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Deaccessions & Disposals

This page addresses how and when artifacts may transfer to other organizations from the Museum collection, if you were looking for information on how to donate, please click below.

The Museum plays an important role in the collection and preservation of artifacts as well as aircraft. The acquisition of each new item comes along with an expectation of responsible care for the item, to safeguard a piece of history. From time to time however, it is necessary to review those items that have been collected to assess if they remain relevant to our mission. We must ask ourselves: “Are we the best place to care for this item? Is this item a part of our plan to engage and educate moving forward?”

Our Museum honors the heroes who built, flew and maintained America’s military aircraft. By sharing their stories through exhibitions and events, we promote an understanding of history, science, service and sacrifice that will inspire and educate visitors of all ages. And the scope of our Museum experiences, collections and programs is shaped by our belief in the significance of the time period which begins in WWI and ends at the conclusion of WWII, when America emerged as a world power willing to fight to guarantee the freedom of others. Our scope is further defined by our interpretation of the aircraft as the seminal reflection of major advances, both socially and technologically, within the United States at the time. This forms the assessment matrix which determines when items are either added or subtracted from the collection.

The Process

Deaccessioning is a part of collections development, because the aircraft which leave the collection will allow space and resources to be reallocated to other aircraft, whether new, or perhaps approaching completion as projects. There is obviously a delicate balance between the stewardship of historical resources and the occasional necessity to find new homes for them.

The priority of our disposal process is to allow artifacts to remain available to the public whenever possible, while also striving to avoid the loss of historical items where possible. The potential disposal outcomes are outlined below:

  • Transfer to another Museum through sale or trade
  • Transfer to a private collection / individual through sale or trade
  • Return to Original Donor
  • Destruction (only when an item has deteriorated beyond any possible future use, or must be disposed of for health and safety reasons).

The sale of an aircraft will yield funds which are solely restricted for use within the Museum collection to complete restorations or to purchase another artifact. These funds are forbidden from being transferred for Museum operations or maintenance use.
All such transactions are reviewed and approved by the Museum’s board, following the input of a collections committee comprised of Museum Staff and lead by our Curatorial team. The primary purpose of the committee is to assist the Board of Directors to ensure that acquisitions and disposals are carried out for the public benefit and to comply with the professional standards of the Museum sector.

The Deaccession List

Our singular priority with the aircraft on this list is to ensure that each finds a good home, which can make the highest and most effective use of the aircraft as an artifact. A standard of continuous care is important to describe in a successful application, as is the plan for continued display, or use for public benefit.

A 1989 Classic Aircraft Corp Waco YMF which has been used for Museum rides is ready for a new home. It has been assessed as surplus to the Museum collection because it is of post-war production and is in Civilian configuration. Removing it from the collection is intended to allow for the introduction of additional…