Hastings Business Law Journal


In January 2009, Brandeis University announced that it planned to sell off the entire art collection of the Rose Art Museum. The purpose of this Note is to compare the situation at Brandeis against three previously-suggested methods of dealing with "deaccession," the sale of artwork by museums, and to suggest a fourth, hybrid approach to deaccession. The approach takes elements of the other models, and based on the American Association of Museum's Code of Ethics for Museums, proposes a new standard. Part I gives an overview of the American Association of Museum's Code of Ethics for Museums and a brief explanation of the structure of museums and their governing bodies. Part II explains the three pre-existing proposals for how to deal with the practice of deaccession. Part III assess these proposed models against the Code of Ethics for Museums. Finally, Part IV proposes a new method for dealing with deaccession both before and after the decision has been made, and applies the proposal to what happened at Brandeis University.