Donating to the Tweed Museum of Art

Donating to the Tweed Museum of Art | University of Minnesota Duluth

The University of Minnesota’s Tweed Museum of Art (the “Tweed”), on the Duluth campus, welcomes all gifts of significant objects or other works of art for addition and accession to its Permanent Collection (the “Collection”). In accepting donations, the Tweed follows the guidelines of the American Alliance of Museums (the “AAM”), the Association of Art Museum Directors (the “AAMD”), and the International Council of Museums (the “ICOM”).  

These donation principles should help prospective donors decide how best to approach the Tweed to offer to donate an object.    

Compliance. The Tweed is subject to various federal laws governing how it acquires, by donation or purchase, and possesses objects.  The Tweed will comply with all applicable local, state, and federal laws governing the purchase, transfer, and possession of a work of art.  The Tweed also will comply with all applicable treaties and international conventions of which the United States is a party, including but not limited to: the National Stolen Property Act, the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export, and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, and the 1990 Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), and any sanctions enforced by the federal Office of Foreign Assets Control.

  1. For all acquisitions, Tweed specifically acknowledges and follows guidelines outlined in the following: 
    • Declaration on the Importance and Value of Universal Museums, International Council of Museums (ICOM), 2002,
    • Report of the AAMD Task Force on the Acquisition of Archaeological Materials and Ancient Art, Association of Art Museum Directors, 2004, revised 2008, revised 2013,
    • Standards Regarding Archaeological Material and Ancient Art, American Alliance of Museums (AAM), 2008,
    • Report of the AAMD Task Force on the Spoliation of Art during the Nazi Era, AAMD, 1998, amended 2001, 
    • Standards Regarding the Unlawful Appropriation of Objects during the Nazi Era, AAM, 1999, amended 2001,
    • Art Museums and the Identification of Works Stolen by the Nazis, AAMD, 2007, and
    • AIA Code of Ethics, AIA, 2017
  2. The Tweed will decline to accept a donation of an object if it believes in its sole discretion that accepting the donation would violate the law. 
  3. If it discovers that it has acquired an object in violation of law or a generally accepted standard for museums, the Tweed will seek to return the object to its legal owner or shall seek to determine the proper means of disposition through recognized authorities. 


Object to Be Donated. The Tweed will review the object proposed for donation and accession to the Collection using the principles described in this section.  

  1. The object must be consistent with and relevant to the Tweed’s stated purposes, further the University’s educational goals, and align with the Tweed’s missions and collections management policy. 
  2. The object in the Tweed’s opinion (i) must be in an acceptable state of preservation (unless the deteriorated physical condition of the object is integral to its educational value or significance), (ii) in a condition that it may be stored and cared for consistent with generally acceptable museum practices and with the Tweed’s preservation, storage and other resources, and (iii) must not create an unacceptable hazard to personnel or other objects in the museum. 


 Provenance. The Tweed must be fully satisfied with the provenance of an object to be donated for accession to the Collection.

  1. For all proposed donations, donors should provide a verifiable record of authenticity and associated documentation (provenance records, photographs, field notes, diaries, etc.) related to their original collection. However, exceptions may be made for objects meeting specific teaching or research needs, for all proposed donations. Only works for which a clear title can be established will be considered for acquisition. The Tweed will not knowingly acquire objects that have been illegally exported or unethically collected and removed from their country or society of origin. The provenance of acquired items shall be a matter of public record.
  2. The Tweed will not generally acquire an object in the absence of provenance research substantiating that the work was outside its country of modern discovery before November 17, 1970 (UNESCO Convention) or legally exported from its country of modern discovery after November 17, 1970; if, after extensive research, an object’s documented ownership history back to November 17, 1970 remains incomplete, the Tweed may acquire the work based on substantial evidence that the work was outside its probable country of modern discovery before November 17, 1970 or legally exported from its probable country of modern discovery after November 17, 1970.
  3. The Tweed follows the AAM guidelines concerning the unlawful appropriation of objects during the Nazi era (Standards Regarding the Unlawful Appropriation of Objects during the Nazi Era, AAM, 1999, amended 2001). Tweed will take all reasonable steps to resolve the Nazi Era provenance status of objects before acquiring works for the Collection and may request that donors, sellers, or estate executors provide as much provenance information as they have available, regarding the Nazi era. Where the Nazi Era provenance is incomplete or uncertain for a proposed acquisition, the museum will consider what additional research would be prudent or necessary to resolve the Nazi Era provenance status of the object before taking custody of or acquiring it. In the absence of evidence of unlawful appropriation without subsequent restitution, the Tweed may proceed with the acquisition. If credible evidence of unlawful appropriation without subsequent restitution is discovered, the Tweed will notify the donor, seller, or estate executor of the nature of the evidence and will not proceed with the acquisition of the object until further action to resolve these issues. Under certain circumstances, the acquisition of objects with uncertain provenance may reveal further information about the object and may facilitate the possible resolution of its status. In such circumstances, the Tweed may choose to proceed with the acquisition after determining that it would be lawful, appropriate, and prudent provided that currently available object and provenance information is made public as soon as practicable after the acquisition. 


Donation Process. The Tweed will follow the process described in this section in deciding whether to accept a donation

  1. The Tweed reserves the right to accept a donation of an object in its sole discretion and the right to change its process and procedures for considering an object for donation.  
  2. The director, curator, and registrar of the Tweed will review all objects to be donated.  They will evaluate the importance of the proposed acquisition in terms of teaching, research, and curricular needs, review, as relevant, authenticity, attribution, and appropriateness to the Collection, and consider pertinent legal issues such as questions of ownership, provenance, and copyright. Given the extensive research involved, an examination period of up to six months before making a final decision may be required.  After the examination, the Tweed Acquisition Committee will decide whether to approve the acceptance of a donation.  The committee includes University of Minnesota Duluth faculty, (museum) staff and students, local residents, and other prominent friends of the Tweed. 
  3. The Tweed will not promise to display, perpetually hold, or maintain as part of a single collection an object to be donated.   
  4. The Tweed will not accept conditional, terminable, or revocable gifts.   All donations to Tweed’s collections are irrevocable upon the formal and physical transfer of the work.
  5. The Tweed will accept future donations of an object or donations for a limited, explicit period of time.  
  6. The Tweed will accept the donation of an object only under an effective legal Deed of Gift or other instrument of conveyance, signed by the donor/seller/agent, that includes an unconditional warranty of free, clear, and unencumbered title, an adequate description of the object, and the precise conditions of the donation.
    If the donor holds the copyright in the object, the Tweed will request the donor assign or grant the Tweed a royalty-free license to exercise the donor’s federal and international copyrights in the object. 
  7. Consistent with federal tax law, the Tweed will not provide the donor an appraisal of the value of an object to be donated.