Museum Policies

Guest Policy

General Provisions

The security and safety of Museum of the Bible’s (MOTB) guests, volunteers, staff, and collections are of the highest importance. MOTB has adopted and will enforce rules and regulations that may be necessary and appropriate to provide a safe and secure environment.

MOTB may amend, modify, or withdraw any of their rules and regulations at any time if the organization deems it in its best interest to do so. As a private institution, MOTB may exercise the foregoing rights at any time without notice and without liability.

Rules and Regulations

The following rules and regulations are deemed necessary to ensure the orderly and safe operation of MOTB Property.

Access to MOTB

Access to administrative facilities or restricted areas is limited to authorized MOTB Staff only. MOTB reserves the right to limit access to any of its public facilities and guest areas as it deems fit. MOTB reserves the right to limit, on an as-needed basis, the length of time guests can spend on its property. MOTB reserves the right to close any or all its public spaces due to severe weather or other causes, as needed, and without advanced notice.


Trespassing, entering, or remaining in or upon MOTB Property not open to the public, except with the express consent of MOTB Staff, is prohibited. Any access onto or within any adjacent area under construction or closed to the public is also prohibited.

Storage Services

All MOTB guests must check umbrellas and any other objects deemed by MOTB Staff to be a danger to the exhibits and/or artifacts at Coat Check. MOTB will provide limited storage for allowable guests’ belongings at the Coat Check located off the Grand Hall. All items must be retrieved from Coat Check no later than fifteen (15) minutes prior to the closing of the museum.

Unattended bags or belongings found anywhere on MOTB Property will be subject to search and removal by MOTB Security Staff. MOTB is not responsible for unattended bags or belongings.

Public Restroom Access

Access to public restrooms inside MOTB is intended for MOTB guests only.

Restroom access for non-MOTB ticket holders in extenuating situations may be granted at the sole discretion of MOTB Security Staff. In such cases, the guest must enter through the main public entrance on 4th Street, pass through security screening, and be escorted to/from the restroom area by MOTB Security Staff.

Re-Entry Into MOTB

Guests are welcome to leave the museum and re-enter for any reason within the same day of their visit. All guests wishing to re-enter must have their tickets stamped by a Guest Services associate on their way out. Upon re-entry, these guests may bypass the entry line at the main public entrance on 4th Street and proceed directly to the Security Vestibule to undergo security screening again.

Conformity with Official Signage

While on MOTB Property, guests shall comply with all official posted signs and regulations.

Interfering with MOTB Staff Functions

Violating the order of or preventing the execution of duties by MOTB Staff in any capacity is prohibited.

Threatening, resisting, intimidating, or intentionally interfering with MOTB Staff is prohibited.

Failure to obey an order to leave MOTB Property, or to re-enter MOTB Property after being removed, is also prohibited.


MOTB does not permit any unauthorized individual or group of individuals to gather, conduct, or sell paid tours inside of the museum.

Groups who have paid their museum admission fee may conduct tours for members of their group. These tours must adhere to and are subject to all other MOTB guidelines.

The museum does not sanction the content or accuracy of any information provided on any tour that is not conducted by a Museum of the Bible tour guide.

Report of Injury or Damage

All persons suffering bodily injury on MOTB Property, or having knowledge of damage to MOTB Property, are required to report the occurrence(s) to MOTB Staff immediately following the incident. Providing a false report to MOTB Staff is prohibited.

Prohibited Behavior and Disorderly Conduct

Appropriate behavior and conduct is required to provide an informative and meaningful experience for all guests.

Dismissal from MOTB is warranted upon MOTB’s Staff’s determination that a guest has engaged in disorderly or prohibited conduct. Disorderly conduct may include, but is not limited to, any of the following prohibited acts by guests occurring anywhere on MOTB Property:

  1. Any conduct or behavior deemed inappropriate by MOTB staff
  2. MOTB does not permit any unauthorized individual or group of individuals to gather, conduct, or sell paid tours inside of the museum. See Tours section above for more information.
  3. Engaging in sporting and recreational activities
  4. Making noise that is unreasonable, or behaving in a way that is inappropriate (loud, abusive, or otherwise improper language or perform or engage in obscene or indecent acts)
  5. Engaging in fighting, violent, or threatening behavior
  6. Engaging in commercial activities, soliciting, leafleting, hand billing, and/or vending
  7. Loitering or sleeping (including on any of the benches inside the building)
  8. Bathing
  9. For safety and health reasons, appropriate attire and shoes must be worn at all times.
  10. Obstructing the use of public areas such as entrances, foyers, lobbies, corridors, concourses, offices, elevators, stairways, roadways, driveways, hallways, or walkways
  11. Throwing or dropping any items from or at buildings or persons, or from or at any of the MOTB overlook levels
  12. Interfering with or obstructing authorized vehicular traffic
  13. Impeding or threatening the security of persons or property
  14. Willfully defacing, destroying, damaging, or removing MOTB Property
  15. Smoking (including e-cigarettes and vapors) is prohibited inside MOTB and within twenty-five (25) feet of museum entrances
  16. Gambling
  17. Use of lighters, matches, and candles
  18. Tampering with, damaging, and/or removing any MOTB property including, but not limited to, exhibit and or artifact elements
  19. Demonstrations, protests, or rallies (or display and/or carry placards, signs, banners, barriers, or balloons)
  20. Littering
  21. Eating and/or drinking inside MOTB except in designated areas
  22. Spitting
  23. Use of tripods, monopods, and selfie sticks

Security Screening and Prohibited Items

All guests and baggage are subject to security screening. Please consider leaving any prohibited or oversized items at home or at the hotel to speed entry. Permissible baggage, handbags, backpacks, shopping bags, and belongings for guests is limited to 8” x 17” x 19” per item. No baggage larger than 8” x 17” x 19” will be permitted into the museum.

All museum guests will pass through magnetometers. Alternative screening techniques, including hand-wanding, are also available.

Guests are prohibited from bringing the following items onto MOTB Property:

  1. Any item deemed inappropriate by MOTB Staff
  2. Marking instruments including spray paint, liquid paint, glass cutters and/or other items that could be used to mark, dye/color, scratch, gouge or otherwise deface property by mechanical or chemical means
  3. Hazardous materials of any kind
  4. Weapons and tools including firearms, realistic replicas of firearms (to include toy guns), ammunition, stun guns, large cutting devices, razor blade tools, knives or scissors (with pointed tips) with a blade that is larger than 2.5 inches, brass knuckles (to include belt buckles resembling brass knuckles), any martial arts weapon(s), slapjacks
  5. Disabling chemicals, including mace, pepper spray, tear gas, chlorine, liquid bleach, or compressed gasses.
  6. Explosives, including fireworks
  7. Noise making or amplification devices, including but not limited to, radios, bull horns, and musical instruments
  8. Alcoholic beverages (factory sealed containers will be allowed to be stored at coat check)
  9. Controlled substances or narcotics which use is strictly prohibited by governmental regulation
  10. Glass bottles
  11. Placards, signs, posters, banners, barriers, balloons, rope, wire of any kind, tape or any device used to attach or hang posters onto any structure
  12. Animals/Pets (Except for service animals)
  13. Food and/or drink (except for water and food in a sealed container)
  14. Wagons, bicycles, skateboards, or recreational scooters (powered or manual)
  15. Coolers of any size.
  16. Any flags on poles or sticks that cannot be stored in a backpack
  17. Any other potentially dangerous instruments, armaments or devices which can cause bodily harm to guests, MOTB Staff, or others, and/or physical harm to MOTB property; or any items specifically prohibited to possess as per law in Washington, D.C.

Photography, Videography, and Audio Recordings

MOTB Staff reserves the right to refuse access and/or photo, video, or audio recording rights to any guest or group, at anytime, anywhere on MOTB Property.

Any guests on MOTB Property, including members of the press/news media, must respect all other guests, and must also realize that not all guests wish to be photographed, videotaped, recorded, or bothered in any other manner.

The following are prohibited on MOTB property, unless otherwise authorized by MOTB’s communications department:

  1. Taking photographs, videos, and/or audio recordings for advertising or commercial purposes, which includes, but is not limited to, publishing, selling, reproducing, transferring, distributing, or otherwise commercially exploiting the recorded media in any manner whatsoever
  2. Using tripods and/or professional camera and/or audio recording equipment
  3. If professional camera and/or audio recording equipment is officially authorized for use on MOTB Property, then it is done so on-site at the discretion of MOTB Security Staff.

Inside MOTB, personal photos, video, and/or audio recordings are permitted for private, noncommercial use only, with one exception noted below, and in all cases so long as the activity does not impede pedestrian traffic in any way:

  1. The use of flash is prohibited in all MOTB areas.

Animals and Pets Access

Animals and pets are not allowed on, or inside, MOTB Property (except for service animals).

Sanitation and Refuse

All guests on MOTB Property must dispose of personal refuse and items for recycling in designated receptacles only. Removing objects from trash receptacles is prohibited.

MOTB Artifacts and Exhibitions

Touching any artifact or exhibition item inside MOTB is prohibited, unless expressly authorized by MOTB Staff, or as posted.

Willful Violation

Any person who violates any provision of MOTB Guest Rules and Regulations is subject to dismissal from MOTB Property. In such cases where warranted, the Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia (MPDC) will be contacted for assistance and criminal charges filed.


To report an emergency or suspicious item or activity (See Something, Say Something), immediately inform the nearest Security Officer or Staff Member.

Privacy Policy

1. Introduction

Museum of the Bible, Inc. (hereinafter “MOTB”) is committed to protecting the privacy and security of your personal information. This privacy policy describes how we collect and use your personal information and data, in accordance with the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). It applies to all guests and visitors, known through this document as “data subjects.” MOTB is a "data controller.” This means that we are responsible for deciding how we hold and use personal information about you. We are required under data protection legislation to notify you of the information contained in this privacy statement. This statement applies to data subjects. This statement does not form part of any contract to provide services. We may update this statement at any time. It is important that you read this statement, together with any other privacy statement we may provide on specific occasions when we are collecting or processing personal information about you, so that you are aware of how and why we are using such information.

1.1 Data protection principles

We will comply with data protection law. This says that the personal information we hold about you must be:

  1. Used lawfully, fairly and in a transparent way.
  2. Collected only for valid purposes that we have clearly explained to you and not used in any way that is incompatible with those purposes.
  3. Relevant to the purposes we have told you about and limited only to those purposes.
  4. Accurate and kept up to date.
  5. Kept only as long as necessary for the purposes we have told you about.
  6. Kept securely.

1.2 The kind of information we may hold about you

Personal data, or personal information, means any information about an individual from which that person can be identified. It does not include data where the identity has been removed (anonymous data).

There are "special categories" of more sensitive personal data which require a higher level of protection.

We may collect, store, and use the following categories of personal information about you:

  • Personal contact details such as name, title, addresses, telephone numbers, and personal email addresses.
  • Date of birth.
  • Gender.
  • Marital status.
  • Tax ID number.
  • Bank account details, payroll records and tax status information.
  • Driver’s License or Passport information.
  • Tokenized credit card data.
  • Grievance information.
  • Information about your use of our information and communications systems.
  • It is possible we may also collect, store and use the following "special categories" of more sensitive personal information:
  • Information about your race, ethnicity or religious beliefs.
  • Information about your health, including but not limited to any medical conditions, food allergies.

1.3 Information about you if you transact as a guest

Certain limited services are available without being required to log in to or establish an account, also referred to as guest transactions. We will collect personal data, information about any funding instrument used to complete a guest transaction, device information, technical usage data, and geolocation information as necessary to provide the requested guest transactions. If you are an account holder and choose to make a guest transaction, we will collect information about the transaction and may associate it with your account. If you are not an account holder and choose to make a guest transaction, we will collect and store all information you provide and use and share such information in accordance with this Privacy Policy.

1.4 How is your personal information collected?

We collect personal information about data subjects through various methods, for example, from ticket sales, donations, gift shop purchases, online gift store purchases, membership registration, receipts, employee or vendor payments, photo ID, etc. Either directly from data subjects or sometimes from a third party acting on our behalf (for example through a booking agency, travel agent or corporate account).

1.5 How we will use information about you

We will only use your personal information when the law allows us. Most commonly, we will use your personal information in the following circumstances:

  1. Where we need to perform the contract we have entered into with you.
  2. Where we need to comply with a legal obligation.
  3. Where it is necessary for our legitimate business interests (or those of a third party) and your interests and fundamental rights do not override those interests.
  4. Where you have given us explicit consent to do so.

1.6 We may also use your personal information in the following situations, which are likely to be rare:

  • Where we need to protect your interests (or someone else's interests).
  • Where it is needed in the public interest or for official purposes or requested for by the police or governmental authorities.

1.7 Situations in which we will use your personal information

We need all the categories of information in the list above primarily to allow us to perform our contract and services with you and to enable us to comply with legal obligations. In some cases, we may use your personal information to pursue legitimate business interests of our own or those of third parties.

  • Administering the contract, we have entered into with you.
  • Business management and planning, including accounting and auditing.
  • Making decisions about grievances.
  • Making arrangements for the termination of a contract.
  • Dealing with legal disputes and insurance claims.
  • Complying with health and safety obligations.
  • To prevent fraud.

To monitor your use of our information and communication systems to ensure compliance with our IT policy, GDPA standards, and laws of the land.

To ensure network and information security, including preventing unauthorized access to our computer and electronic communications systems and preventing malicious software distribution.

To conduct data analytics studies to review and better understand customer satisfaction and needs.

Some of the above grounds for processing will overlap and there may be several grounds which justify our use of your personal information.

1.8 If you fail to provide personal information

If you fail to provide certain information when requested, we may not be able to perform the services you are seeking, or contract we have entered into with you, or we may be prevented from complying with our legal obligations (such as to ensure the health and safety of our visitors).

2. Change of purpose

We will only use your personal information for the purposes for which we collected it, unless we reasonably consider that we need to use it for other compelling business reasons and that reason is compatible with the original purpose. If we need to use your personal information for an unrelated purpose, we will notify you and we will explain the legal basis which allows us to do so.

Please note that we may process your personal information without your knowledge or consent, in compliance with the above rules, where this is required or permitted by law.

3. How we use particularly sensitive personal information

"Special categories" of particularly sensitive personal information require higher levels of protection. We need to have further justification for collecting, storing and using this type of personal information. We may process special categories of personal information in the following circumstances:

  1. In limited circumstances, with your explicit written consent;
  2. Where we need to carry out our legal obligations;
  3. Where it is needed in the public interest, such as for requested by police or governmental authorities.

Less commonly, we may process this type of information where it is needed in relation to legal claims or where it is needed to protect your interests (or someone else's interests) and you are not capable of giving your consent, or where you have already made the information public.

4. Principles of GDPR

We will use your personal data only in connection with the following principles:

  1. Lawfulness, fairness and transparency
  2. Purpose limitation
  3. Data minimization
  4. Accuracy
  5. Storage limitation
  6. Integrity and confidentiality

This is the only principle that deals explicitly with security. The GDPR states that personal data must be “processed in a manner that ensures appropriate security of the personal data, including protection against unauthorized or unlawful processing and against accidental loss, destruction or damage, using appropriate technical or organizational measures”.

The GDPR is deliberately vague about what measures organizations should take, because technological and organizational best practices are constantly changing. Currently, organizations should encrypt and/or pseudonymize personal data wherever possible, but they should also consider whatever other options are suitable.

4.1 Do we need your consent?

We do not need your consent if we use special categories of your personal information in accordance with our written policy to carry out our legal obligations or exercise specific rights. In limited circumstances, we may approach you for your written consent to allow us to process certain particularly sensitive data. If we do so, we will provide you with full details of the information that we would like and the reason we need it, so that you can carefully consider whether you wish to consent. You should be aware that it is not a condition of your contract with us that you agree to any request for consent from us.

4.2 Automated decision-making

Automated decision-making takes place when an electronic system uses personal information to make a decision without human intervention.

We do not envisage that any decisions will be taken about you using automated means, however we will notify you in writing if this position changes.

4.3 Data sharing

We may have to share your data with third parties, including third-party service providers.

We require appointed third parties to respect the security of your data and to treat it in accordance with the law.

We may transfer your personal information outside of the EU.

We have a nominated a GDPR representative within the European Union, who can be contacted directly (

If we do, you can expect the same degree of protection in respect of your personal information.

4.4 Why might you share my personal information with third parties?

We will share your personal information with third parties where required by law, or where we have another legitimate business interest in doing so, or when we have your explicit consent.

Which third-party service providers process my personal information?

"Third parties" includes third-party service providers (including contractors and designated agents).

How secure is my information with third-party service providers?

All our third-party service providers are required to take appropriate security measures to protect your personal information in line with our policies. We do not allow our third-party service providers to use your personal data for their own purposes. We only permit them to process your personal data for specified purposes and in accordance with our instructions.

4.5 What about other third parties?

We may share your personal information with other third parties, for example in the context of the possible sale or restructuring of the business. We may also need to share your personal information with a regulator or to otherwise comply with the law.

4.6 Transferring information outside the EU

We will transfer the personal information we collect about you to our corporate headquarters in order to perform our contract with you, or with your explicit consent.

To ensure that your personal information does receive an adequate level of protection we have put in place the strong security measures to ensure that your personal information is treated by those third parties in a way that is consistent with and which respects the EU and UK laws on data protection: Pursuant to GDPR article 3(2) and article 27.

5. Data security

We have put in place measures to protect the security of your information.

Third parties will only process your personal information on our instructions and where they have agreed to treat the information confidentially, legally and securely.

We have put in place appropriate security measures to prevent your personal information from being accidentally lost, used or accessed in an unauthorized way, altered or disclosed. In addition, we limit access to your personal information to those employees, agents, contractors and other third parties who have a business need to know. They will only process your personal information on our instructions and they are subject to a duty of confidentiality.

We have put in place procedures to deal with any suspected data security breach and will notify you and any applicable regulator of a suspected breach where we are legally required to do so.

6. Data retention

6.1 How long will you use my information for?

We will only retain your personal information for as long as necessary to fulfil the purposes we collected it for, including for the purposes of satisfying any legal, accounting, or reporting requirements. To determine the appropriate retention period for personal data, we consider the amount, nature, and sensitivity of the personal data, the potential risk of harm from unauthorized use or disclosure of your personal data, the purposes for which we process your personal data and whether we can achieve those purposes through other means, and the applicable legal requirements.

In some circumstances we may anonymize your personal information so that it can no longer be associated with you, in which case we may use such information without further statement to you.

7. Rights of access, correction, erasure, and restriction

7.1 Your duty to inform us of changes

It is important that the personal information we hold about you is accurate and current. Please keep us informed if your personal information changes during your relationship with us.

7.2 Your rights in connection with personal information

Under certain circumstances, by law you have the right to:

Request access to your personal information (commonly known as a "data subject access request"). This enables you to receive a copy of the personal information we hold about you and to check that we are lawfully processing it.

Request correction of the personal information that we hold about you. This enables you to have any incomplete or inaccurate information we hold about you corrected.

Request erasure of your personal information. This enables you to ask us to delete or remove personal information where there is no good reason for us continuing to process it. You also have the right to ask us to delete or remove your personal information where you have exercised your right to object to processing (see below).

Object to processing of your personal information where we are relying on a legitimate interest (or those of a third party) and there is something about your particular situation which makes you want to object to processing on this ground. You also have the right to object where we are processing your personal information for direct marketing purposes.

Request the restriction of processing of your personal information. This enables you to ask us to suspend the processing of personal information about you, for example if you want us to establish its accuracy or the reason for processing it.

If you want to review, verify, correct or request erasure of your personal information, object to the processing of your personal data, or request that we transfer a copy of your personal information to another party, please contact in writing.

7.3 No fee is usually required.

You will not have to pay a fee to access your personal information (or to exercise any of the other rights). However, we may charge a reasonable fee if your request for access is clearly unfounded or excessive. Alternatively, we may refuse to comply with the request in such circumstances.

7.4 What we may need from you

We may need to request specific information from you to help us confirm your identity and ensure your right to access the information (or to exercise any of your other rights). This is another appropriate security measure to ensure that personal information is not disclosed to any person who has no right to receive it.

7.5 Right to withdraw consent

In the limited circumstances where you may have provided your consent to the collection, processing and transfer of your personal information for a specific purpose, you have the right to withdraw your consent for that specific processing at any time. To withdraw your consent, please contact Once we have received notification that you have withdrawn your consent, we will no longer process your information for the purpose or purposes you originally agreed to, unless we have another legitimate basis for doing so in law.

8. Data protection officer

We have appointed a data protection manager to oversee compliance with this privacy notice. If you have any questions about this privacy notice or how we handle your personal information, please contact us at

You have the right to make a complaint at any time to the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO).

9. Changes to this privacy statement

We reserve the right to update this privacy statement at any time, and we will provide you with a new privacy statement when we make any substantial updates. We may also notify you in other ways from time to time about the processing of your personal information.

Contact Us

If you have any questions or concerns regarding this Privacy Policy or if you would like to correct any personal information you have provided, please contact the MOTB’s Information Technology Department here at the Contact Us Page or by mail to 7707 S.W. 44th Street Oklahoma City, OK 73179.

Effective Date

This Privacy Policy is effective as of July 10, 2018.

Collections Management Policy

Museum of the Bible


In support of its mission and vision “We exist to invite all people to engage with the Bible,” Museum of the Bible (MOTB) acquires through purchase, gift, bequest, or exchange, individual Work(s) and collections related to the Bible that build upon MOTB’s existing strengths while extending the Collection’s cultural and chronological boundaries and accommodating new media. MOTB will study, conserve, and present the artistic and historic achievements of its Collections to the public, where these works may educate, inspire, and be enjoyed by all.

The authority to collect Work(s) for the Museum’s Collection is vested in the Board of Directors, the Chief Curatorial Officer and in some cases, may be delegated to the Director of Collections Operations. Museum curators recommend potential acquisitions to the Director of Collections. The Director of Collections then recommends the potential acquisition to the Chief Curatorial Officer who presents this to the Education Committee of the Board of Directors, for approval. MOTB strives to acquire Work(s) with excellent documentary value and recognizes the importance of documenting those acquisitions accurately and completely. The continued development and documentation of the Collections is therefore a vital responsibility of MOTB’s curatorial staff.

MOTB is committed to the responsible acquisition of Work(s) for the permanent Collection pursuant to the following guidelines:

  1. The Work(s) must conform to and be consistent with the Statement of Principles and Guidelines outlined in the Acquisitions Policy Manual.
  2. Priority should be given to accepting or acquiring Work(s) of unusual quality or rarity, which integrate with and fill a need in the Collection, and do not unnecessarily duplicate items already in the Museum Collections.
  3. No Work(s) shall be acquired if the Museum is unable to give it proper storage, protection and preservation.
  4. The Museum must comply with all applicable local, state, and federal U.S. laws, and should also comply with foreign laws; governing ownership and title, import, export, and other issues pertinent to acquisition decisions.
  5. The Museum must thoroughly research the ownership history of a Work(s) prior to its acquisition and make a rigorous effort to obtain accurate written documentation with respect to its history, including its publication and exhibition history, import and export documents as relevant, and its copyright ownership.
  6. Where a Work(s) is being imported into the U.S. in connection with its acquisition by the Museum, import documentation must be obtained and compliance with the export laws of the country of immediate past export to the U.S. must be confirmed.
  7. No Work(s) shall be acquired if its record of provenance is unsatisfactory or if there is any uncertainty concerning legal transfer of title.
  8. Title and copyright ownership to all Work(s) acquired for the Collections should be obtained free and clear without restrictions as to use or future disposition.
  9. No Work(s) should be accepted with an attribution or circumstances of exhibition, interpretation, or placement of the object guaranteed in perpetuity. Additionally, no unauthorized staff or member of the Board, or council committee may obligate the Museum to accept any material.
  10. The Museum, upon deliberations by the Board, Chief Executive Officer, and Chief Curatorial Officer, reserves the right to accept or refuse any donation of collections material, or part thereof.

Statement of Principles

MOTB is committed to the responsible acquisition, whether by purchase, gift, bequest or exchange, of all Work(s) of visual or material culture. MOTB believes the public should have the opportunity to encounter Work(s) from MOTB’s Collection directly, in the context of their own and other cultures, and where these works may educate, inspire and be enjoyed by all.

MOTB deplores plundering, looting, or theft of cultural Work(s) from individuals, museums, or other repositories. MOTB likewise deplores the unscientific excavation of archaeological materials and ancient art from archaeological sites, the destruction or defacing of ancient monuments, and the illicit trafficking of cultural Work(s).

The Museum is committed to the principle that acquisitions be made according to the highest standards of ethical and professional practice in accordance with applicable law in such a way that they do not provide a material incentive to looting whether direct or indirect. The Museum will exercise due diligence in the acquisition process, in particular through research of proposed acquisitions, transparency in acquisition policies, and full and prompt public disclosure following the acquisition.

The Museum reaffirms the value of licit markets for the legal sale and export of Work(s) as an effective means of deterring the illicit excavation and trafficking of cultural Work(s). MOTB operates in accordance with the American Association of Museum Directors (AAMD), American Alliance of Museums (AAM), and the International Council of Museums (ICOM). MOTB recognizes the 1970 United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import and Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property, as well as, the 1998 Washington Principles on Nazi-Confiscated Art.

These values provide the most pertinent threshold for the application of more rigorous standards to the acquisition of cultural materials and ancient art as well as for the development of a unified set of expectations for MOTB and its donors.

Transfer of Legal Title

All necessary forms related to the acquisitions process (i.e., Deed of Gift, Bill of Sale, Confirmation of Receipt, and/or Temporary Deposit Forms) can be found in the Acquisitions Policy Manual. These forms must be signed and dated, as applicable, by the legal owner(s) or authorized agent(s) and counter-signed by an authorized representative of the Museum.

All transfers must include a letter from the originating institution and must be signed by an authorized staff member of that institution. For bequests, all release or receipt of Work(s) documents must be forwarded to the Registration Department for processing, after consultation and signature of the Chief Curatorial Officer. A purchase order or invoice approved and signed by the Chief Curatorial Officer or designee is required for all cultural Work(s) purchased.

Abandoned Property

In some instances, MOTB may encounter unsolicited Work(s) left in the care of the Museum or expired loans which have gone ‘unclaimed.’ In the event that MOTB is unable to locate, contact / respond to or otherwise make notice to the lender of the unclaimed property, MOTB in conjunction with applicable laws of both Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and Washington D.C., whichever is more favorable—and dependent on the location of the loan, may be utilized to gain title of the property under certain legal conditions. It is however, incumbent upon MOTB staff to ensure that a Good Faith Search and Actual Notice are executed. Further detailed clauses can be located in the MOTB Loan Policy Manual under Section III, (1.03) sub sections 1 - 2.


Any Work(s) discovered in Museum Collections lacking any documentation (undocumented object(s) or found-in-collections) as to how it was acquired and lacking any evidence that someone else owns the item can be considered found-in-collections (FIC). The absence of such documentation supports a presumption that ownership was transferred to the Museum at the time of acquisition. The Museum may consider the Work(s) as its own and accession it into MOTB’s permanent Collection unless someone can overcome this presumption by providing evidence of clear title to the Work(s). The Chief Curatorial Officer must be consulted before Work(s) of unconfirmed ownership are recommended for acquisition or deaccession and/or disposal. The use of such Work(s) for exhibition or research will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

Internal Revenue Service Requirements

Any Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Form 8283 for noncash charitable donations will be signed on behalf of the Museum by the Comptroller.


All donations will be acknowledged with a letter of appreciation from the Chief Curatorial Officer or designee accompanied by a countersigned copy of the required documentation.


In accordance with ICOM, valuations may be made for the purposes of insuring the Museum Collections. Opinions, however, on the monetary value of other Work(s) should only be given upon official request from other museums or competent legal, governmental or other public authorities.

Under no circumstances will members of the Museum staff provide an appraisal of Work(s) or reveal the value assigned to an artifact by the Museum. Requests for exceptions to this prohibition must be submitted to the Chief Curatorial Officer. The Museum will not pay for an appraisal or reimburse a donor for appraisal costs, unless it is determined to be in the best interests of the Museum to do so. The matter will be presented to the Chief Curatorial Officer for review and to the Curatorial Department for approval in advance of making such a commitment.

Museum staff will provide several names of appraisers and will make every effort to provide access to the materials, if already in the Museum’s custody, to independent and/or IRS appraisers. An appraisal is not a requisite for acceptance of a donation. However, if a donor has obtained an appraisal from an independent appraiser, the Museum will request copies of the appraisal for its permanent records.


Identification and authentication may be conducted internally for insurance purposes and given to external institutions for academic or scholarly purposes and in compliance with the legitimate requests of professional or governmental bodies or their agencies.

No member of the Museum staff shall knowingly appraise, identify, or otherwise authenticate historical or cultural Work(s) for other persons, professional or governmental bodies, or their agencies under circumstances that could encourage or benefit illegal, unethical, or irresponsible traffic in such Work(s).

Where appropriate, the Museum will assist owners in finding qualified professionals who can provide authentication or appraisals—as mentioned under “Appraisals.”

Acquisitions by Purchase, Gift, Bequest or Exchange—and the responsibilities of the Board.

The first responsibility of MOTB’s Board of Trustees is to protect and develop the assets of the Museum. The chief goal of the Board is to acquire high-quality and reputable Work(s) in accordance with the Museum’s Acquisitions Policy Manual and in line with the Museum’s Mission “to Engage all people with the Bible.” It is the Board’s responsibility to establish and reinforce these goals. From this, it follows that the Board is responsible for providing adequate and dependable funding in a manner that enables MOTB to accomplish these goals.

In their deliberations, the Board, Chief Executive Officer, Chief Curatorial Officer, and parties necessary for determining acquisition, are guided by strict policies generally outlined here and detailed comprehensively in guidelines published by AAM, AAMD, and ICOM, among others, in determining the appropriateness of Work(s) to be added to the permanent Collection.

Funds available to the Museum for the purchase of Work(s) are subject to the control of the Board but may be appropriated to the Chief Curatorial Officer by the Board, at its discretion.

The curator examining an acquisition by gift or bequest will make a formal recommendation as to whether MOTB should accept or decline the gift or bequest to the Chief Curatorial Officer in writing. Each Gift/Donation Request (example templates may be found in MOTB’s Acquisition Policy Manual), will be accompanied by a written recommendation from the relevant curator to the Chief Curatorial Officer or designee that:

  1. Provides pertinent “tombstone” information about the Work(s), including a basic description of the work, materials, date, seller/donor and suggested credit line,
  2. Describes the importance of the Work(s) in the context of the departmental Collections strategy,
  3. Provides donor information (for gifts and bequests),
  4. Provides all available provenance information and import/export documentation as outlined in MOTB’s Statement of Principles and Guidelines in the Acquisitions Policy Manual,
  5. Where possible, each acquisition proposal will also include a written condition report from the donor, dealer, individual, or institution that addresses:
    1. Authenticity of materials and/or technique, condition, and
    2. Any significant costs or factors relating to conservation, installation, and storage.
  6. As part of the standard procedure for all proposed gifts, the Museum will:
    1. Require sellers, donors, and their representatives to provide all information of which they have knowledge, and documentation that they possess, related to the Work(s) being offered to the Museum, as well as appropriate warranties.
    2. Substantiate the account of ownership history provided by the donor or vendor by obtaining documentary evidence of a Work(s)’s provenance (including, but not limited to: a dated bill of sale or sales receipt, will, inventory, auction catalogue, published reference, exhibition record, correspondence, photograph), or, in exceptional cases, if documentary evidence cannot be obtained, a signed statement from the donor or vendor that confirms the accuracy of the account.
    3. The Chief Curatorial Officer and parties necessary for determining acquisition, must ensure that best efforts are made to determine the ownership history of a Work(s) considered for acquisition. The Chief Curatorial Officer must not knowingly allow to be recommended for acquisition – or permit the Museum to acquire – any Work(s) that may have been stolen (without appropriate resolution of such theft) or illegally imported into the jurisdiction in which the Museum is located.
    4. Work(s) offered as gifts, from whatever source, are presented to the Museum CEO and the Board by the Chief Curatorial Officer with a recommendation to either accept or decline. The Board and CEO may follow or reject the Chief Curatorial Officer’s recommendation, except that they may not direct that an item be entered into the permanent Collection without the concurrence of the Chief Curatorial Officer.
    5. Work(s) will not be re-housed, preserved, conserved, displayed, cataloged, or made available for use by researchers until ownership has been transferred to the Museum and the Work(s) have been accessioned into the appropriate Collection.
    6. Unsolicited Work(s) offered as potential acquisitions for the Museum's Collections are considered to be in the temporary custody of the Museum with proper documentation and subject to the “Conditions of Temporary Deposit” found in the Acquisition Policy Manual. If the acquisition of an unsolicited Work(s) is approved, the Work(s) may be formally accessioned into the Collections and a Temporary Deposit form (Refer to Acquisition Policy Manual) will be retained in the Work(s) accession file.
    7. Records of accession should be made and retained for all Work(s) acquired, including instrument of conveyance signed by the donor; description of all Work(s) in an accession; and complete documentation of each Work(s) received, and its history as can be obtained from the donor. (Refer to Accessioning Procedures).

It is important to avoid any personal or organizational conflict-of-interest situations, or even the appearance of any conflict of interest. Consequently, in any instance where a Board Member, Executive Leadership, or any other institutional-wide staff member has a direct financial interest in the acquisition of Work(s) for the Collection, the following procedure shall be followed: The individual with the direct financial interest must, upon realization of such an interest, immediately disclose this fact to the Board of Trustees, Chief Executive Officer, Chief Curatorial Officer and any other necessary party. The individual must then recuse him – or herself from any further participation in the transaction. The Chief Curatorial Officer will present the matter for review and approval by the CEO and Board prior to the completion of the transaction.

Ethics of Collecting

Museum of the Bible (MOTB) recognizes that collecting is an increasingly complex task that requires careful consideration and planning. While the Acquisition Policy Manual offers a detailed framework for responsible decision-making in the development of MOTB’s Collections, it is incumbent to acknowledge the importance of cultural property protection at home and abroad, domestic and foreign cultural heritage laws, and international conventions on cultural heritage throughout the collecting process.

MOTB is committed to public service and therefore will demonstrate that it is a good steward of its resources and a good neighbor to its community, region, and world at large. The Museum puts the public trust above the interests of any individual, university, institution, or museum. Ethical or legal questions regarding the acquisition of Work(s) or a collection most often arise in the cases of stolen, improperly collected, or illicitly exported Work(s).

Stolen Collections

The Museum will not purchase or accept as a gift or loan any Work(s) known or suspected to have been stolen from a museum, collector, dealer, or specific site. When the legal status of a Work(s) or collection is in question, it is the responsibility of the Museum to attempt to establish its provenance prior to acquisition. In these circumstances, the Museum must make all reasonable inquiries of the appropriate individuals, institutions, and/or government agencies, both foreign and domestic, to determine whether the Museum can obtain clear and unrestricted title if a purchase or gift is contemplated, or that a proposed lender has clear title at the time the loan is undertaken.

When a collection offered to the Museum for purchase, gift, or loan is suspected or discovered to be stolen property, all pertinent facts must be reported to the Chief Curatorial Officer, who will then notify the CEO, Board of Trustees, and the appropriate authorities, at the earliest opportunity.

Illicitly Exported Collections

The Museum will not acquire collections that it suspects were exported in violation of the laws of their country of origin. (Countries of origin will be considered to be the geopolitical boundaries that existed at the time of export, or, if that country no longer exists, the geopolitical boundaries of the modern state.) The Museum will consider as valid the laws in place in the countries of origin at the time of export, or if the date of export is unknown, the date of the first documented appearance of the Work(s) in the United States. When questions of illicit export arise, the Museum will consult the appropriate foreign authority as to the proper course of action.

If there is significant reason to believe that a Work(s) was exported in violation of local law, the country of origin will be informed of the potential acquisition and asked to provide relevant information. Furthermore, where possible, MOTB will provide resources and research initiatives to pursue relevant information needed. In this situation, potential vendors and donors must be informed of this policy.

The Museum also will abstain from purchasing or otherwise acquiring Work(s) that it knows, or suspects are in any way in contravention of treaties and international conventions to which the United States is a signatory.

Repatriation of Illicitly Exported Collections

If the Museum acquires a Work(s) that is part of another country’s cultural patrimony in a manner that is inconsistent with this policy, it will seek to make equitable arrangements for the return to the country of origin if it is legally free to do so.

Forgeries and Falsified Documents

Any potential Collection materials that are determined to be forgeries or falsified documents will not be accessioned into the permanent Collection. The owner or source will be notified as to the inauthenticity of the Work(s) and may be asked to donate the Work(s) to ensure that it will not, at some future time, inadvertently or otherwise, be considered authentic. In some cases, the Work(s) may be retained by the Museum, physically marked appropriately, identified as a fake in all records, and used for reference or for authentication of future acquisitions. Forgeries and falsified documents found within the permanent Collection may be permanently moved to a different Collection (e.g., Education Collection) or if need be, deaccessioned.

There may be circumstances in which inauthentic or otherwise wrongly-attributed Work(s) remain a part of the permanent Collection. Such situations would be considered on an individual basis.

Accessioning Procedures

The Museum has full stewardship responsibilities for acquired and accessioned Work(s) and Collections. All accessioned Work(s) are acquired, but not all acquisitions are meant to be accessioned. Accessioning is a two-part process of acquiring a Work(s) (acquisition) and documenting a Work(s) (registration) into the designated Collection. The two parts of the process hinge on transfer of title to the Museum. Further information on MOTB’s Permanent, Prop, and Education Collections can be referenced in the Acquisitions Policy Manual.

The word accession may be used to denote (1) a Work(s) acquired by the Museum for its permanent Collection or (2) the act of recording and processing an addition to the permanent Collection by means of assigning a unique number that allows the Museum to connect a Work(s) to its documentation.

A curator notifies a registrar of an incoming Work(s) or collection or of the receipt of an incoming Work(s) or collection. A registrar will then make the necessary transportation arrangements for the safe and secure shipment of the collection to MOTB premises in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma or Washington, DC. In certain instances, and in consultation with the appropriate registrar or preparator, it may be necessary for a curator to make the appropriate arrangements for shipment (e.g., hand carry.)

Upon receipt of a signed deed of gift, bill of sale, temporary custody agreement, etc., a copy, with the acknowledgement letter from the Chief Curatorial Officer or designee will be sent to the donor or vendor. A copy of the necessary documentation will be retained with the curator, and all originals will be given to the Registration Department prior to shipment/delivery of Work(s).

The donor and curator each keep their respective copies of the documents, with the Registration Department retaining the originals. For purchases, a copy of the confirmation of receipt may be issued to the vendor upon request. When a delivery is received by a registrar, it is recorded with a brief description in The Museum System (TMS) software and the incoming delivery portion is included in the shipping module within TMS. Additionally, a copy of the confirmation of receipt should be scanned and included in the Antiquities Drive along with any other pertinent documents. The Conservation Department must then receive this delivery for evaluation and quarantine before moving it into the main Collections Storage Area.

A certified preparator unloads the shipment in conjunction with a registrar. The registrar/preparator unpacks the shipment and completes an initial inventory and condition report with photography and notes in conservation studio (another capability within TMS). The inventory and conditioning process must be conducted using all previously received documentation.

Then, the registrar assigns a unique numeric identification, populated sequentially by TMS. All registration files, manual and electronic, are updated with this information by the registrar/archivist. The accession number indicates ownership, classification and a sequential number that indicates the next available number in that specific classification. The permanent accession number is recorded both digitally and physically. Following the formal acceptance of the Work(s) into the system, the new acquisition is ready to be cataloged with all known information recorded in the record by the respective curator.

Deaccessioning Procedures

Deaccessioning is the formal change in recorded status of a Work(s) within MOTB’s Collections, namely: (1) permanently removing a Work(s) from the Museum’s Collections; or (2) formally removing an accessioned Work(s) from the Museum’s permanent Collection. While the deaccession policies are addressed generally here, in-depth review of MOTB’s Deaccession Policy Manual is encouraged.

MOTB, in support of its mission and vision, aims to preserve and build Collections for the benefit of present and future generations; this goal can be challenged when removal of a Work(s) from the Collections becomes necessary. Therefore, such activity is carried out in a thoughtful and careful manner since deaccessioning is a long-lasting and sensitive issue for museums worldwide. Despite the controversies that can surround deaccessioning, there may at times be a compelling reason to deaccession Work(s) from the Museum’s Collection. This policy is intended to help MOTB’s staff understand potential issues when evaluating the deaccession or disposal of a Work(s) and provides a framework for responsible decision-making in the process of MOTB’s Collections and in accordance with the established standards of AAM, AAMD, ICOM, and the National Park Service (NPS).

Statement of Deaccession Criteria

Deaccessions will only be considered when the Work(s) in question is:

  1. Not within the scope or mission of MOTB.
  2. Beyond the capability of the Museum to maintain, preserve, and store with the highest ethical standards.
  3. Not useful for research, exhibition, or educational programs in the foreseeable future.
  4. Duplicates of another Work(s).
  5. Of poor quality, less important, incomplete, or inauthentic examples.
  6. Physically deteriorated or hazardous materials.
  7. Originally acquired illegally or unethically.
  8. Subject to a legislative mandate, e.g., repatriation.
  9. Subject to contractual donor restrictions the Museum is no longer able to meet.
  10. Found to be part of a set that belongs to another institution, or more appropriate to the collection of another institution.
  11. The Work(s) is being sold as part of MOTB’s effort to refine and improve its permanent Collections, in keeping with the collecting goals reviewed and approved by MOTB’s Board of Trustees or governing body.

Authority and Decision Process

Deaccessioning is the result of a thoughtful and well-documented process. The following are critical steps in the process that should be clearly documented in the record of a Work(s). The registration team plays a key role in coordinating the steps in this process and providing vital information from MOTB’s records.

  1. Written justification linked to the collecting plan, outlining the decision criteria that apply. Written justification may be conducted by the Board of Directors, Executive Leadership, the Director of Collections, curators, and/or the registration team.
  2. Deaccessioning and disposal must comply with all applicable laws of both the District of Columbia and Oklahoma; and MOTB must observe any terms or obligations that pertain to MOTB’s acquisition of the Work(s).
  3. Verification of official legal title, checking records to ascertain if any restrictions exist from the original gift, bequest, or purchase. In particular, any copyright or trademark restrictions should be reviewed by legal counsel, since those rights will not automatically transfer to a new owner.
  4. Physical examination by a conservator to help establish appropriate means of disposal, including possible sale or destruction (MRM5,102).
  5. One or more outside appraisals, especially for objects of value and those which might be sold or traded.
  6. Outside opinions for items of value, especially if there is any uncertainty about provenance or authenticity.
  7. Internal review by all curatorial staff to assure full awareness of the plan to dispose of a Collection item.
  8. CEO/Chief Curatorial Officer and governing Board approval. This is where the final decision is made. Some decisions may be delegated to the CEO/CCO or Director, depending on the value of the Work(s). MOTB must double-check its relevant state laws to see if there are any external limitations on disposal. Ultimately, the final authority for the deaccessioning and disposal of Work(s) rests with the Board of Trustees or governing body or its designee.
  9. Working with external stakeholders. There is no obligation to notify the donor if the gift was unrestricted and MOTB owns the material free and clear. This will need to be decided on a case-by-case basis. Conferring with members of local community advisory groups is important to assure concurrence and avoid possible public outcry when the deaccession is officially announced. Special interest groups may include collectors, other museums, volunteers, and Museum membership groups.

Disposal Options – Selection of Methods

The best scenario may vary from case to case based on the type of materials and the needs of MOTB. No Work(s) should be acquired by MOTB staff, Board members, or their relatives. MOTB will assure that items are seriously considered for placement in other educational institutions throughout the disposal process. Whether there is a need to retain the Work(s) in the community, region, or country, or if it has any relevance as an item of cultural patrimony, will also be thoroughly examined. The following may be considered in selecting a method of disposal:

  1. Donation of the Work(s) to another museum, library, or archive for educational purposes.
  2. Exchange with another museum or non-profit institution.
  3. Educational and Research programs. MOTB encourages items to be used for study, school programs, hand-on demonstrations, exhibition props, or testing in conservation research.
  4. Physical Destruction: due to inherent vice, natural disaster, vandalism,
  5. Repatriation and/or cultural sensitivity.
  6. Private sale: not a standard alternative but may be justified in rare circumstances. If it is pursued, MOTB must keep good records and be ready to respond honestly to outside inquiries. In some cases where public auction is not possible or practical, material may be consigned to a dealer for sale.
  7. Public Auction: Work(s) must be deaccessioned if offered for public sale. This method is especially important when there is a need to generate funds to improve the prospects for MOTB’s future collecting. In considering this option the Museum must weigh the staff time and other costs associated with an appropriately administered sale in comparison to the anticipated proceeds. Since this option is one subject to close public scrutiny, it is important to review the procedures in some detail (Refer to MRM5 104-105).
    1. Per AAMD, funds received from the disposal of a deaccessioned work shall not be used for operations or capital expenses. Such funds, including any earnings and appreciation thereon, may be used only for the acquisition of works in a manner consistent with MOTB’s policy on the use of restricted acquisition funds. In order to account properly for their use, AAMD recommends that such funds, including any earnings and appreciation, be tracked separate from other acquisition funds.
  8. Per ICOM standards, proceeds should be applied solely to the purchase of additions to the Museum Collections. Therefore, MOTB shall only put forth proceeds from deaccessioned or disposed items to the acquisition of new Work(s) that help refine and further establish MOTB’s collecting goals.

Documentation of Deaccessions

When a Work(s) is deaccessioned, MOTB’s Registration Department must ensure all electronic and paper records are updated. Prior to deaccessioning, an image should be taken of the Work(s) and retained in the Museum’s records. As a Work(s) is disposed of, the method of disposition, including possible consignee, new owner, sale price and location, if known, should be recorded according to VI Documentation – Recordkeeping of the Deaccession Policy Manual. Necessary forms can be found in the appendices of the aforementioned document.

Public Notice

It is not required for MOTB to make deaccessions public, but it is courteous and good practice. A good resource to post this would be the AAM newsletter Aviso and on MOTB’s website to allow for transparency and requests or protests. A minimum of 30 days should be allotted for this public notice. Further information can be found in the Deaccession Policy Manual.

  1. If MOTB receives no requests or protests over the deaccession within the allotted 30 days of publication, then the Board, Executive Leadership, or designee, will sign the deaccession form and exchange agreement (or donation) and deaccession the Work(s).
  2. If MOTB’s publication produces requests or protests from other institutions or individuals then the Board, Executive Leadership, or designee, will consult the curator, registrar and any other allotted advisors, as appropriate, and determine the course of action.


Museum of the Bible actively lends parts of the MOTB Collection(s) to further engage domestic and global audiences. Additionally, the Museum actively borrows from external institutions to partner with leading organizations in the field, and to build professional rapport and long-term cooperation. These loans, whether incoming or outgoing, build upon existing strengths and weaknesses of MOTB’s Collections for the purpose of enhancing outreach.

MOTB is therefore committed to the principle that all loan processes be executed according to the highest standards of ethical and professional practice as established in the museum community. The Museum is guided by three main principles that concern the following:

  1. Encourage both the Museum and its lenders to use due diligence in monitoring loans;
  2. Allocate responsibilities fairly between the Museum, lenders and borrowers; and
  3. Resolve any issues of unclaimed loans left in MOTB’s custody, in a timely manner.

MOTB’s Loan Policy Manual includes comprehensive sections on both incoming and outgoing loans that are supplemented with written procedures to be implemented as thoroughly as possible.

The purpose of this brief synopsis is to provide a general overview of the established uniform rules governing all loan operations at the Museum. Therefore, this act should be interpreted with the highest museum standards in mind.

Commitment to Lenders

The Museum’s main responsibility is to protect, care-for, and fulfill, or in some cases exceed previously set obligations to all lenders.

  1. Condition Reports: condition assessments supported by photographic documentation, shall be made for all loans entering or leaving the Museum. This can be conducted through conservation studio (digitally) or on paper.
  2. Insurance: outgoing loans are to be insured by the borrower unless otherwise stated. Incoming loans shall be insured by the Museum unless the lender waives its requirement or requests use of its own insurance coverage.
  3. Approval: all loan agreements must receive final review, approval, and signature of the Chief Curatorial Officer or designee.
  4. Monitoring Loans: loans shall be monitored by the Registration Department for compliance with the terms of the loan. The appropriate curator/archivist shall be notified of any relevant pending activity or required action.
  5. Courier(s): The Museum will evaluate all information provided by the curator, conservator, registrar and preparator, in determining the need for a couriered shipment. The lead registrar will make the final determination. The Museum is guided by the principles set forth by the Smithsonian Institution’s National Gallery of Art on the established, Art in Transit, section nine “role of the courier” (pages 150-158). A courier must be a museum professional who represents the Museum Curatorial, Collections, and/or Registration Department. The courier pool is normally made up of curators, conservation staff, registrars, or preparators. Additionally, the couriering staff are always expected to act in the best interests of the shipment and of the Museum.

Outgoing Loans – Approval Process

When a request for a loan is received, MOTB’s approval procedure for outgoing loans involves the following key players:

  • Curator: evaluates the project in general and indicates the availability of the loan based on any unannounced projects she/he may know about. Provenance issues also should be considered in case there are gaps in ownership history and obtaining immunity from seizure or protection from a civil claim becomes necessary.
  • Registrar and Conservator: examine the condition of the Work(s) to be loaned. Size, weight, and shipping logistics to the borrower’s location are major factors that need to be adequately reviewed,
  • Registrar also checks for other commitments during the period in question and for any other legal restrictions, (such as the donor’s requirements or U.S. Customs or Fish and Wildlife regulations), fine-art all-risk insurance policy compliance, etc.
  • Chief Curatorial Officer (CCO): Final approval by the CCO and the Director of Collections Operations is required after the various departments have submitted their input.

In general, there should be good communication from MOTB to the prospective borrowing institution from the time the loan is requested until it is returned. It is critical that the curator, registrar, conservator, and CCO keep each other apprised of any pertinent information. It is up to the curator to ensure that the borrowing institution’s exhibition is in line with MOTB’s mission and that reputational harm of loaning the work(s) is carefully balanced. It is up to the registrar to coordinate the process and make certain that the loan item(s) and the borrowing institution are evaluated.

Incoming Loans

Requesting loans calls for the curator to send the prospective lender a detailed letter describing the purpose of the exhibition or loan activity and the Work(s) desired. The formal loan request should contain the following key information:

  • The title of the exhibition and a description of the purpose of the loan.
  • Length of the loan period (this should include the proposed shipping dates for delivery and return).
  • Location(s) of the exhibition with dates (exhibit timeframe only).
  • The financial responsibility that the Museum is willing to incur. For example, (i.e., packing, shipping, insurance, immunity from seizure) should be acknowledged at this time.

The deadline for the potential lender’s response should be noted to allow enough time for the loan approval. A copy of the lender’s letter, which typically is addressed to the director or curator should be forwarded to the registrar as soon as possible, so s/he can begin processing the loan and respond to the lender’s queries.

Often a loan agreement form accompanies the official loan request letter, along with a facilities report demonstrating Museum best practice standards. Other documentation, such as contracts that cover unusual circumstances, may also be appropriate. The following considerations must be analyzed prior to receiving the incoming loan(s):

  • Determine which loan agreement is being used. Always push for MOTB’s loan agreement and the use of English as the agreed upon language. If the loan agreement is not executed in English, MOTB should obtain a certified translation of the agreement for its files. The responsible curator must review and approve. The lead registrar’s signature is required, as well as the Chief Curatorial Officer’s.
  • Determine currency if the loan is international.
  • Any uncertainties regarding provenance, ownership, copyright, authenticity, or attribution.
  • Any lender restrictions. Review unique clauses with legal and insurance representatives.
  • Associated costs, such as insurance, conservation, installation, storage, packing, crating, transportation, environmental fluctuations, handling, and exhibition.
  • The condition of the Work(s) and its ability to withstand transportation, environmental fluctuations, handling, and exhibition.
  • If the condition of the Work(s) is in question, then the Conservation Department must be consulted.
  • An itemized list of all Work(s) along with fair market values included, if we are covering insurance. MOTB may not provide valuations for Work(s) in any way. If MOTB and the lender disagree on fair market value, then the loan may not be accepted.
  • If MOTB is only paying for insurance premiums, then a copy of the lender’s insurance policy must be sent—no exceptions.
  • The Museum will not accept any loan for an indefinite or permanent period, except if the loan is a fractional-interest or promised gift approved by the CCO and Board. These “gifts” should be treated as loans while in the Museum’s custody and until transfer of ownership is complete.
  • If ownership of a Work(s) on loan to the Museum is contested, the Museum reserves the right to withhold the return of the Work(s) until legal ownership is determined.
  • It is the responsibility of the lender or the lender’s designee to notify the Museum promptly in writing if there is any change in the ownership of an Work(s), or if there is a change in the identity or address of the lender. The Museum will always ensure a good-faith search and notice if reaching the lender is difficult as defined in MOTB’s Loan Policy Manual.

Temporary Custody Agreements

Temporary Custody Agreements permit the Museum to hold, research, and review potential acquisitions—allowing for physical examination of detail and condition, where needed. To maintain accountability of Work(s) under the Museum’s care, the Registration Department must inventory, identify, examine and photograph all temporarily held Work(s). The purpose, circumstances and expected duration of stay (should not exceed 90 days) will be recorded on a temporary deposit form. This form can be accessed in the Acquisition Policy Manual. All such Work(s) coming into the custody of the Museum must be recorded by a registrar within one week of their arrival. Owners shall release the Museum of liability for the Work(s) by promptly signing the Museum’s temporary deposit form. Temporarily deposited Work(s) will not be insured and it is the responsibility of the depositor to insure adequate coverage is in place.

Museum Staff “Code of Ethics”

Code of Ethics

MOTB recognizes that the effectiveness of a non-profit institution is directly related to the public’s perception of its integrity. The Museum serves the public good through demonstrating good stewardship of its resources, thereby elevating public trust.

The Museum maintains a Conflict of Interest and Business Ethics policy. This policy contains clauses that require all governing authorities, employees, and volunteers to adhere to a high level of professionalism and conduct throughout all operations. In addition to internally set standards, the Museum recognizes and adopts the American Alliance of Museum’s (AAM) Code of Ethics as well as the International Council of Museums (ICOM) standards relating to ethical conflict.

Personal Collecting and Dealing

MOTB implements standards and best practices for professional conduct for the many curatorial and collections functions at the Museum. The public good is the primary concern of all Museum staff. At no point should Museum personnel develop a personal collection that in any way compromises or conflicts with the credibility or interests of MOTB (CurCom, 8). Staff members are not permitted to bring objects from their personal collections into the Museum for storage or any other purpose that might prove beneficial for themselves. Staff members may not use MOTB resources to research their own collections or potential acquisitions.

Additionally, personnel employed by MOTB may not be active dealers in the Museum’s area of interest. Nor may staff actively engage in the buying and selling of cultural objects for personal or commercial profit.

In cases where objects owned by staff, Board Members, or others associated with the Museum may be appropriate for exhibition purposes, these objects should be reviewed by the exhibition curator or guest curator and a determination should be made about the appropriateness of the Work(s) for MOTB’s exhibition. All such loans of these objects will be governed by the Museum’s Loan Policy Manual. Personal collections should not be combined with the Museum Collections.

Personal objects may be used as office decoration but must be carefully labeled to indicate private ownership. If the object could be mistaken for a Work(s) in the Museum’s Collections, the owner must provide a signed statement to the Registration Department prior to the arrival of the object onsite, freeing the Museum from all liability for the Work(s).

Disaster and Emergency Preparedness Procedures

Museum of the Bible (MOTB) actively mitigates risk by planning and preparing for responding to the most-likely risks that the Collections could encounter. Whether at the Museum in Washington, DC or in the Collections Storage facilities in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, readiness at-all-times, is essential to successful preventive and response strategies. The Museum is committed to the principle that all prevention and response strategies be carried out to the highest standards of implementation and training—as established by the Smithsonian Cultural Rescue Initiative (SCRI), the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM) and the American Alliance of Museums (AAM).

Emergency Procedures

MOTB staff must refer to the Museum of the Bible Crisis Management and Emergency Response Plan drafted and implemented by the Office of Protective Services and Risk Mitigation (OPS). This policy is intended for the protection and evacuation of personnel, visitors, and Collections in the event of an emergency. These procedures have been distributed to all Museum personnel, and appropriate training and testing are routinely conducted so the procedures can be activated effectively if necessary.

The emergency plan includes instructions as to when to activate the plan, and instructions regarding authority and delegation in an emergency (i.e., emergency response teams and captains). This includes emergency telephone numbers, external assistance information, and procedures for response to fire, flood, bomb, theft, earthquake, medical emergency, demonstrations or protests, accident and illness, building and/or utility damage and community wide disasters. The plan includes floor plans of the Museum and storage facilities, locations of in-house supplies and equipment, and procedures for Collections salvage. The Collections staff establish and maintain a list of Collections priorities, approved by the CCO, in the event of an emergency or disaster. Such a priority list may be required in any material recovery effort.

MOTB Curatorial and Collections staff must refer to the Disaster and Emergency Preparedness Procedures Manual which is intended to guide staff in understanding the issues we will face when encountering an emergency or disaster and provides a framework for assessment, preparation, documentation, pack and move, and lastly, relocation and storage of Collections. Considering that no two emergency situations are alike, the manual describes the comprehensive work flow that can be customized to meet the needs of a specific emergency context through practiced processes.

Personal health and safety will always take priority over Collections.

Insurance and Risk Management


In keeping with the Museum’s public trust responsibilities, MOTB maintains an all-risk, wall-to-wall, fine-arts policy to insure Collections and loans. This insurance includes coverage on premises, in transit, and at other locations with policy limits per occurrence. The Registration Department will manage the insurance procedures and ensure that loan agreements and certificates of insurance are on file in compliance with insurance requirements.

Incoming loans must be insured by the Museum unless otherwise agreed upon. Outgoing loans should be insured by the borrower unless otherwise stated. All damage or loss of Work(s) must be reported immediately to the Director of Collections and Chief Curatorial Officer, followed by a written report. Notification to key staff must swiftly follow the call schedule as outlined in the Disaster and Emergency Preparedness Policy Manual.

A registrar will initiate all insurance claims with the insurance underwriter and shall advise appropriate staff, including the Chief Curatorial Officer, Chief Conservator, and Director of Collections. The Registration Department must maintain all related insurance records and provide appropriate reports. An assessment will be conducted every three years to evaluate the insurance coverage to ensure its accuracy for the value of the Museum Collections.

Risk Management

MOTB does not view insurance as a substitute for sound risk management. Therefore, care and control of the Collections, including: access, inventory, conservation and documentation are closely monitored and detailed in the Collections Care, Access, and Use Policy Manual.

The Disaster and Emergency Preparedness Policy Manual sets the framework for the following preventive measures to considered:

  • Assess: determine potential vulnerabilities and/or threats, then confirm how best to retain control, and prioritize Work(s).
  • Prepare: determine a safe location and route for relocation of Work(s), the necessary permission to move Work(s), the necessary response teams to execute the process, and the emergency inventory management method to track all movement. Lastly, ensure disaster response supplies are isolated and ready for use at any given moment.
  • Document, Pack, and Move: Organize and determine how best to populate the emergency evacuation inventory form, set up a workspace, pack Work(s), and then label, track, and move, all while maintaining a consistent checklist.
  • Relocate and Store: pre-determined vulnerabilities acknowledged and necessary sorting, recording, and security readiness.

Collections Care, Access, and Use

Collections Care

Museum of the Bible recognizes that collections stewardship is the careful, sound, and responsible management of the Work(s) entrusted to MOTB’s care. Possession of Collections incurs legal, social, and ethical obligations to provide proper physical storage, management, and care for the Collections and associated documentation, as well as proper intellectual control. Collections are held in trust for the public and made accessible for the public’s benefit. Effective collections stewardship ensures that the Work(s) MOTB owns, borrows, holds in its custody and/or uses are available and accessible to present and future generations

The Museum also recognizes the importance and interdependent nature of Work(s) and related documentation as crucial to the increase in, and dissemination of, knowledge about the Collection. Therefore, the records and other documentary materials that support the Collections are considered equally important and require the same degree of care and consideration. With that, the Museum will support and promote the Code of Ethics, Guidelines for Practice, and Commentaries as stated by the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (AIC). Awareness of responsibilities for Collections care will be incorporated into all Museum operations and activities. Lastly, the Museum will provide information and training opportunities for all Museum staff on the proper care and handling of Collections.

The goal, purpose, priority, or product of any Museum activity will not take priority over the care and safety of any Work(s). All events involving Collections will incorporate and maintain the policies and procedures adopted for care and preservation. All documentation associated with the Collection or created by Museum use or related activity will be kept current and complete and must be properly labeled and linked to the appropriate Collection or related activity.


Curatorial and Collections staff must maintain an awareness of current requirements and standards for the proper care of Collections. All Collections are to be properly supported and housed while in storage, on exhibit, or in transit using the best techniques and materials possible. All Work(s) will be labeled, stored, handled, and transported with the following requirements in place:

  • Only authorized personnel may handle Work(s) in the Collections. Consideration may be given to appraisers, researchers, Collections Department interns, and owners of Managed Collections during special circumstances, with the approval of the Director of Collections.
  • Prior to handling Work(s), all handlers must undergo fine-art handling training with the signed approval of the Lead Registrar, Conservator, and Director of Collections upon completion.
  • If gloves are not used for handling Work(s), the handler must have clean, dry hands before touching the Work(s), including Work(s) within the Education Collection.
  • Suspected hazardous materials will be clearly labeled, stored, handled, and transported by trained, authorized staff.

Preventative Conservation

Preventative conservation is an important element of MOTB policy and collections care. It is an essential responsibility of the Collections Department to create and maintain a protective environment for Collections in its care, whether in storage, on display, or in transit.

The following points are always considered when working with Collections:

  • Cleanliness: all Collections storage and display areas must be regularly cleaned and kept free of damage-inducing or pest-causing debris.
  • Environmental Conditions: temperature, humidity, and containment.
  • Light levels: monitoring lumens/lux, ultraviolet light and infrared radiation.
  • Integrated Pest Management (IPM)

Conservation and Restoration

MOTB carefully monitors the condition of Collections to determine when a Work may require conservation or restoration work and the services of a qualified conservator/restorer. The principal goal should be the stabilization of the Work. All conservation procedures are documented, as reversible as possible, and all alterations should be clearly distinguishable from the original Work.

The Museum Conservation team handles all internal conservation/restoration work for MOTB, unless specialty conservation/restoration work must be sought. Conservation Request Forms must be completed before any conservation/restoration work may be executed. Conservation Requests must be approved by the Work’s assigned Curator, a Registrar, and the Director of Collections prior to the start of any conservation-restoration work. Proper documentation of conservation-restoration work must be kept by the MOTB Registration team. Further information can be found in the Collections Care, Access, and Use Policy Manual.


In support of its mission and vision, MOTB is responsible for properly preserving, managing, and providing access to its Collections. In using Collections effectively for interpretation, education, exhibition, and research, MOTB must provide both physical and intellectual access to collections.

MOTB recognizes the balance of requirements for collections care and security with our public trust responsibilities. Designated staff members may approve access to and use of Collections and related information. Such access will be different for museum professionals than it is for the public, scholars, and commercial users. This policy also imposes reasonable restrictions on access and use if such limitations are in the best interests of the Collections’ long-term care and preservation.

The Collections and Curatorial staff realize that MOTB’s Collections are an extraordinary resource and, as caretakers of the Work(s), every effort will be made to bring the tangible and intangible values embodied in these Collections to the public. Furthermore, MOTB holds access standards at the highest level of ethical and professional practice, as established by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM), the American Association of Museum Directors (AAMD), the National Park Service (NPS), and the International Council of Museums (ICOM).

The Museum encourages access to its Collections in many ways, some of which include institutional access, intellectual access, access through exhibitions, access to Collections (digitally, in storage, through loans, and release of information), and through duplication, or reproduction. For further information on access criteria please refer to the Access, Care, and Use Policy Manual.

Institutional Access

The Museum strives to provide public access to its Collections through exhibitions, programming, loans, publications, scholarship, and a research library. The Museum’s facilities and programming are open to the public and in compliance with all applicable local, state, and federal regulations and security procedures regarding public access to its facilities. Every effort is made to accommodate patrons with special needs. Further information can be found in the Collections Care, Access, and Use Policy Manual.

Intellectual Access

The Museum is meticulous in its observance of scholarly objectivity in providing information about its Collections and attesting to the authenticity of Collection materials. Institutional practices ensure that exhibitions, publications, and public information are presented honestly and objectively. The stated origin or attribution of an item reflects thorough investigation and is promptly updated. Exhibitions, publications, and programs are approached objectively and without prejudice.

Access through Exhibitions

Materials in the Museum’s Permanent Collection are directly accessible to the public through self-guided exhibitions and associated programs. Exhibitions are mounted in climate-controlled, secure locations within the Museum and at approved sites. Exhibition materials are visible and interpreted, but protected, with access controlled through the use of guards and secured barriers that include locked display cases and railed and/or alarmed display platforms. Due to conservation and preservation concerns, materials from the Permanent Collections are rotated on a six to twelve-month basis. Length of time on view is determined for each Work and depends on sensitive considerations such as condition, medium, construction, historic significance, and impact on the exhibition.

Access to Collections in Storage

The Museum’s Collections not currently on exhibition or on loan to outside institutions are stored in climate-controlled, high-security storage facilities. Routine access to these facilities is limited to authorized personnel. With appropriate notification and approval, other staff, interns, volunteers, and visitors gain access to restricted areas and Collections when accompanied by authorized staff. The same limitations apply for the Conservation Areas.

Requests for access to the Collections not on public display shall be coordinated through the Collections Department with the appropriate archival or curatorial staff and, in the case of access requests from the media, with the Museum’s Communications Division. The public and media shall have access to Collections only during scheduled hours and only when accompanied by an authorized staff member. Every effort is made to accommodate reasonable requests.

Access Through Loans

The Museum strives to make portions of the Collection available through loans to qualified borrowers who are able to meet the loan criteria as established in the Loan Policy Manual to ensure safety, security, and appropriate use of the Work(s).

Release of Collection Information

The Museum makes available, under controlled conditions, information about its Permanent Collection. The Collections Department is responsible for providing information regarding acquisitions, deaccessions, and loans. The Director of Collections or Chief Curatorial Officer or designee, must approve the release of privileged information regarding Collection donors, lenders, or vendors.

Information that may compromise the operations or security of the Museum, the safety of the Collections, or the privacy of the donor or source is kept confidential unless its release is approved by the Chief Curatorial Officer. Information that is not restricted will be made available to researchers with the approval of the relevant collections or curatorial staff. Collections and curatorial staff are responsible for providing provenance and research information about Collection materials.

Access Procedures

Procedures regulating access to the Museum’s Collections and related information are developed by the Registration Department and in conjunction with curators and are approved by the Director of Collections or Chief Curatorial Officer.

Photography, Duplication, and Reproduction of Collection Materials

The Museum makes its Permanent Collection available to be photographed, duplicated, or reproduced under the supervision and management of appropriate Collections staff. The primary purposes of such surrogates are to facilitate access to the Collections, to safeguard the originals and limit handling, and to document the Museum’s holdings.

Official requests for Information may be made, adherent to the “Intellectual Property Rights and Reproduction Conditions,” found in the Collections Care, Access, and Use Policy Manual. Images, content, and other intellectual property owned or managed by MOTB are provided only for personal or professional study or for non-commercial use unless otherwise approved. No reproductions in any form may be made unless otherwise stated in writing by MOTB. Photographs of Work(s) without use restrictions may be requested. If a reproduction is necessary and made available, the requester/researcher may be charged a fee. If a fee is charged, it may be used as allowable in books, journals, newspapers, catalogs, magazines, dissertations and similar scholarly, commercial, or general publications, and through the internet. All such reproductions are to be fully credited as determined by the Museum.

The Museum reserves the right to refuse to provide photographic or other reprographic copies of Collection materials. To the extent it may be entitled to do so, the Museum may deny permission for certain reproductions if the attribution or other information about the material is in question; if the donor, source, or lender restrictions do not permit it; or if the circumstances of use demean, alter, or otherwise misrepresent the Work(s) and/or bring discredit to the Museum.

The Museum prohibits flash photography by the public of materials on exhibition or in storage. Special permission to flash photograph may be granted to authorized individuals. Flash photography (including motion picture) or videotaping of materials on exhibition or in storage will be permitted only by special permission and arrangement, with the consent of the responsible curatorial and collections staff, and after assurance from the conservation team that such activity will not prove harmful to the materials. Once permission has been granted, all photography by the media must be supervised by the Communications Department in consultation with the Collections Department.

Photography of Loaned or Limited Use Materials

Contracts or agreements that regulate the photography or dissemination and/or distribution of materials on loan or otherwise in the custody of the Museum will be strictly observed.

Policy Review and Revision

This document will be formally reviewed every three years by the Director of Collections. The procedures will continue to be revised regarding the day-to-day activities to reinforce the policy’s effectiveness. Suggested revisions of a procedural nature that do not affect policy and/or decision-making authority may be submitted at any time to the Chief Curatorial Officer, who will bring them to the attention of the Director of Collections. The Director of Collections will report these procedural changes to the Collections staff prior to making any revisions to this document. Any alterations to this document will be reported in a timely manner to the Chief Executive Officer and Board of Directors. Suggested revisions to policy and/or decision-making authority must be presented to the Chief Curatorial Officer, Executive Leadership, and the Board of Directors for prior review and approval.

Exceptions and Waivers

Unusual circumstances may dictate that exceptions and waivers be made to the policies and procedures stated in this document. Any such exceptions and waivers must be approved in advance by the Chief Curatorial Officer after consultation with Executive leadership and the Director of Collections. Any exceptions and waivers will be reported to the Chief Executive Officer. The Chief Curatorial Officer will keep a written record of such exceptions and waivers, and they will be reviewed when the policy is reviewed in its entirety.


The Chief Curatorial Officer is responsible for monitoring compliance with the policies and procedures outlined in this document. Acts of noncompliance will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis following consultation with the Director of Collections. From time to time, the Museum’s internal compliance team will review the compliance report(s) and may recommend actions regarding non-compliance.

Public Disclosure

Museum of the Bible’s “Collections Management Policy”, when accepted by the Board of Directors and adopted by the Curatorial Department, will be made available to all appropriate staff members, and, upon request, to donors, appropriate officials, and others.

Delivery Policy

Museum of the Bible offers standard shipping of one to five business days, but does also offer other expedited options. Ground, 2-day Air, Saturday Delivery and overnight shipping are all available to meet your needs. If shipping preferences are not specified at the time of purchase, we will ship your product using the most cost-effective and dependable method available via UPS or USPS. The shipping cost will be calculated on factors such as weight, day of delivery, and shipping distance. All orders must be paid in full before the item is shipped. All orders received by 1pm CST will be shipped out that same day. All orders will be shipped out within 2 business days.

Museum Shop Return Policy

Return Policy: All items purchased in the Museum Shop or online can be returned or exchanged within 60 days of the date of purchase.

To be eligible for a return or exchange, your item must meet all the following criteria:

  • Unused and in new condition
  • Receipt or proof of purchase
  • Post marked within allotted timeframe stated above.


Once we receive your item, we will notify you that we have received your returned item. If your return is approved, we will initiate a refund to your credit card (or original method of payment). You will receive the credit within a certain amount of days, depending on your card issuer's policies.


You will be responsible for paying for your own shipping costs for returning your item. Shipping costs are nonrefundable. For additional information, please contact Customer Service.

Damaged Goods

If your shipment is damaged, please contact Customer Service for exchange instructions.