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 Post subject: Re: Sale of Railcar by 501 c(3) society
PostPosted: Tue Jul 23, 2019 9:47 am 

Joined: Tue Aug 31, 2004 3:04 pm
Posts: 116
Location: San Jose, CA
John T wrote:
Your standard deed of gift should include language stating that the gift is free and clear and the institution can do what it likes with the donated object. A local museum, early on, was lumbered with many duplicate objects because the donners required they be kept forever.
This was during the "we'll take anything" faze. As the curator later said "How many straight razors do you need?"

As to the original question, you should be safe selling the car as long as the money is properly spent and accounted for.


Documention is the key.

We recently revised our DofG to expressly state any donated item is ours to decide upon including selling or trashing. Conversely, I recently accepted a donation of Neon signs from a well recognized corporation who included language that the signs would be returned if the museum deems them of no value to the collection. I agreed because that likely will never happen.

When deaccessing, it is best to go through all of the paperwork tied to the artifact to ensure there is no problems. And yes, it is a pain. We recently deacessed 3500 items, mostly stained or frayed textiles. A good portion had no clear DofG; yet per our collections policy, we had to make the effort...and document it!


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 Post subject: Re: Sale of Railcar by 501 c(3) society
PostPosted: Wed Jul 24, 2019 6:40 am 

Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2013 12:36 am
Posts: 337
Location: Anchorage, Alaska
It's been a while since I had reason to refer to them, but your board member's concerns may be derived from the ethical standards of the American Association of Museums (now American Alliance of Museums). See the section on collections in their code of ethics at https://www.aam-us.org/programs/ethics- ... r-museums/

While this code of ethics only applies directly to organizational members of the AAM, it is worth reviewing by the board of any museum.


Last edited by Dick_Morris on Wed Jul 24, 2019 12:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Sale of Railcar by 501 c(3) society
PostPosted: Wed Jul 24, 2019 10:28 am 

Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 1:37 pm
Posts: 1142
While we are here: I make the suggestion that the link to

https://www.aam-us.org/programs/ethics-standards-and-professional-practices/code-of-ethics-for-museums/

be made a 'sticky' with some appropriate title.

_________________
R.M.Ellsworth


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 Post subject: Re: Sale of Railcar by 501 c(3) society
PostPosted: Tue Aug 06, 2019 6:53 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 14, 2014 11:44 pm
Posts: 50
Bowmore wrote:
We have a rail car we would like to sell, and one of the board members said it was complicated because we were a non profit organization. I do not think that is true, but I need advice from much wiser folks here.
Thank you.



The AAM code of ethics says that if you sell something which is part of your collection (as opposed to trade or donate to another non-profit) then the net profit needs to go back into your collection, not be used to pay for general expenses. That's a very condensed version.


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 Post subject: Re: Sale of Railcar by 501 c(3) society
PostPosted: Tue Aug 06, 2019 8:41 pm 

Joined: Sat Mar 30, 2013 2:05 am
Posts: 57
Location: Glen Ellyn, IL
Heavenrich wrote:
Bowmore wrote:
We have a rail car we would like to sell, and one of the board members said it was complicated because we were a non profit organization. I do not think that is true, but I need advice from much wiser folks here.
Thank you.


I don't know where your board member is getting his information, but it doesn't sound right to me.

It's a common practice for museums to sell assets and they often use the proceeds to upgrade their collections (think sale of a painting by an art museum.

Assuming, you're carrying this car on you books as a fixed asset, all you have to do is report it on the 990 as a sale of assets and unless there are donor restrictions or your bylaws or articles of incorporation prohibit it, it doesn't matter who you sell it to.

I strongly recommend, as others have stated, you
consult with a CPA proficient in non profit accounting before going any farther with this.

Bob H


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