Deaccessioning in France

French museums have had strict acquisition criteria since Napoleonic times. All objects that enter the museum inventory are therefore regarded as classified, important cultural heritage.

If a museum wants to declassify an object, making it eligible for disposal, it is arranged by law that the Commission Scientifique Nationale de Collections (CSNC) must reflect upon this request. The commission will try to research all possible other options first, before agreeing on declassification. Transfer between museums is not regarded as a form of disposal. For all Musées de France, the answer of the commission is binding.

If an object were to be declassified from the national heritage list, the museum responsible for the management of it, is free to act as thought appropriate, not excluding sale.

Within the French museum field, there is still a strong presumption against declassification and disposal. The CSNC has never since its existence (2010) received a request.

Country details for France

Official name:French Republic
Number of residents:66,9 million
Number of museums:1,218
Parameters:Legislation, Classification systems, National register of objects, and Accreditation scheme

Deaccessioning possibilities in France:


The possibility of declassification has been presented in the

Specific articles referring to deaccessioning are

Code du Patrimoine Article L. 451-5



According to the French Ministry of Culture, the law provides enough guidance for museums to start the declassification process.

Code du Patrimoine Article L115-1


France does not have other tools regarding deaccessioning and disposal.


France has a classification system for museum objects. All objects that enter a museum inventory are directly classified.


The Ministry of Culture holds, via the Service des Musees a list of classified objects from all Musées de France.


France has an official accreditation scheme, called Appellation Musée de France that is administered bij the Service des Musées, a national agency that is part of the Ministry of Culture.


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