Deaccessioning Parameters

During the research,  different parameters were found that facilitate (or not) the deaccessioning and disposal process.

Here the 6 most important are displayed:

  • Legislation
  • Classification systems
  • National registers of museum objects
  • Guidelines on deaccessioning
  • Other tools on deaccessioning
  • Accreditation schemes


Legislation on deaccessioning and disposal is found in 25 countries in Europe. Legislation can be strict, like France and Greece (the more Latin countries) that adhere to the principle of inalienability of museum objects, or more progressive, like Sweden and Flanders, where the notion of deaccesssioning is mentioned, but the form of the process is left to the museums themselves

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In the European Union, there are six countries with official deaccessioning guidelines on deaccessioning and disposal:

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Besides guidelines, countries and institutes can develop other tools to facilitate the deaccessioning and disposal process, such as collection reviews and online databases.


Some European countries work with classification systems in their legislation. This means that all museum objects that are added to a national, regional or local museum inventory are automatically classified and thus protected by law. Nine European countries work with this system.

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Fifteen countries in Europe are required to maintain these all-encompassing registration lists. This means that all objects that are found in museum inventories, need to be registered in a list, administered by a national entity. Once in a few years (depending on the country) this list needs to be refreshed.

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An accreditation scheme for museums is a scheme that ‘sets out nationally-agreed standards, which inspire the confidence of the public and funding and governing bodies. It enables museums to assess their current performance, as well as supporting them to plan and develop their services.’ (Arts Council UK). In Europe, there are 11 countries that have it. Some countries that have an accreditation scheme, oblige museums to have a deaccessioning policy.

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Parameters per country