and Space Museum.
On an annual basis, the National Air and Space Museum will identify objects as candidates for transfer, and this list will be made available to requesting organizations via this website. The next list will be available on May 1, 2018. Objects appearing on this list will have been evaluated against Smithsonian and National Air and Space Museum collections criteria and determined to be appropriate deaccession candidates that may be of potential interest for exhibition and study within the collections of other museums and educational organizations. Please check back here after May 1, 2018 for specific information on available objects and guidelines for requesting objects for transfer.