- Museum Collections
- How Natural History Objects and Collections are Acquired
- Priorities for Acquisition
- Ethics of Acquisition
- Laws Governing Acquisition
- Conditions of Acceptance
- Acceptance of Large Collections
- Standards of Documentation
- Appraisal and Authentication of Acquisitions
- Accessioning Acquisitions
- Incoming Loans
- Outgoing Loans
- Access to Collections
- Destructive Analysis
- Use in Exhibitions
- Commercial Use of Museum Objects
- Legal and Ethical Constraints
- General Policy on Dispositions
- Recommendation of Curator
- Appendix I: Florida Statutes §1004.56
- Appendix II: Florida Statutes §1004.57
- Appendix III: Florida Statutes §267.11 – 267.14
- Appendix IV: Florida Statutes §872.05
- Appendix V: Deed of Gift to University of Florida Foundation, Inc.
The Florida Museum of Natural History is Florida’s state museum of natural history, dedicated to understanding, preserving, and interpreting biological diversity and cultural heritage.
Florida Statutes § 1004.56 requires the Florida Museum of Natural History to:
“…collect and maintain a depository of biological, archaeological, and ethnographic specimens and materials in sufficient numbers and quantities to provide within the state and region a base for research on the variety, evolution, and conservation of wild species; the composition, distribution, importance, and functioning of natural ecosystems; and the distribution of prehistoric and historic archaeological sites and an understanding of the aboriginal and early European cultures that occupied them.” [see Appendix I]
This document reaffirms existing policies and explains administrative intent governing the acquisition, use, and disposition of those collections by the Florida Museum of Natural History and its staff, both hereinafter referred to as the Museum. The rules set forth in this policy statement:
- Outline basic priorities for adding new objects to the collections.
- Provide direction for acquisition of collections by the Museum, or by the University of Florida Foundation, Inc. on behalf of the Museum.
- Affirm that the highest ethical standards will be met by the Museum staff in all transactions, including avoidance of conflicts of interest.
- Affirm that the Museum staff will comply with all domestic and foreign laws and regulations governing the collecting of objects, the transfer of ownership of those objects, and the movement of objects and collections across geo-political boundaries
- Assure that the standards of documentation for acquisitions shall equal or exceed those current in the respective scientific disciplines relating to particular collections.
- Define the conditions of acceptance that may be placed upon objects to be acquired by the Museum or on its behalf.
- Define the conditions and procedures for permanent removal of objects from the Museum collections.
These policies are concerned principally with the Museum’s scientific archival research collections, herein after referred to as ‘research collections’, maintained by our scientific divisions. However, unless explicitly excluded below or by lending agencies’ conditions, these policies also apply to the smaller collections maintained by Exhibits and Public Programs, and to objects exhibited by the Exhibits and Public Programs regardless of whether or not they are from the research collections, borrowed from outside sources, or specially purchased for that purpose.
The following definitions apply:
- ‘Collection’ is an assemblage of anthropological, biological, and geological objects acquired, accessioned, and conserved because of their scientific and historic significance and educational value.
- ‘Object’ encompasses all collection materials, including, but not limited to, specimens, artifacts, articles, photographs, illustrations, drawings, archival and library materials, field notes and records, and exhibits.
- ‘Acquisition’ involves all transactions by which title to incoming objects is transferred to the Museum or to the University of Florida Foundation, Inc. on behalf of the Museum by which the objects come under the professional administrative and curatorial control of the Museum, and includes gifts, bequests, purchases, exchanges, and other transfers, in addition to collection by Museum staff.
- ‘Disposition’ involves all transactions by which title to outgoing objects is transferred from the Museum or the University of Florida Foundation, Inc. on behalf of the Museum to another institution or individual, as well as disposal by intentional destruction.
- ‘Accession’ refers to the specific procedures that are followed in the preliminary logging of new objects into the Museum’s collections following acquisition.
- ‘Deaccession’ refers to the specific procedures that are followed in removing objects from the Museum’s collections in preparation for disposition.
- ‘Curation’ embraces all aspects of professionally caring for the collections and the objects they contain, including, but not limited to, acquiring, accessioning, cataloging, maintaining, preserving, restoring, deaccessioning, and disposing of the collections, objects, field notes, databases, and other associated records and documentation.
Note that acquisitions and dispositions do not include ‘loans’ or ‘chain of custody evidence’ both of which are the temporary transfers of collection objects to and from the Museum without a change of ownership (see Section 13–Incoming Loans and Section 14– Outgoing Loans below).
1. Museum Collections. Just as libraries are archives of printed and recorded materials, museums are archives of objects; art museums are archives for paintings, sculpture and other art objects, historical museums are archives for historical objects, and natural history museums are archives for anthropological, biological, and geological objects and their associated scientific records. The natural history collections mandated by Florida Statutes § 1004.56 are maintained by the Museum’s departments of Natural History and Exhibits and Public Programs. These collections, organized by scientific discipline and preservation requirements, emphasize Florida and the circum-Caribbean region, and range from intensive coverage of this geographic area, its biotic groups and cultures, to extensive coverage of a world biota and broad cultural areas. The Museum’s collections combine elements of both intensive and extensive coverage. The former are useful in detailed research efforts such as monographs and area studies, while the latter enable broadly comparative studies, significantly aid identification services and environmental studies, and provide maximum flexibility in selecting exhibit materials. Over-specialization in a collection tends to restrict the choice of new staff to those interested in the special area, while over-diversification may result in an inadequate base for effective research use and the ability to care for the collection.
Original scientific research, based upon the research collections, is carried out by members of the Museum’s staff, by scholars throughout the world, and by independent researchers working at the Museum. Identification services for the non-specialists, undergraduate teaching, and graduate training and similar activities are an everyday part of collection use.
In addition to the research collections, the Museum maintains smaller teaching and exhibit/education collections, usually of objects with lesser or no scientific value. At any given time, a small portion of the research collections, supplemented by specially purchased or loaned objects, and/or objects from the exhibit/education collections, is on public display in the exhibits prepared by the Department of Exhibits and Public Programs. Our knowledge about people and nature are explained to the public by the Museum’s Department of Exhibits and Public Programs through exhibits, lectures, multimedia and other appropriate methods. Such explanations depend on carefully selected objects from the research collections and exhibit/education collections coupled with the knowledge and expertise supplied by the scientific and public education staff.
Thus, the Museum’s policies toward its collections bear directly on its continuing ability to influence and support both the scientific community through research and educational activities and the lay community through education.
2. How Natural History Objects and Collections are Acquired. Under Florida Statutes § 1004.56, the Museum is empowered to “…accept, preserve, maintain, or dispose of the specimens and materials…” to build its research collections. Many of the objects are collected by the Museum staff in the course of their research in the field. The title to objects collected by full-time Museum staff, or part-time employees during their regular working hours, or with state funding, or as part of their regular job assignment, or collected on Museum sponsored field trips, is vested in the Museum. Permits for collecting specimens in foreign countries specify which of the specimens belong to the Museum and which must remain in, or be returned to, an institution or agency in the country of origin. Most federal research grants and contracts to the Museum also provide for the objects collected by Museum staff to be placed in the Museum. Under Florida Statutes § 1004.57, title to vertebrate fossils collected on state-owned lands is vested in the Museum (see Appendix II), and as provided under FS § 267.12(3) the title to archaeological objects from state lands is vested in the Division of Historical Resources of the Florida Department of State (see Appendix III). Some archaeological collections belonging to the Division of Historical Resources are curated at the Museum in agreement with the Division of Historical Resources. A number of federal laws provide that the title to objects collected on federal lands and/or under federal jurisdiction is vested in the U.S. government or in the responsible federal agency though the curation of the objects may be assigned to a public research collection such as the Museum, by a repository agreement. In addition, the Museum and the U.S. Secretary of the Interior signed a formal agreement to cooperate in research and conservation of biodiversity and the national fauna and flora, including collecting and collections.
Acquisition can also occur through purchase, donation, bequest, transfer or exchange of objects from individuals, private companies, other museums, or research institutions outside the Museum.
Acquisition from such outside sources can occur in two ways:
- Direct acquisition by the Florida Museum of Natural History or by the State of Florida for the Museum.
- Acquisition by the University of Florida Foundation, Inc. on behalf of the Museum. Acquisitions made in this manner must be accompanied by a Deed of Gift, [see Appendix V]
Acquisition through the University of Florida Foundation, Inc. is preferred for larger collections and for collections with tax consequences to the donor because it allows more flexible accessioning, disposal, and accounting. Many of the Museum’s research collections have scientific value far greater than their monetary value. Many of the objects in the collections are irreplaceable. The Museum’s collections and objects in the collections are owned by the State of Florida with the title vested in the Museum [see Appendix I]. However, the Museum may receive by gift some object, e.g., a building or parcel of land, which has a monetary value that exceeds its scientific value. Such objects can be acquired by the University of Florida Foundation, Inc. on behalf of the Museum and treated as assets to be sold at some future date to benefit a Museum program. The University of Florida Foundation, Inc. is an independent not-for-profit corporation that is tax exempt under Section 501(c) (3) of the U.S. Internal Revenue Service Code. The Foundation’s assets are managed by the Foundation’s staff and financial advisors under the direction of its Board of Directors.
- Objects and collections that are to become part of the research collections may be acquired directly by the Museum or by the University of Florida Foundation, Inc. on behalf of the Museum.
- Objects and collections, or other assets that may be sold in the future should be acquired by the University of Florida Foundation, Inc. on behalf of the Museum.
- Objects or collections that are to become part of the research collections, but which can only be acquired through purchase, should be acquired by the University of Florida Foundation, Inc.
Decisions to acquire collections can only be made by the relevant Curators / Collection Managers in the Department of Natural History, and Collection Manager in Exhibits and Public Programs. The relevant Curators / Collection Managers in the Department of Natural History must be contacted if material that may have scientific value is being considered for acquisition by Exhibits and Public Programs. The relevant Curators / Collection Managers have the right of first refusal, and also have the right to refuse accessioning said material for the research collection. For example, a desired object of insufficient scientific value would be retained by Exhibits and Public Programs, whereas a desired object of scientific value that a Curator / Collection Manager wishes to retain for the research collection would be accessioned within the research collection and loaned to Exhibits and Public Programs.
3. Priorities for Acquisition. Although the present collections are of international significance and are used in research, identification services, and educational activities, all of the collections can be improved by selective addition of new objects.
It is equally clear that the Museum cannot engage in indiscriminate acquisition. The diversity of nature, including human culture and artifacts, is so extraordinarily large that physical space limitations alone make comprehensive collecting impossible. The financial aspects of fulfilling the Museum’s continuing obligation to preserve, maintain, and use representative samples of the world limit our acquisition capabilities. Consequently, a schedule of priorities for new acquisitions has been adopted. For similar reasons, consideration must be given to policies covering disposition of objects that may no longer be appropriate or necessary for the Museum’s areas of interest.
First Priority.To strengthen collection areas in which the Museum has a current specialization and recognized historical interest, especially when these areas are threatened irreversibly by human activities. Examples of primary priority acquisitions are objects of direct use in present or projected research or in current educational or exhibition programs; high quality objects needed to fill gaps in the current holdings or to supplement objects of lesser quality; objects from cultures, biotas, and geologic strata where technological changes and expanding human activity place a time limit on the period in which sampling can take place.
Second Priority. To broaden the comparative base of our established collection areas. Examples of secondary priority acquisitions are archival objects such as voucher objects for published research; synoptic objects from specialists; objects that will strengthen a collection in a subject area related to a previously established one.
Third Priority.To obtain collections of a general nature that are within the broad interests of the Museum. Examples of tertiary priority acquisitions are interesting or unique, adequately documented objects of limited use in a scientific sense; objects outside the scope of current Museum research collections, but that might in the future have direct use in explaining more fully the diversity of nature and culture to the lay public.
It is recognized that acquisition of objects often must be opportunistic. From time to time, collections of recognized national or international significance become available from individuals or institutions that are no longer able or willing to preserve, maintain, and use them in research and educational activities. Acceptance of responsibilities for such collections may involve establishing a new area of interest within the Museum. Acquisition of such collections must be judged on their individual merits, carefully weighing the values and costs of such additions against the evolving programs and emphases of the Museum, as well as the Museum’s resources (see Section 10–Accessioning Acquisitions below).
4. Ethics of Acquisition. All acquisitions by Museum staff shall reflect its commitment to preserve and guard the biological and cultural heritage of the earth. Objects that have been collected recently in such a careless manner as to impair their scientific value shall not be accepted (e.g., archaeological and geological objects taken without proper recording of stratigraphic and site data, or biological objects with inadequate documentation).
Biological collections involving unnecessary harm to populations with limited numbers of individuals or a tenuous existence shall not knowingly be made by staff or accepted by the Museum from others.
Anthropological collections originate from past and present human societies and offer an unparalleled research potential for examination of human biological and cultural evolution. They also form a highly sensitive collection which may be viewed from a wide variety of individual and collective belief systems. These diverse perspectives affect the ethical concerns evoked at all levels of curation from acquisition through collections management to deaccessioning. The ethics surrounding a collection in the culture of origin will be taken into consideration in the evaluation and management of anthropological materials. Any acquisition of Native American remains or cultural objects must be in full compliance with the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (see Section 6–Conditions of Acceptance below).
5. Laws Governing Acquisition. Archaeological, ethnographic, or biotic objects will be acquired only when they have been collected, possessed, exported, and imported in full compliance with the laws and regulations of the country or countries of origin, of the Federal Government of the United States, and of the individual states within the United States. The Museum will refuse to acquire objects in any case where it has cause to believe that the circumstances of their collection involved the recent unscientific or intentional destruction of sites or monuments, or where state or federal laws or international treaties have been violated. These standards will be taken into account in determining whether to accept loans for exhibition or other purposes. Reasonable efforts will be made to ensure that these conditions are met, that title to the object or objects may properly be transferred to the Museum or to the University of Florida Foundation, Inc. on behalf of the Museum, and that the Museum keeps up-to-date on the changing laws and regulations concerning object collecting, ownership, and movement across geo-political boundaries. The Museum will cooperate with authorities of the United States and other countries in legal action against those committing improprieties. Copies of permits and correspondence related to the acquisition of collections shall be kept in the archives of the collection holding them.
In an attempt to avoid encouraging, even indirectly, trade in illicit or irresponsibly recovered objects, the Museum will not authenticate any object whose acquisition does not meet the Museum’s own criteria for acquisition. In addition, if the Museum or the University of Florida Foundation, Inc. on behalf of the Museum should inadvertently acquire an object that is later determined to have been exported or recovered in violation of the Museum’s acquisition policy, the Museum will promptly return the object to the owner or transfer agent, or to the government of the country of origin, or to another appropriate recipient.
6. Conditions of Acceptance. With very few exceptions, all acquisitions are unconditional. The Museum or the University of Florida Foundation, Inc. on behalf of the Museum normally cannot accept objects on which the owner has placed restrictions that would prevent effective research examination, normal exhibition use, loan, or disposal in accordance with this established policy. The Museum or the University of Florida Foundation, Inc. on behalf of the Museum also cannot accept objects with restrictions requiring that they be placed on exhibition, or that the collection of which they form a part should be kept together permanently and/or displayed only as a discrete collection. Under extraordinary circumstances, objects can be accepted with the requirement that the Museum retain ownership for a negotiated period of time.
Anthropological collections, particularly those covered by the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), form an area where certain exceptions may be considered in consultation, not with the donor, but with the tribe which is culturally affiliated with the collections in question.
7. Acceptance of large collections. The decision of whether to acquire a large collection from another institution/individual is primarily the responsibility of the relevant Curators / Collection Managers. However, given that acquisition of physically large collections has institution-wide impact, especially with regards to space, acquisition of such collections requires written approval from the Collections and Space Committee (CSC). The CSC will evaluate the value and impact of such acquisitions, and either approve them, or make recommendations to the faculty regarding the proposed acquisition. The faculty will then decide whether acquisition should be approved, modified, or denied. It is anticipated that the CSC will not recommend limiting acquisitions except in some cases of severe duplication or an unusually large space demand.
Large collections are defined for these purposes as those exceeding a 50 sq. ft footprint once curated at the Museum in the manner appropriate for the respective collection. No range shall agree to accept a large collection until approved by the CSC or faculty. Ranges wishing to accept large collections shall submit the following information about the collection to the CSC for consideration:
- Size of collection in terms of numbers of specimens/lots, and expected footprint at the Museum (calculated as if the collection were housed on its own)
- Significance of collection, such as addition of new type material, cultures, species, geographic areas, etc.
- How much does this collection duplicate holdings at the Museum?
- How does this collection fit with the strengths of the Museum?
- How much of this collection is anticipated to be retained after curation?
- How will the collection be transported to the Museum?
- Cost of transporting the collection to the Museum and how that cost will be paid.
- Where will the collection be held while it is being processed into the research collection?
- Projected time needed for curation.
- Projected cost of curation, including extra staff, cabinets, labels, computer entry, etc. and how the cost will be paid.
8. Standards of Documentation. Minimum requirements of documentation, including provenience, vary by research collection. Such standards are necessary requisites for objects to be added to the research collections. We cannot afford to permanently house objects lacking scientific value. Objects with less than complete data, but having scientific or educational value, may be accessioned at the discretion of the Curators /Collection Managers in charge.
9. Appraisal and Authentication of Acquisitions. No member of the Museum staff shall, in his or her official capacity, give appraisals for the purpose of establishing the tax deductible value of gifts or purchases offered to the Museum. The United States Internal Revenue Service prohibits appraisals from a recipient institution that is directly involved in the transaction. Only appraisals from disinterested third parties are accepted. No member of the Museum staff knowingly shall appraise, identify, or otherwise authenticate natural history objects or cultural objects for other persons or agencies under circumstances that could encourage or benefit illegal, unethical, or irresponsible traffic in such objects. Identification and authentication may be given for professional or educational purposes and in compliance with the legitimate requests of professional or governmental bodies or their agencies.
10. Accessioning Acquisitions. Before any nationally or internationally renowned, monetarily valuable, or scientifically extraordinary collection is accessioned into a Museum collection, a summary report must be completed and filed in the permanent records of that research collection. The report shall contain the following information:
- Which research collection will receive the acquisition?
- Name of collection being acquired.
- Summary of contacts with owner or administrator; names and dates.
- Name of collection owner if different from initial contact.
- Items in collection (e.g., number of objects or number of lots, books, notes, photographs).
- Statement about the provenience of the objects – a brief summary should be provided for large collections containing hundreds of objects with varied or extensively detailed provenience.
- Copies of documentation certifying to the legality of the collection (e.g., export permits from the country of origin, U.S. federal or state permits, statement from owner).
- Signed letter, document, or certificate from the owner stating that title to the collection is being transferred to the Florida Museum of Natural History or, if appropriate, to the University of Florida Foundation, Inc. on behalf of the museum (Deed of Gift; see Appendix V)
- Date collection was transferred to the Museum.
- Names of people involved in the acquisition.
- Date and signature of the Curators / Collection Managers in charge.
- A copy of the acknowledgment certificate given to the owner.
- Information detailing the circumstances of original acquisition and the curatorial history of the collection.
11. Curation. All collections in the Museum shall be curated according to the highest professional standards. That curation aims to preserve and maintain the collections, and the objects and associated data they contain, so they may be available in perpetuity for use in studies and exhibitions (the rare exceptions are discussed below under Section 24–Disposal and Section 16–Destructive Analysis). To assure that those standards are met, each collection in the Museum shall be assigned to the responsibility of particular Curators / Collection Managers.
12. Loans. Materials from the research and exhibit/education collections may be loaned to or borrowed from other natural history museums, universities, and other appropriate public institutions for research and/or exhibition purposes. Objects shall not be lent to or borrowed from individuals except under exceptional circumstances and then only on the recommendation of the Curators / Collection Managers in charge. A record of all incoming and outgoing loans shall be maintained as part of the permanent records of the Museum.
- Incoming loans are to be requested and processed only by the Curators /Collection Managers in each division.
- Indefinite or long-term loans shall be accepted only when authorized in writing by the Director or his/her designee on recommendation of the staff.
- Incoming loans shall not be accepted if they do not meet the same standards set forth in Section 4–Ethics of Acquisition and 5–Laws Governing Acquisition above.
- While the loans are in our care, they will be handled, conserved, stored, and exhibited, as required by the lending institution or otherwise accorded the same professional care as if they were part of the Museum’s collections.
- Objects sent to the Museum for forensic identification by law enforcement agencies constitute a special class of loans. Because they may be used as evidence in court cases, access to forensic objects must be limited to those Museum staff members directly involved in their identification so as not to jeopardize legal chain of custody. When not being examined, forensic evidence objects shall be stored in locked cabinets or other secure facilities.
14. Outgoing Loans. The Museum lends objects to qualified institutions for scholarly research and exhibition subject to the policies and practices consistent with each of the Museum’s collections. However, the following conditions pertain to all outgoing loans:
- Before lending to individuals, the Curators / Collection Managers in charge must make every effort to seek an institutional affiliation or endorsement for that person.
- Objects requested by students require written faculty or institutional endorsement and will be considered the direct responsibility of the faculty member or institutional representative endorsing the request.
- Loans shall not be transferred by the borrower to any other institution or individual without prior written approval of the Curators / Collection Managers in charge. Exhibits & Public Programs may not transfer objects loaned from the Museum’s research collections to another institution for exhibition without prior written approval of the Curators / Collection Managers in charge of the collection.
- The maximum duration of any loan shall be one year, but shall be subject to renewal at the discretion of the Curators / Collection Managers in charge.
- Objects shall not be loaned for destructive analysis except as provided in Section 16–Destructive Analysis below.
- The return of objects sent for forensic identification shall comply with the legal chain of custody procedures required by the law enforcement agency involved.
- Shipment of outgoing loans shall comply with labeling and permitting requirements of all applicable state and federal laws and international treaties, including the United States Endangered Species Act, the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, and the UNESCO Convention of 1971. Domestic and international shipments of specimens in ethanol shall be made according to the Small Quantity Exceptions Provision of the U.S. Department of Transportation 49CFR 173.4, and the Excepted Quantity Provision of the International Air Transport Association.
- Loan of primary Types (e.g., holotypes) is at the discretion of the Curators / Collection Managers in charge and if loaned, must be sent/received only by traceable shipping method (e.g. UPS, FedEx).
- Outgoing loans from genetic resource collections shall require a signed agreement from the loan recipient that stipulates limits on intellectual property rights and commercial use of the genetic information derived from the loaned material, see 17–Commercial Use of Museum Objects below.
15. Access to Collections. During normal operating hours, the collections shall be accessible for legitimate research and study by responsible investigators, subject to procedures necessary to safeguard the objects and to restrictions imposed by limitations of space and facilities, exhibition requirements, and availability of appropriate curatorial staff.
Access to anthropological collections by representatives from Native American tribes and other indigenous peoples shall be available upon request and shall be subject to the same restrictions as research access.
16. Destructive Analysis. Since aspects of destructive analysis are related to Section 24–Disposal research involving destructive analysis is a specialized use and requires prior written approval of the Curators / Collection Managers in charge. The Museum’s legal, professional, and moral obligation to maintain its collections for the public good extends even to destructive analysis.
Specialized uses of museum materials for destructive analysis include genetic and geochemical analyses, and anatomical and histological studies. Collections frequently affected by such requests for destructive analyses shall develop guidelines for destructive analyses, and include these with their loan forms when appropriate. Museum collections that have the specific goal of serving as repositories of genetic resources (e.g. frozen tissue collections) and, as such, routinely handle requests for destructive analysis are expected to implement loan request procedures that help balance current needs for access to those genetic resources with the value of preserving those materials for future use. However, destructive analysis of materials archived in genetic resource collections is not considered exceptional and all efforts should be made to honor requests that will likely yield significant scientific contributions.
When destructive analysis is appropriate, every effort should be made to limit destruction to less than the entire specimen and to return the remains so that they will continue to be available for research and education, as well as serve as a voucher of the specimen sampled.
Requests for destructive analysis must detail the specimens or materials required and the procedures to be conducted. Any remains from the analysis continue to be the property of the Museum unless other provisions are specifically allowed in writing (by the Curators / Collection Managers in charge) prior to destruction. In cases involving the dissection of biological specimens, the undestroyed component parts shall be returned to the collection along with associated identifying tags or marks. The data resulting from the destructive analysis shall be reported to the appropriate research collection and will be maintained with the records associated with the materials analyzed. At the discretion of the Curators / Collection Managers in charge, arrangements may be made to divide duplicate histological slides, genetic isolates or other similar preparations between the researcher and the collection.
17. Use in Exhibitions. The Museum places original, reconstructed, and duplicated objects from the collections on public exhibition. These objects remain the curatorial responsibility of the research collections from which they originated, and shall be treated in a manner consistent with the policies stated above. If the research Curators / Collection Managers in charge reasonably determines that exhibition will damage the objects, or is damaging the objects, from the research collection, the situation shall be remedied immediately. Such remedy may entail removal of the objects from exhibition with written approval of the research Curators / Collection Managers in charge and the Chairperson of Department of Natural History after consultation with the Head of Exhibits and Public Programs.
18. Commercial Use of Museum Objects. The Museum collections normally are not available for commercial non-educational use. However, at the discretion of the Curators / Collection Managers in charge and with approval of the Director or his/her designee, objects may be made available for reproduction for commercial sale. The Curators / Collection Managers in charge and other Museum professionals shall be the judge of quality control, selections, and marketing with approval of the Director or his/her designee. Such commercial use shall be consistent with this collections policy. Copyright for reproduction of Museum objects shall remain the property of the Museum or the University of Florida Foundation, Inc. on behalf of the Museum (as dictated above in Section 2– How Natural History Objects and Collections are Acquired) Outgoing loans from genetic resource collections shall require a signed agreement from the loan recipient that stipulates limits on intellectual property rights and commercial use of the genetic information derived from the loaned material. This agreement shall be consistent with the collections policy and with any other such use limits established by the collecting permits used to acquire the loaned material for the genetic resources collections.
19. Conflicts Of Interest and Ethical Constraints. If a Curator, Collection Manager, technician, research assistant, student working in the Museum, or other Museum employee were to maintain a private collection in his or her professional field of interest, the temptation would be great to put particularly valuable objects in the private collection rather than in the Museum collection. Because of this potential conflict of interest, Museum employees are prohibited from having private scientific collections, or objects of scientific interest in collections that are in their professional field of interest.
Collections of natural history objects of primary scientific interest and associated field notes made by professional Museum employees with the use of Museum funds, direct or indirect, complete or partial, in the broadest sense, within the field of the persons employed, shall be Museum property, except as limited by conditions of the collecting/research permit. Similar collections made by other Museum employees outside their professional field of interest, and/or outside the areas in which the Museum has active interest or maintains curated collections, is permitted with the Museum reserving the option of first refusal. No authority shall be granted the Museum to restrain or restrict the principal investigator’s use of his or her own field notes. Should the principal investigator leave the Museum staff, a complete archival copy of the field notes shall be left with the Museum.
Personal collections, where permitted by the above policy, may be amassed by Museum employees only through compliance with applicable state and federal laws and international treaties.
These restrictions also apply to anthropological type collections and synoptic collections in natural sciences. However, if a person leaves the Museum, such collections may then be made available to his or her new institution.
Objects in private collections made before association with the Museum, or before 18 September 1979 (when the U.S. ratified the UNESCO Convention), are exempt from the policy in this ‘conflict of interest’ section.
The private collections policies set forth in this section do not apply to volunteers, or to non-paid associates and courtesy appointments. However, such volunteers and honorary colleagues are prohibited from adding to their private collections any objects acquired as a result of their association with the Museum. This ‘conflict of interest’ policy shall be carried out with the best interests of the Museum in mind, recognizing the commitments of the Museum to the State of Florida and the professional interests of the individuals.
Any dispute arising from this section shall be resolved by the Collection and Space Committee, in consultation with the Department of Natural History Chair and the Museum Director.
20. Legal and Ethical Constraints. The Museum acts as custodian of objects for the broader benefits of society. This, at times, requires permanent removal of objects from the Museum. Such removal, i.e., transfers or disposals of objects involving even their physical destruction, is protected by FS § 240.515. The Museum’s legal, professional, and moral obligation to maintain its collections for the public good extends even to dispositions. When dispositions are appropriate, every effort should be made to transfer objects to other museums or public institutions where they will continue to be available for research and education. See also Section 16–Destructive Analysis above. Such transactions must not profit individuals or private institutions. A record of all transfers and disposals shall be maintained as part of the permanent records of the Museum.
All of the provisions for disposition shall be consistent with the ethical and legal constraints set forth in Section 4–Ethics of Acquisition, 5–Laws Governing Acquisition, and 11–Curation, above. No transfer or disposal shall be made of any objects held by the Museum in trust. The deaccessioning of human remains and cultural objects for repatriation to Native American tribes is a specialized form of transfer mandated by federal law in the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA). The Museum is committed to compliance with this legislation and has formed a Repatriation Advisory Committee to oversee the implementation of the federal regulations. As there is no statute of limitations associated with NAGPRA, this committee will be a permanent agency within the institution.
In addition, the Museum must comply with Florida laws dealing with unmarked human burials as set forth in Florida Statutes § 872.05 which requires, “…that all human burials and human skeletal remains be accorded equal treatment and respect based upon common human dignity without reference to ethnic origin, cultural background, or religious affiliation.”
21. General Policy on Dispositions. Objects in the collections should be retained permanently if they continue to be useful to the purposes and activities of the Museum; if they continue to contribute to the integrity of the collections; and if they can be properly stored, preserved, and used. Upon the recommendation of the Curators / Collection Managers in charge, objects may be disposed of by formal deaccessioning when the above conditions no longer exist, or if it is determined that such action would ultimately improve or refine the collections, upon compliance with all legal requirements.
22. Recommendation of Curator Each object being considered for deaccessioning must meet the following criteria as evidenced by the Curators / Collection Managers in charge based upon one or more of the following:
- The object lacks value for scientific research or documentation, or for educational use.
- The object no longer retains its physical integrity, its identity, its provenience, or its authenticity.
- The object is not relevant to or consistent with the Museum’s function and purpose.
- Exchange of a redundant object (one of a series of similar objects with similar provenience in the collection) with a recognized public systematics collection or natural history museum will improve and refine the Museum’s collection.
Such deaccessions shall be made by transfer or disposal.
23. Transfer. Permanent transfers of scientifically or educationally valuable Museum accessioned objects may be recommended by the Curators / Collection Managers in charge in compliance with the statutes and regulations of the State of Florida. Except in extraordinary circumstances they shall be made only to other non-profit public institutions. Transfers to private individuals shall be made only when the Curators / Collection Managers in charge can demonstrate a benefit to the collection or Museum, and only after approval of the Director or his/her designee.
All objects or collections with a fair market value reasonably expected to be in excess of $5,000.00 shall require prior written approval of the Director or his/her designee before transfer from the Museum.
Some objects in the Museum’s archaeological collections were acquired from United States federal agencies with the legal obligation to curate these objects in perpetuity. Before the Museum can dispose or transfer any such objects from federal agencies or any other collections that may have similar obligations/commitments/restrictions, the appropriate agency must agree in writing to the deaccessioning.
24. Disposal. Over the years, as standards of object documentation change, as the collections grow and objects suffer deterioration, biological and anthropological objects that formerly were a significant part of the research and exhibit/education collections may become surplus. Removal or culling of such objects from the research and exhibit/education collections is a continual and routine process. Special provisions are made in Florida Statutes § 1004.57(1) for the disposal of nonessential vertebrate fossils (see Appendix II).
Often these objects from the scientific collections are used in the Department of Exhibits and Public Programs education programs. If such objects are not needed by the Museum’s public education programs, the Curators / Collection Managers in charge of the research collection may give them to appropriate educational institutions for use in teaching activities, or if no alternative exists, they may be discarded completely or destroyed. Such objects for disposal shall have all identifying marks and numbers removed from them and the disposal shall be noted in the appropriate research collection records by the Curators / Collection Managers in charge, offered first to the Department of Exhibits and Public Programs, and then disposed of in accordance with these guidelines. Objects shall not be given or sold privately to Museum employees or their relatives or representatives.
25. Sale. The collections are not for sale. In rare instances where specimens are to be disposed of because they are not appropriate for the collections, yet have monetary value, a division may petition to allow the sale of specified specimens. Such sales will be limited to items that do not meet the collection’s priorities for acquisitions, lack scientific value, and whose sale does not represent an ethical compromise. Decisions to sell such items will be made jointly by the relevant Curators / Collection Managers and must be approved by the Collections and Space Committee and ultimately by the Director. In such cases, disposal of these specimens and objects may occur through sale of the items. In accordance with the legal and ethical standards set forth by the FLMNH, the AAM, and standards in the field, the proceeds from any sale of collections will be used to purchase new collections, to acquire new collections by other means (e.g., collecting expeditions), or to improve curation of existing collections.
1004.56 Florida Museum of Natural History; functions
(1) The functions of the Florida Museum of Natural History, located at the University of Florida, are to make scientific investigations toward the sustained development of natural resources and a greater appreciation of human cultural heritage, including, but not limited to, biological surveys, ecological studies, environmental impact assessments, in-depth archaeological research, and ethnological analyses, and to collect and maintain a depository of biological, archaeological, and ethnographic specimens and materials in sufficient numbers and quantities to provide within the state and region a base for research on the variety, evolution, and conservation of wild species; the composition, distribution, importance, and functioning of natural ecosystems; and the distribution of prehistoric and historic archaeological sites and an understanding of the aboriginal and early European cultures that occupied them. State institutions, departments, and agencies may deposit type collections from archaeological sites in the museum, and it shall be the duty of each state institution, department, and agency to cooperate by depositing in the museum voucher and type biological specimens collected as part of the normal research and monitoring duties of its staff and to transfer to the museum those biological specimens and collections in its possession but not actively being curated or used in the research or teaching of that institution, department, or agency. The Florida Museum of Natural History is empowered to accept, preserve, maintain, or dispose of these specimens and materials in a manner which makes each collection and its accompanying data available for research and use by the staff of the museum and by cooperating institutions, departments, agencies, and qualified independent researchers. The biological, archaeological, and ethnographic collections shall belong to the state with the title vested in the Florida Museum of Natural History, except as provided in s. 267.12(3). In collecting or otherwise acquiring these collections, the museum shall comply with pertinent state wildlife, archaeological, and agricultural laws and rules. However, all collecting, quarantine, and accreditation permits issued by other institutions, departments, and agencies shall be granted routinely for said museum research study or collecting effort on state lands or within state jurisdiction which does not pose a significant threat to the survival of endangered wild species, habitats, or ecosystems. In addition, the museum shall develop exhibitions and conduct programs which illustrate, interpret, and explain the natural history of the state and region and shall maintain a library of publications pertaining to the work as herein provided. The exhibitions, collections, and library of the museum shall be open, free to the public, under suitable rules to be promulgated by the Director of the museum and approved by the University of Florida.
(2) Any gifts, transfers, bequests, or other conveyances made to the Florida State Museum are deemed to have been made to the Florida Museum of Natural History.
History.–s. 203, ch. 2002-387.
1004.57 Vertebrate paleontological sites and remains; legislative intent and state policy
(1) It is the declared intention of the Legislature that vertebrate paleontological sites be protected and preserved and that, pursuant thereto, vertebrate paleontological field investigation activities, including, but not limited to, collection, excavation, salvage, restoration, and cataloging of fossils, be discouraged except when such activities are carried on in accordance with both the provisions and the spirit of this act. However, it is not the intention of the Legislature that the provisions of this act impede mining or quarrying for rock, gravel, fill, phosphate, and other minerals, or the construction of canals or similar excavations, when such activities are permitted by law. Rather, it is the intent of the Legislature that mine and heavy equipment operators be encouraged to cooperate with the state in preserving its vertebrate paleontological heritage and vertebrate fossils by notifying the Florida Museum of Natural History whenever vertebrate fossils are discovered during mining or digging operations and by allowing such fossils to be properly salvaged and that persons having knowledge of vertebrate paleontological sites be encouraged to communicate such information to the museum.
(2) It is hereby declared to be the public policy of this state to protect and preserve vertebrate paleontological sites containing vertebrate fossils, including bones, teeth, natural casts, molds, impressions, and other remains of prehistoric fauna, and to provide for the collection, acquisition, and study of the vertebrate fossils of the state which offer documentation of the diversity of life on this planet.
(3) It is further declared to be the public policy of the state that all vertebrate fossils found on state-owned lands, including submerged lands and uplands, belong to the state with title to the fossils vested in the Florida Museum of Natural History for the purpose of administration of this section and ss. 1004.575-1004.577.
History.–s. 204, ch. 2002-387.
1004.575 Program of vertebrate paleontology within Florida Museum of Natural History
There is established within the Florida Museum of Natural History a program of vertebrate paleontology, which program has the following responsibilities:
(1) Encouraging the study of the vertebrate fossils and vertebrate paleontological heritage of the state and providing exhibits and other educational materials on the vertebrate fauna to the universities and schools of the state.
(2) Developing a statewide plan, to be submitted to the Director of the Florida Museum of Natural History, for preserving the vertebrate paleontological resources of the state in a manner which is consistent with the state policies in s. 1004.57 and which will not unduly hamper development in this state, including mining and excavating operations.
(3) Locating, surveying, acquiring, collecting, salvaging, conserving, and restoring vertebrate fossils; conducting research on the history and systematics of the fossil fauna of the state; and maintaining the official state depository of vertebrate fossils.
(4) Locating, surveying, acquiring, excavating, and operating vertebrate paleontological sites and properties containing vertebrate fossils, which sites and properties have great significance to the scientific study of such vertebrate fossils or to public representation of the faunal heritage of the state.
(5) Enlisting the aid of professional vertebrate paleontologists, mine and quarry operators, heavy digging equipment operators, and qualified amateurs in carrying out the provisions of subsections (1)-(4), and authorizing their active support and cooperation by issuing permits to them as provided in s. 1004.576.
(6) Cooperating and coordinating activities with the Department of Environmental Protection under the provisions of ss. 375.021 and 375.031 and the Department of State under chapter 267 in the acquisition, preservation, and operation of significant vertebrate paleontological sites and properties of great and continuing scientific value, so that such sites and properties may be utilized to conserve the faunal heritage of this state and to promote an appreciation of that heritage.
(7) Designating areas as “state vertebrate paleontological sites” pursuant to the provisions of this section, which areas are of great and continuing significance to the scientific study and public understanding of the faunal history of the state. However, no privately owned site or grouping of sites shall be so designated without the express written consent of the private owner of the site or group of sites. Upon designation of a state vertebrate paleontological site, the owners and occupants of such site shall be given written notification of such designation by the program. Once such site has been so designated, no person may conduct paleontological field investigation activities on the site without first securing a permit for such activities as provided in s. 1004.576.
(8) Arranging for the disposition of the vertebrate fossils by accredited institutions and for the temporary or permanent loan of such fossils for the purpose of further scientific study, interpretive display, and curatorial responsibilities by such institutions.
History.–s. 205, ch. 2002-387.
1004.576 Destruction, purchase, and sale of vertebrate fossils prohibited, exceptions; field investigation permits required; penalty for violation.
(1) The destruction, defacement, purchase, and sale of vertebrate fossils found on or under land owned or leased by the state and on land in state-designated vertebrate paleontological sites are prohibited, except that the Florida Museum of Natural History may sell vertebrate fossils and may adopt rules defining “nonessential vertebrate fossils” and prescribing the conditions under which such fossils may be sold or otherwise disposed of by a person holding a permit issued by the Florida Museum of Natural History. Field investigations of vertebrate fossils, including, but not limited to, the systematic collection, acquisition, excavation, salvage, exhumation, or restoration of such fossils, are prohibited on all lands owned or leased by the state and on lands in state-designated vertebrate paleontological sites, unless such activities are conducted under the authority of permits issued by the Florida Museum of Natural History. A permit may be granted by the Florida Museum of Natural History upon application for the permit accompanied by an application fee not to exceed $5. The privileges authorized pursuant to the grant of a permit as provided in this subsection may not be assigned or sublet to any other party.
(2) Any person who, in violation of this section, engages in any of the activities described in subsection (1) without first having obtained a permit to engage in such activity commits a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine not to exceed $500 or by imprisonment in the county jail for a period not to exceed 6 months, or both; and, in addition, he or she shall forfeit to the state all specimens, objects, and materials collected and excavated in violation of this section, together with all photographs and records relating to such materials.
(3) The Florida Museum of Natural History may institute a civil action in the appropriate circuit court for recovery of any unlawfully taken vertebrate fossil. The fossil shall be forfeited to the state if the Florida Museum of Natural History shows by the greater weight of the evidence that the fossil has been taken from a particular site within this state and that the person found in possession of the fossil is not authorized by law to possess such fossil.
History.–s. 206, ch. 2002-387.
267.11 Designation of archaeological sites
Designation of archaeological sites.–The division** may publicly designate an archaeological site of significance to the scientific study or public representation of the state’s historical, prehistoric, or aboriginal past as a “state archaeological landmark.” In addition, the division may publicly designate an interrelated grouping of significant archaeological sites as a “state archaeological landmark zone.” However, no site or grouping of sites shall be so designated without the express written consent of the private owner thereof. Upon designation of an archaeological site, the owners and occupants of each designated state archaeological landmark or landmark zone shall be given written notification of such designation by the division. Once so designated, no person may conduct field investigation activities without first securing a permit from the division.
History.–s. 1, ch. 73-166; s. 55, ch. 86-163.
** “Division” in this Appendix refers to the Division of Historical Resources of the Florida Department of State
267.12 Research permits; procedure
(1) The division may issue permits for excavation and surface reconnaissance on state lands or lands within the boundaries of designated state archaeological landmarks or landmark zones to institutions which the division shall deem to be properly qualified to conduct such activity, subject to such rules and regulations as the division may prescribe, provided such activity is undertaken by reputable museums, universities, colleges, or other historical, scientific, or educational institutions or societies that possess or will secure the archaeological expertise for the performance of systematic archaeological field research, comprehensive analysis, and interpretation in the form of publishable reports and monographs, such reports to be submitted to the division.
(2) Those state institutions considered by the division permanently to possess the required archaeological expertise to conduct the archaeological activities allowed under the provisions of the permit may be designated as accredited institutions which will be allowed to conduct archaeological field activities on state-owned or controlled lands or within the boundaries of any designated state archaeological landmark or any landmark zone without obtaining an individual permit for each project, except that those accredited institutions will be required to give prior written notice of all anticipated archaeological field activities on state-owned or controlled lands or within the boundaries of any designated state archaeological landmark or landmark zone to the division, together with such information as may reasonably be required by the division to ensure the proper preservation, protection, and excavation of the archaeological resources. However, no archaeological activity may be commenced by the accredited institution until the division has determined that the planned project will be in conformity with the guidelines, regulations, and criteria adopted pursuant to ss. 267.11-267.14. Such determination will be made by the division and notification to the institution given within a period of 15 days from the time of receipt of the prior notification by the division.
(3) All specimens collected under a permit issued by the division or under the procedures adopted for accredited institutions shall belong to the state with the title thereto vested in the division for the purpose of administration and protection. The division may arrange for the disposition of the specimens so collected by accredited state institutions at those institutions and for the temporary or permanent loan of such specimens at permit-holding institutions for the purpose of further scientific study, interpretive displays, and curatorial responsibilities.
History.–s. 1, ch. 73-166; s. 56, ch. 86-163.
267.13 Prohibited practices; penalties.
(a) Any person who by means other than excavation either conducts archaeological field investigations on, or removes or attempts to remove, or defaces, destroys, or otherwise alters any archaeological site or specimen located upon, any land owned or controlled by the state or within the boundaries of a designated state archaeological landmark or landmark zone, except in the course of activities pursued under the authority of a permit or under procedures relating to accredited institutions granted by the division, commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083, and, in addition, shall forfeit to the state all specimens, objects, and materials collected, together with all photographs and records relating to such material.
(b) Any person who by means of excavation either conducts archaeological field investigations on, or removes or attempts to remove, or defaces, destroys, or otherwise alters any archaeological site or specimen located upon, any land owned or controlled by the state or within the boundaries of a designated state archaeological landmark or landmark zone, except in the course of activities pursued under the authority of a permit or under procedures relating to accredited institutions granted by the division, commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084, and any vehicle or equipment of any person used in connection with the violation is subject to forfeiture to the state if it is determined by any court of law that the vehicle or equipment was involved in the violation. Such person shall forfeit to the state all specimens, objects, and materials collected or excavated, together with all photographs and records relating to such material. The court may also order the defendant to make restitution to the state for the archaeological or commercial value and cost of restoration and repair as defined in subsection (4).
(c) Any person who offers for sale or exchange any object with knowledge that it has previously been collected or excavated in violation of any of the terms of ss. 267.11-267.14, or who procures, counsels, solicits, or employs any other person to violate any prohibition contained in ss. 267.11-267.14 or to sell, purchase, exchange, transport, receive, or offer to sell, purchase, or exchange any archaeological resource excavated or removed from any land owned or controlled by the state or within the boundaries of a designated state archaeological landmark or landmark zone, except with the express consent of the division, commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084, and any vehicle or equipment of any person used in connection with the violation is subject to forfeiture to the state if it is determined by any court of law that such vehicle or equipment was involved in the violation. All specimens, objects, and material collected or excavated, together with all photographs and records relating to such material, shall be forfeited to the state. The court may also order the defendant to make restitution to the state for the archaeological or commercial value and cost of restoration and repair as defined in subsection (4).
(a) The division may institute an administrative proceeding to impose an administrative fine of not more than $500 a day on any person or business organization that, without written permission of the division, explores for, salvages, or excavates treasure trove, artifacts, sunken or abandoned ships, or other objects having historical or archaeological value located on state-owned or state-controlled lands, including state sovereignty submerged lands.
(b) The division shall institute an administrative proceeding by serving written notice of a violation by certified mail upon the alleged violator. The notice shall specify the law or rule allegedly violated and the facts upon which the allegation is based. The notice shall also specify the amount of the administrative fine sought by the division. The fine shall not become due until after service of notice and an administrative hearing. However, the alleged violator shall have 20 days from service of notice to request an administrative hearing. Failure to respond within that time shall constitute a waiver, and the fine shall become due without a hearing.
(c) The division may enter its judgment for the amount of the administrative penalty imposed in a court of competent jurisdiction, pursuant to s. 120.69. The judgment may be enforced as any other judgment.
(d) The division may apply to a court of competent jurisdiction for injunctive relief against any person or business organization that explores for, salvages, or excavates treasure trove, artifacts, sunken or abandoned ships, or other objects having historical or archaeological value located on state-owned or state-controlled land, including state sovereignty submerged land, without the written permission of the division.
(3) Any person who:
(a) Reproduces, retouches, reworks, or forges any archaeological or historical object originating from an archaeological site as designated by ss. 267.11-267.14 and deriving its principal value from its antiquity or makes any such object, whether a copy or not; or
(b) Falsely labels, describes, identifies, or offers for sale or exchange any object with intent to represent the same to be an original and genuine archaeological or historical specimen, commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
(4) DETERMINATION OF ARCHAEOLOGICAL OR COMMERCIAL VALUE AND COST OF RESTORATION AND REPAIR.–
(a) Archaeological value.–For purposes of this section, the archaeological value of any archaeological resource involved in a violation of the prohibitions in ss. 267.11-267.14 or conditions of a permit issued pursuant to ss. 267.11-267.14 shall be the value of the data associated with the archaeological resource. This value shall be appraised in terms of the costs of the retrieval of the scientific information which would have been obtainable prior to the violation. These costs may include, but need not be limited to, the cost of preparing a research design, conducting field work, carrying out laboratory analysis, and preparing reports as would be necessary to realize the information potential.
(b) Commercial value.–For purposes of this section, the commercial value of any archaeological resource involved in a violation of the prohibitions in ss. 267.11-267.14 or conditions of a permit issued pursuant to ss. 267.11-267.14 shall be its fair market value. Where the violation has resulted in damage to the archaeological resource, the fair market value should be determined using the condition of the archaeological resource prior to the violation, to the extent that its prior condition can be ascertained.
(c) Cost of restoration and repair.–For purposes of this section, the cost of restoration and repair of archaeological resources damaged as a result of a violation of prohibitions or conditions pursuant to this section shall be the sum of the costs already incurred for emergency restoration or repair work, plus those costs projected to be necessary to complete restoration and repair, which may include, but need not be limited to, the costs of the following:
1. Reconstruction of the archaeological resource.
2. Stabilization of the archaeological resource.
3. Ground contour reconstruction and surface stabilization.
4. Research necessary to carry out reconstruction or stabilization.
5. Physical barriers or other protective devices, necessitated by the disturbance of the archaeological resource, to protect it from further disturbance.
6. Examination and analysis of the archaeological resource, including recording remaining archaeological information, where necessitated by disturbance, in order to salvage remaining values which cannot be otherwise conserved.
7. Reinterment of human remains in accordance with religious custom and state, local, or tribal law, where appropriate, as determined by the land manager.
8. Preparation of reports relating to any of the activities described in this paragraph.
History.–s. 1, ch. 73-166; s. 9, ch. 81-173; s. 1, ch. 93-114; s. 15, ch. 2001-199.
267.14 Legislative intent.
It is hereby declared to be the public policy of the state to preserve archaeological sites and objects of antiquity for the public benefit and to limit exploration, excavation, and collection of such matters to qualified persons and educational institutions possessing the requisite skills and purpose to add to the general store of knowledge concerning history, archaeology, and anthropology. It is further declared to be the public policy of the state that field investigation activities on privately owned lands should be discouraged except in accordance with both the provisions and spirit of ss. 267.11-267.14; and persons having knowledge of the location of archaeological sites are encouraged to communicate such information to the division.
History.–s. 1, ch. 73-166; s. 57, ch. 86-163; s. 16, ch. 2001-199.
872.05 Unmarked human burials
(1) LEGISLATIVE INTENT.–It is the intent of the Legislature that all human burials and human skeletal remains be accorded equal treatment and respect based upon common human dignity without reference to ethnic origin, cultural background, or religious affiliation. This section applies to all human burials, human skeletal remains, and associated burial artifacts not otherwise protected under chapter 497 or other state law and found upon or within any public or private land in the state, including submerged lands.
(2) DEFINITIONS.–As used in this section:
(a) “Archaeologist” means a person who is registered by the Society of Professional Archaeologists with an emphasis in field research or who, in the judgment of the State Archaeologist, meets the training and experience requirements necessary for such registration.
(b) “District medical examiner” means a person appointed under s. 406.06, s. 406.15, or s. 406.17.
(c) “Division” means the Division of Historical Resources of the Department of State.
(d) “Human skeletal analyst” means a person who possesses a postgraduate degree in human skeletal biology, human forensic osteology, or other related area of physical anthropology and who has a minimum of 1 year of laboratory experience in human skeletal analysis and reconstruction.
(e) “State Archaeologist” means the person employed by the division pursuant to s. 267.031(6).
(f) “Unmarked human burial” means any human skeletal remains or associated burial artifacts or any location, including any burial mound or earthen or shell monument, where human skeletal remains or associated burial artifacts are discovered or believed to exist on the basis of archaeological or historical evidence, excluding any burial marked or previously marked by a tomb, monument, gravestone, or other structure or thing placed or designed as a memorial of the dead.
(a) Any person who knows or has reason to know that an unmarked human burial is being unlawfully disturbed, destroyed, defaced, mutilated, removed, excavated, or exposed shall immediately notify the local law enforcement agency with jurisdiction in the area where the unmarked human burial is located.
(b) Any law enforcement agency that finds evidence that an unmarked human burial has been unlawfully disturbed shall notify the district medical examiner pursuant to subsection (4).
(4) DISCOVERY OF AN UNMARKED HUMAN BURIAL OTHER THAN DURING AN ARCHAEOLOGICAL EXCAVATION.–When an unmarked human burial is discovered other than during an archaeological excavation authorized by the state or an educational institution, all activity that may disturb the unmarked human burial shall cease immediately, and the district medical examiner shall be notified. Such activity shall not resume unless specifically authorized by the district medical examiner or the State Archaeologist.
(a) If the district medical examiner finds that the unmarked human burial may be involved in a legal investigation or represents the burial of an individual who has been dead less than 75 years, the district medical examiner shall assume jurisdiction over and responsibility for such unmarked human burial, and no other provisions of this section shall apply. The district medical examiner shall have 30 days after notification of the unmarked human burial to determine if he or she shall maintain jurisdiction or refer the matter to the State Archaeologist.
(b) If the district medical examiner finds that the unmarked human burial is not involved in a legal investigation and represents the burial of an individual who has been dead 75 years or more, he or she shall notify the State Archaeologist, and the division may assume jurisdiction over and responsibility for the unmarked human burial pursuant to subsection (6).
(c) When the division assumes jurisdiction over an unmarked human burial, the State Archaeologist shall consult a human skeletal analyst who shall report within 15 days as to the cultural and biological characteristics of the human skeletal remains and where such burial or remains should be held prior to a final disposition.
(5) DISCOVERY OF AN UNMARKED HUMAN BURIAL DURING AN ARCHAEOLOGICAL EXCAVATION.–
(a) When an unmarked human burial is discovered as a result of an archaeological excavation and the archaeologist finds that the unmarked human burial represents the burial of an individual who has been dead less than 75 years, the archaeologist shall notify the district medical examiner, and all activity that may disturb the unmarked human burial shall cease until the district medical examiner authorizes work to resume.
(b) If such unmarked human burial represents the burial of an individual who has been dead 75 years or more, archaeological activities may not resume until the State Archaeologist has been notified of the unmarked human burial.
(c) Within 15 days after the discovery of an unmarked human burial, the archaeologist conducting the excavation shall report to the State Archaeologist his or her opinion regarding the cultural and biological characteristics of the unmarked human burial and where human skeletal remains and associated burial artifacts should be held prior to a final disposition. The division may assume jurisdiction over and responsibility for the unmarked human burial pursuant to subsection (6).
(6) JURISDICTION; DUTIES OF THE STATE ARCHAEOLOGIST.–The division may assume jurisdiction over and responsibility for an unmarked human burial in order to initiate efforts for the proper protection of the burial and the human skeletal remains and associated burial artifacts. Whenever the division assumes jurisdiction over and responsibility for an unmarked human burial, the State Archaeologist shall:
(a) Determine whether the unmarked human burial is historically, archaeologically, or scientifically significant. If the burial is deemed significant, reinterment may not occur until the remains have been examined by a human skeletal analyst designated by the State Archaeologist.
(b) Make reasonable efforts to identify and locate persons who can establish direct kinship, tribal, community, or ethnic relationships with the individual or individuals whose remains constitute the unmarked human burial. If possible, the State Archaeologist shall consult with the closest related family member or recognized community leaders, if a community or ethnic relationship is established, in determining the proper disposition of the remains found in the unmarked human burial.
(c) If he or she is unable to establish a kinship, tribal, community, or ethnic relationship with the unmarked human burial, determine the proper disposition of the burial and consult with persons with relevant experience, including:
1. A human skeletal analyst.
2. Two Native American members of current state tribes recommended by the Governor’s Council on Indian Affairs, Inc., if the remains are those of a Native American.
3. Two representatives of related community or ethnic groups if the remains are not those of a Native American.
4. An individual who has special knowledge or experience regarding the particular type of the unmarked human burial.
If the State Archaeologist finds that an unmarked human burial is historically, archaeologically, or scientifically significant and if the parties with whom he or she is required under this subsection to consult agree, the human skeletal remains and the associated burial artifacts thereof shall belong to the state with title thereto vested in the division.
(7) REPORT REQUIRED.–The archaeologist and human skeletal analyst involved in the archaeological excavation and scientific analysis of an unmarked human burial shall submit a written report of archaeological and scientific findings as well as a summary of such findings, in terms that may be understood by laypersons, to the State Archaeologist within 2 years after completion of an excavation. The division shall publish the summary within 1 year after its receipt and shall make such report available upon request.
(8) PUBLIC DISPLAY.–
(a) Associated burial artifacts may be made available on loan by the division for educational purposes to institutions that have demonstrated an ability to provide safe, proper, and respectful care.
(b) The division shall develop guidelines and adopt rules regarding the public display of human remains. Such guidelines and rules shall not restrict legal, medical, or educational use of human skeletal remains, or the display of human skeletal remains in a manner not objectionable to groups with a kinship, tribal, community, or ethnic relationship to the individual whose remains are displayed.
(9) EXCAVATION NOT REQUIRED.–This section does not require excavation of an unmarked human burial unless circumstances require excavation to prevent destruction of the human skeletal remains.
(10) VIOLATION AND PENALTIES.–
(a) Any person who willfully and knowingly disturbs, destroys, removes, vandalizes, or damages an unmarked human burial is guilty of a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
(b) Any person who has knowledge that an unmarked human burial is being disturbed, vandalized, or damaged and fails to notify the local law enforcement agency with jurisdiction in the area where the unmarked human burial is located is guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
(c) This subsection shall not apply to any person acting under the direction or authority of the division or to any person otherwise authorized by law to disturb, destroy, or remove an unmarked human burial.
(11) RULES.–The Department of State may prescribe by rule procedures for reporting an unmarked human burial and for determining jurisdiction over the burial.
History.–s. 1, ch. 87-154; s. 219, ch. 91-224; s. 2, ch. 93-114; s. 1410, ch. 97-102; s. 11, ch. 2001-75; s. 21, ch. 2001-199.
Appendix V: DEED OF GIFT To the University of Florida Foundation, Inc.
On behalf of The Florida Museum of Natural History, University of Florida
Policy Revised: 29 November 2022.
Policy Revised: 30 April 2007.
Florida Statutes information updated: 6 February 2003.