The DMA considers direct care of its collection to be any investment or expenditure that enhances the life, usefulness, or quality of its collection objects. Investments or expenditures that ensure the longevity of the Museum's collection and thereby ensure that the objects will continue to be available to and benefit the public for many years to come are considered direct care of the collection.
Direct care of the collection may include any of the following:
- Direct costs of daily care, research, and conservation: supplies; equipment; salary and benefits for staff (who may include curators, registrars, conservators, and preparators); cost of contract conservator when necessary; and costs for shipping to/from contract conservator’s lab or between DMA and off-site storage for examination or storage.
- Direct costs of deaccessioning: The DMA recognizes that deaccessions are a necessary part of Collection Care. Costs related to a deaccession project such as curatorial and registrarial salaries and benefits; additional temporary staffing (for instance, for purposes of object research and project management); expenditures involved with inspection of objects at off-site storage facilities; and with shipping and crating are considered necessary expenses for the direct care of the collection.
- Direct costs of storage: The DMA has eight storage vaults on its premises and also stores works off-site at a fine arts climate-controlled warehouse. Off-site storage holds large-size works and installations, which cannot fit safely in the vaults.
Approximately 80–90% of the DMA's collection is in storage at any given time; this is not uncommon for museums with vast collections. As museum collections continue to grow, lack of storage space is a common problem faced by most large institutions. In addition, contemporary works tend to be large and to require a large storage footprint. Off-site storage is necessary to keep the collection safe if an institution cannot increase storage space in its building. The DMA considers the cost of off-site storage a necessary expense to ensure the longevity of its collection.
The DMA will periodically assess its storage vaults in order to determine if housing for any objects needs to be improved. The costs related to housing improvements are also considered direct care of the collection.
Procedure for determining uses of funds
Any use of funds for direct care of the collection will first be recommended by the Museum’s Director to the DMA Committee on Collections. If the committee approves the proposed expenditure, its recommendation will be submitted to the DMA Board of Trustees for final approval.