State-Approved Museums and Curatorial Repositories
According to the Historical, Prehistorical, and Archaeological Resources Act of 1973 (as amended 1990; C.R.S. 24-80-401ff), the State of Colorado claims title to all artifacts and fossil specimens recovered from State, county, city, town, district, or other political subdivision of State lands. Most State artifacts and fossil collections are held in trust as part of a collaborative partnership with county and local museums or curatorial repositories to ensure long-term preservation and interpretation of these items. These institutions help to preserve, interpret and promote the natural and cultural inheritance of humanity in Colorado and work in close collaboration with the communities from which their collections originate as well as those they serve. These collections are managed consistent with the standards stipulated in the Rules and Procedures of Section 9 of 8 CCR 1504-7. Those holding archaeological or paleontological collecting permits are required to facilitate the curation of recovered artifacts and specimens with an approved museum, curatorial repository or an on-site repository.
Allowed Practices for Approved Museums/Curatorial Repositories
Approved museums or curatorial repositories and History Colorado may charge a competitive deposit fee for the collections and reasonable administrative processing fees for “curation” or similarly worded “intent-to-curate” agreements with permittees (see the State rules and procedures).
Approved museums or curatorial repositories may fully exhibit and charge reasonable nondiscriminatory admission fees to view these items prepared for interpretive display (see the State rules and procedures).
Approved museums may photograph and nondestructively study the state collection (see the State rules and procedures).
A held-in-trust state collection may be loaned out by an approved museum or curatorial repository to other institutions and organizations (including for temporary exhibition) by securing a loan agreement between the other facilities (see the State rules and procedures).
All approved museums, curatorial repositories, on-site agencies, or institutions holding state collections are encouraged to enhance their collections management care and their facility space requirements for the state collection to achieve, maintain or exceed their reputable status.
Approved museums, curatorial repositories, on-site agencies, or institutions holding state collections may consider applying for project specific collection needs from the State Historical Fund and seek other funding sources to enhance the collections care of these held-in-trust state collections.
Other sources of assistance available to approved museums/repositories may be contracting or negotiating use by current university museum studies students, museum professional consulting firms or utilizing trained volunteer members from established state nonprofit organizations such as the Colorado Archaeological Society or the Western Interior Paleontological Society.
Office of the State Archaeologist Support and Mentoring
The Office of the State Archaeologist’s State Curation Coordinator provides guidance to current and previously approved museums, curatorial repositories, on-site agencies, or institutions related to the care of held-in-trust collections.
The Office of the State Archaeologist's State Curation Coordinator manages the reporting needs of held-in-trust collections with approved museums, curatorial repositories, on-site agencies or institutions.
With available data, the Office of the State Archaeologist's State Curation Coordinator links (PDF/A OCR, Excel spreadsheet) held-in-trust collection’s inventories to the state’s cultural resource database to aid researchers in locating collections.
The Office of the State Archaeologist facilitates a university collections internship program and offers volunteer training opportunities for state collections-care.
The Office of the State Archaeologist also promotes the study and public exhibition of held-in-trust collections to researchers and museum studies students whenever possible.
The Society for American Archaeology (SAA), the largest international organization dedicated to the research, interpretation, and protection of the archaeological heritage of the Americas recently released Guidelines for Preparing Legacy Archaeological Collections for Curation. The guidelines provide an overview of tasks and considerations that are necessary prior to transferring collections to a repository.