University Policy


Art Collection

Approval Date: 2018-05-10

Effective Date: 2018-05-10

Review Date: 2022-05-10


Provost and Vice-President (Academic) through the Advisory Committee on Memorial University's Art Collection


To outline the authority, roles and responsibilities associated with:

  • the process and rationale for acquiring Artwork;
  • the storage, conservation and other aspects of the care of Artworks;
  • the maintenance of record-keeping for Artworks;
  • the process and rationale for deaccessioning of Artworks;
  • the lending or borrowing of Artwork; and
  • the display or permanent installation of Artwork.


Artwork and the University’s Art Collection.


  • art of the Memorial University Permanent Collection, which is administered through an agreement between Memorial University of Newfoundland and The Rooms
  • art held in Library Collections,
  • art held in the Centre for Newfoundland Studies
  • art held in any archives of the University.


Art Collection — Artwork under the care, control or custody of the University including the non-curated collection of Artwork gifted, commissioned and/or purchased by the University as well as the curated Grenfell Campus Permanent Collection.

Art Liaison — A University employee who is responsible for the management of aspects of the Art Collection and who liaises with Advisory Committee on Memorial University's Art Collection, The Rooms Provincial Art Gallery, Director of Grenfell Campus Art Gallery and various Memorial units and individuals.

Artwork — Including but not limited to paintings, drawings, prints, photographs, sculpture, fine craft, installations, ephemeral and conceptual works, and digital and electronic works. Artwork may be a single item or an integral unit made up of components. Artworks may also be part of the fabric of buildings, such as stained glass in windows, or displayed outdoors.

Curator — Director of the Grenfell Campus Art Gallery.

Deaccessioning — The formal alienation of Artwork from the Art Collection. As used in this policy, deaccession means that in compliance with relevant laws, ethical guidelines and policies, the appropriate authorities of the University have concluded that a work of art may be removed from the Art Collection and be further considered for disposal.

Disposal — An administrative function that follows deaccession and which may include sale, exchange or destruction.

Facility Report — A report provided by an institution documenting security and environmental standards, including the record of relative humidity and temperature controls in storage and exhibition spaces for the previous two to three years.

Grenfell Campus Permanent Collection — The curated collection of Artwork held in public trust and actively maintained and developed by the Grenfell Art Gallery since 1988. The mandate of the Grenfell Campus Permanent Collection is to collect great art of the past and innovative cultural practices of the present with a focus on the culture of Newfoundland and Labrador and the evolving mission of Memorial University.

Memorial University Permanent Collection — A curated art collection that was most actively developed from 1961 to 1994 through purchases and donations. The mandate of the Memorial University Permanent Collection was to acquire Canadian contemporary art and crafts, with a focus on works created by artists living in Newfoundland and Labrador. The collection contains primarily paintings, original prints, photographs, sculpture and textiles. From 1961 to 1994, the collection was housed at and managed by the Memorial University Art Gallery. In 1994 the Art Gallery of Newfoundland and Labrador was established as a separately incorporated entity by the Board of Regents. In 2003 the operations and collections of the Art Gallery of Newfoundland and Labrador were transferred to the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador. Since then, the University's curated Permanent Collection has been housed and cared for by The Rooms Corporation of Newfoundland and Labrador's Art Gallery Division. The curated collection is now static -- i.e., there will be no additional acquisitions. A librarian serves in the role of Art Liaison with The Rooms for the permanent collection.

Official University Records — See Information Management policy.

University — Memorial University of Newfoundland.


1.1 The management and development of the Art Collection is directed and supported by the University's vision, mission, and values and overseen by the Advisory Committee on Memorial University's Art Collection, whose Terms of Reference is here.

1.2 Decisions relating to acquisition and deaccessioning of Artwork are the responsibility of the Art Acquisition Committee (Terms of Reference). Decisions on exhibition and loan or other temporary, long-term or permanent display of Art Work from the Art Collection, whether inside buildings or outdoors, as well as reproduction or any other use of the Artwork must be approved by the Curator and meet professional standards for care, reproduction and display of the work.

2.1 Artwork accepted into the Art Collection or on loan to the University must be handled and maintained according to best-practice museological standards. (See Related Documents section.) The University carries insurance policies for the protection of assets, including the Art Collection, as per the Insurance Coverage - Property and Liability policy.

2.2 Providing access to Artwork is balanced against the inherent risk associated with deterioration, damage and theft, such that the safety of the Artwork takes priority when it is not reasonable to provide access, within the resources and facilities of the University.

2.3 An alternative to providing access to Artwork is access to the information about Artwork. Within the reasonable use of resources and compliance with copyright and other regulations, the Curator or the Art Liaison may provide access to images of, and public information about, Artwork in the Art Collection.

2.4 The Curator and the Art Liaison are responsible for ensuring that best museological practices for storage and exhibition facilities are met, including standards for:

  • environmental controls for Gallery and Storage space;
  • secure storage and display,
  • protection against flood, pests, theft, and vandalism; and
  • methods and conditions for the storage of Artwork.

2.5 It is the responsibility of the Curator and the Art Liaison to ensure that best museological practices are met for all aspects of collections management of Artworks, including:

  • displaying and providing study access to Artworks;
  • general art handling, including but not limited to installing and de-installing exhibitions;
  • exhibition and display lighting;
  • tracking location and loan activities;
  • framing, matting, and/or display in cases; and
  • transporting Artwork on or off University premises.

2.6 Only those persons authorized by the Curator or Art Liaison, and trained in art handling, are permitted to handle Artwork in the Art Collection.

2.7 The Curator assesses the physical condition of the Art Collection on an ongoing basis to identify, document and report on Artwork that requires care, conservation and to identify priority cases.

2.8 The Curator ensures an inventory of Artwork at least every five years.

2.9 The Curator or Art Liaison is responsible for initiating any conservation action on Artwork, in consultation with the Advisory Committee on Memorial University's Art Collection. Any conservation work must only be carried out by a qualified conservator or in consultation with a person with appropriate training and expertise.

2.10 Damage to Artwork must be reported, in writing, to the Curator or Art Liaison, who shall update the Art Collection Official University Records, accordingly.

2.11 Theft of Artwork must be reported to the respective campus enforcement office, through the University's Incident Management system. The campus enforcement office must notify the Curator or Art Liaison, who shall update the Art Collection Official University Records, accordingly and follow the Procedure for Reporting Changing Conditions for Insurance.

3.1 The authority for the acquisition of Artwork rests with the Art Acquisition Committee.

3.2 Acceptance of donations of Artwork must be made in accordance with the University's Gift Acceptance policy and related procedures, particularly the Procedure for Appraising and Accepting Outright Gifts. All donations to the Art Collection are normally irrevocable upon the formal transfer of title to the University, determined by the date of signing the gift agreement. The Curator must notify the Office of the Chief Risk Officer when a donation of Art Work has been accepted, in accordance with the Procedure for Reporting Changing Conditions for Insurance.

3.3 Any purchase of Artwork must be approved by the Art Acquisition Committee. Only Artwork of outstanding artistic merit and significance may be purchased. All purchases must satisfy the purpose of the Art Collection and must comply with the Procedure for Procuring Artwork. Commissions of Artworks must be approved by the Art Acquisition Committee prior to the commission being granted. There must be sufficient funds to support all costs related to any purchase or commission, including presentation and long term maintenance costs.

3.4 Any Artworks intended for site-specific, permanent or long-term exhibition, particularly those intended for outdoor locations, entail considerations of location, installation, safety and on-going maintenance. The acquisition, management and care of such public art requires approval of the Art Acquisition Committee, who must consult with the University's Chief Risk Officer and Associate Vice-President (Facilities).

4.1 Because acquisition of an object into the Art Collection is permanent and is a commitment held in public trust in perpetuity, deaccessioning is a rare practice conducted on an exceptional case-by-case basis. Before proceeding to deaccession Artwork, the University may consider offering the work on extended loan to another public institution. Deaccessioning is irrevocable, requires rigorous examination and transparency and must be undertaken in accordance with the Procedure for Deaccessioning of Art.

4.2 The Advisory Committee on Memorial University's Art Collection will recommend any deaccessioning to the President for approval.

5.1 Artwork borrowed from the Art Collection must meet professional care and museological standards, requires use of a loan agreement and must be approved by the Curator or Art Liaison, as either the lender or borrower. See Procedure for Artwork Loans.

5.2 Loans of Artwork are only made to public institutions that can ensure that professional standards of care and conservation are met.

6.1 In addition to compliance with the University's Conflict of Interest policy, members of the Art Acquisition Committee must also comply with practices specific to issues related to Artwork and best art museum practices. See also Art Acquisition Committee's Terms of Reference.

7.1 The Curator shall be the official custodian of records created for the administration of the Art Collection and shall manage those records in accordance with the University's Information Management policy and procedures.

7.2 The Official University Records include but are not limited to:

  • documentation pertaining to the provenance and legal title of an Art Work, including any gift agreements;
  • all correspondence, documents, and other materials pertaining to an accessioned object;
  • accessioning and cataloguing data;
  • photographic documentation;
  • related ephemera;
  • condition and conservation history;
  • current location and loan records; and
  • if necessary, deaccessioning and disposal information

Related Documents

Canadian Legal Framework

Best Museological Practices

International Statutes



For inquiries related to this policy:

Director, Grenfell Campus Art Gallery (709) 637-6209


Vice-President (Grenfell Campus)



Previous Versions:

No previous versions

Policy Amendment History

There are past amendments for this policy:

Date: 2019-05-23 15:12:56
This policy was replaced with a new version. Comment provided: Connected definitions using the definitions from the glossary.
Date: 2022-08-24 15:02:15
This policy was replaced with a new version. Comment provided: 8/24/2022 fix broken links
Date: 2022-08-24 15:38:31
This policy was replaced with a new version. Comment provided: 8/24/2022 updating broken links
Date: 2024-03-05 11:53:00
This policy was replaced with a new version. Comment provided: Updated to include the Advisory Committee on Memorial University's Art Collection Terms of Reference