The Museum of Anthropological Archaeology encourages the use of its collections for research in all fields and with a wide variety of research methods. In order to maximize the research potential of the Museum’s collections, in some circumstances it may be appropriate to remove samples, conduct invasive tests, or otherwise impact the substance of items in the collections. Decisions regarding the appropriateness of such requests must balance the legitimate needs of the scientific and scholarly community with the long-term preservation of the collections for future needs—including future research needs that might be constrained by current sampling or invasive tests. Proposals from all researchers are reviewed on a case-by-case basis. The Curator in charge of the materials can accept the proposal, reject the proposal or ask for additional information from the researcher until satisfied with the proposal. When the Curator finds the proposal acceptable, the Curator will present a written summary of the project to the Executive Committee of the Museum for final approval.
The Museum is under no obligation to provide any material for destructive analysis. Some specimens inthe Museum’s collections are not available for analysis, including specimens judged too fragile or tooenvironmentally sensitive to travel, current research materials, and specimens needed for teaching at theMuseum. In some instances, a pilot project may be required before full access to collections will beapproved. This will be determined by either the Curator in charge of the collection or the ExecutiveCommittee of the Museum. In a pilot project, the researcher will be granted permission to use a portion ofthe requested samples to determine if results are achievable. Based on the pilot project results, theExecutive Committee will then consider the request for additional materials.
If the collection being requested is a Federally-owned collection, permission for destructive analysis also must
come from the owning Federal agency. It is the responsibility of the researcher to contact the owning federal agency for permission prior to any work being completed.
For collections that fall under the requirements of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), University policies and procedures require that additional permission be obtained. Destructive analysis on collections considered culturally identifiable requires the express written consent of the lineal descendants, or the affiliated Indian Tribes or Native Hawaiian Organizations. Destructive analysis on collections considered culturally unidentified requires the consent of the Indian Tribes and Native Hawaiian Organizations considered to have aboriginal standing to submit a claim or request under NAGPRA. Additional information on the process for obtaining permission to conduct research on NAGPRA-related collections can be found at the University’s NAGPRA website: www.nagpra.umich.edu.
In some instances, a pilot project may be required before full access to collections will be approved. This will be determined by either the Curator in charge of the collection or the Executive Committee of the Museum. In a pilot project, the researcher will be granted permission to use a portion of the requested samples to determine if results are achievable. Based on the pilot project results, the Executive Committee will then consider the request for additional materials.