Australia’s public collecting institutions enrich public life by displaying, interpreting, making accessible and preserving the world’s shared cultural, scientific and historic heritage.
Acquisitions to collections and loans to institutions play a vital role in increasing our society’s understanding of culture. They also increase education and outreach activities and are an important impetus for research. Australian institutions safeguard and protect the cultural property of Australia and other nations. They also develop their collections according to the highest ethical standards and legal requirements. To uphold this commitment, institutions should undertake due diligence to ensure they only acquire or borrow cultural material that has legal title, established provenance, is authentic and not identified as having been looted or illegally obtained or exported.
The Australian Best Practice Guide to Collecting Cultural Material outlines principles and standards to assist Australia’s institutions when considering acquiring cultural material, whether through purchase, gift, bequest or exchange. This guide can be used by collecting institutions when developing their policies and setting out their principles for due diligence research and other processes required when considering an acquisition. Sections of this guide may also apply to cultural material being considered for inward loan.