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  • Unique.
  • Authentic.
  • Emotive.

Collections Policy

The mission of the National Vietnam Veterans Museum is to remember, interpret and relate the experience of the veterans of the Vietnam War and the enduring impact of the war on society.

To be the premier museum for the Vietnam War era.
• The National Vietnam Veterans Museum will achieve its Mission and Vision by becoming Museums Australia (Victoria) Accredited by February, 2018.
• It will demonstrate Museum leadership in the quality and significance of its collection, conservation programs, public programs including exhibitions, events and commemorations, research, scholarship and education.
• It will honour and enhance the relationship between the Museum and the Vietnam Veteran community through recognition of their service, and the special place of Veterans as founders of the Museum.

The document will be used as the basis for the development and management of our Museums entire collection.

Key Themes and Timeframes:
The National Vietnam Veterans Museum rigorously encompasses a thematic framework centered on the experiences of the Australian Vietnam War Veterans augmented by
the experiences of other participants involved in the war that interacted with Australian Vietnam War Veterans to provide a personal, multi-dimensional and holistic experience.

The key themes are the Vietnam Veteran experiences in Vietnam broken down into the major phases of Australian involvement on the ground (Army, Navy and Air Force) over the period 1962 – 1975. Central to our Museum is the experience of Vietnam Veterans;
• The experience of those that Australian Veteran fought against;
• The experiences of Australian Veterans family and friends;
• The experiences of those involved in the peace movement and
• The experiences of allies the Australian Veterans fought alongside.

Geographic area/region.
The collection covers items which are specifically Australian on the whole but determined by their use in Australia and in Vietnam.
Areas and regions include; Vietnam and bordering Countries comprising Cambodia, Laos and Thailand. Allied Countries including United States of America, New Zealand, South Korea and the Philippines.
Physical items to be collected.
The overriding principle is that only items with a tangible and validated connection with Australians and the Vietnam War will be collected.
Personal memorabilia such as letters, souvenirs, images, film, personal equipment which is unique or significant.
War related artefacts including maps, orders, diaries, memoirs etc.
Film – 8mm, 16mm, video, VHS and cassette tapes...
Documents, letters and books.
Dioramas and models.
Uniforms, national dress and hats.
Aircraft both fixed wing and helicopters.
Vehicles both tracked and wheeled.
Artillery pieces.
Personal weapons etc.
Oral testimonies.

Our displayed collection is accessible to any visitor. Research access is possible by appointment. Our Collection will be available on-line.


Acquisition of objects for the permanent collection.
Our Museum shall acquire objects for the permanent collection by donation, bequest, purchase or transfer.

The Museum, as a general principle, does not accept items as conditional donations.

Our Museum maintains a formal Collections Acquisition Committee comprising the Museum’s General Manager, Curator, Librarian and Collections Coordinator. The Committee has adopted formal Terms of Reference herein attached. The Committee meets bi-monthly and minutes of those meetings are retained. Conservation of our Collection is a high priority and will be addressed by our Museum’s Conservation Plan.

Criteria guide for the collection of Museum objects.
The Museum will consider the following criteria before approving acquisition of an object:

• Relevance.
The Museum only collects objects that relate to the Museum’s purpose and key collecting areas.

• Significance.
Priority is given to objects which are significant for their historic, aesthetic, research, cultural or social/spiritual value. Note: Items of significance to remembrance and commemoration will be given equal consideration to objects for the collection per se.

• Provenance and documentation.
Priority will be given to objects where the history of the object is known and associated documentation and support material can be provided.

• Condition, intactness and integrity.
The condition of the object will be taken into consideration when acquiring material. The Museum reserves the right to decline acceptance of any item or object.

• Interpretive potential.
Objects that tell a story that adds to the interpretation of the Museum themes will be prioritized.

• Rarity.
Objects may be prioritized if they are rare examples of a particular kind of object.

• Representativeness.
Objects may be prioritized if they are an excellent representative example of a particular kind of object.

• Aboriginal artefacts.
Our Museum does not currently retain any aboriginal artefacts nor is it our intent to do so.

• Prohibited Weapons.
Our Museum has in its Collection a number of “Prohibited Weapons”. We are in receipt of an “Exemption of Museum” under Section 184(1)” of the Firearms Act 1996. Any acquisition or deaccession of a “Prohibited Weapon” will be notified to the Victorian Police.
• Firearms.
Our Museum has in its Collection a number of firearms. We are in receipt of an “Exemption of Museum” under Section 184(1)” of the Firearms Act 1996. Any acquisition or deaccession of a firearm will be notified to the Victorian Police.

• Shipwreck material.
Our Museum does not retain any shipwreck material nor has an intent to do so


• Managing object documentation.
The Museum aims at all times to maintain an effective documentation system. Donor Forms, Receipts, Museum Registers and catalogue information will be kept at the Museum.

• Guidelines for acquiring and processing collection material.
The Museum will follow the guidelines below when acquiring material.

1. Owner or agent brings an item/s to the Museum. Museum Staff ask the owner or agent to complete the “Receipt – Assessment Form” and advise that the Museum may or may not keep the item after it has been assessed for inclusion into the collection. The owner/agent is advised that if a decision is made not to keep the item the owner/agent is to be advised that the Museum reserves the right to return the item to the owner/agent or dispose of the item/s in any way it sees fit. The owner/agent is advised that any item accepted by the Museum for its collection becomes the property of the Museum.

2. If items are received in the mail or an image of the object is received, Museum staff will communicate to the owner/agent the conditions by which the Museum will keep or dispose of the item/s received. A “Receipt – Assessment Form” is sent to the registered owner/agent.

3. The Receipt Assessment Form records that the Museum is holding the object and does not mean or imply the object has been accepted as part of the permanent collection.

4. Notes on the history and associations of the item will be taken for the Collections Acquisition Committee to consider when assessing the object.

5. The Collections Acquisition Committee meets to assess the donation for inclusion in our Museum’s collection. The Committee’s decision is detailed and documented.

6. Following assessment a letter of receipt is issued to the owner/agent recording the object name, address of the owner and contact number, date and decision as to whether the item/s are accepted into the collection. If the item/s are to be added into the collection, the same information is written on a tag and attached to the item/s. if the decision is made not to retain the item/s, a communication is to be sent to the owner/agent seeking advice as to whether the item/s are to be returned or otherwise disposed of. If no advice is received within ninety (90) days, the Museum can dispose of the item/s in any way it sees fit.

7. Notes on the history and associations of the item/s are to be completed by the owner/agent on the Schedule of Goods and Property to be used by the Museum for item/s assessment.

8. The item/s must be registered, numbered and catalogued. Where documentation relating to the significance of the object is available, an object file will be kept.

9. The Accession Register is completed with all relevant details including the item/s number and donor name retained.

Our Museum has adopted a formal Conservation Plan.
• The Museum aims to achieve high standards of collection, care and storage.
• Storage areas must remain clean, secure and sealed against the weather.
• Temperature and relative humidity should be kept as stable as possible.
• Access to storage areas is to be controlled.
• Ultra-violet light should be excluded from storage areas for all significant material.
• Storage areas must be regularly checked for pests and other problems.
• Objects are not to be stored on the floor.
• Untrained personnel should never attempt to clean, treat or restore museum objects.
• A routine program of pest eradication will be maintained.

Our Museum endeavors to store items in accordance with Museum best practice and procedure.

Specialist advice may be required from time to time, e.g., with fragile or textile items, and advice can be obtained in the first instance from University of Melbourne Heritage Conservation Centre or other appropriate institutions.



• The administrative process of removing an item from the collection allows an object to be de-accessioned from the Museum’s collection if:
• It does not comply with the current collection policy of the Museum.
• It is damaged beyond repair.
• The conservation and storage costs for it are beyond the means of the Museum.
• It is of a lesser quality duplicate of an object the Museum already owns.
• It lacks any supporting information to enable proper identification or to establish its relevance to the collection.
• A substantiated written request for the return of the object to its original owner/donor is received.

The object identified for removal from our collection must come before the Collections Acquisition Committee for consideration with close reference to the criteria stated above. A formal disposal policy and procedure exists.

• The object identified for de-accession must be held for a twelve month “cooling off” period before it is finally disposed of.
• Staff, volunteers, Board Members and their families are prohibited from purchasing or otherwise obtaining a de-accessioned object.
• Any funds acquired from the sale of the deaccessioned item should be used for acquisitions or care of the collection.

Our Museum has adopted a formal disposal policy and procedure.
The correct process to remove an object from the collection is, in priority order, the object must be:
1. Returned to the donor or family. If after a thorough search this is impossible, the object should be:
2. Transferred to another appropriate institution
3. Sold by public auction – where appropriate.
4. Used as an educative/interpretive tool.
5. Destroyed or recycled if appropriate.

The following is an excerpt from the National Vietnam Veterans Museum’s Constitution.
68. Surplus assets not to be distributed to members.
68.1. If the company is wound up, any surplus assets must not be distributed to a member or a former member of the company, unless that member or former member is a charity described in Clause 69.1.
69. Distribution of surplus assets.
69.1. Subject to the Corporations Act and any other applicable Act, and any court order, any surplus assets (including ‘gift funds’ defined in clause 69.4) that remain after the company is wound up must be distributed to one or more charities:
(a) with charitable purpose(s) similar to, or inclusive of, the purpose(s) in clause 6.
(b) which also prohibit the distribution of any surplus assets to its members to at least the same extent as the company, and
(c) that is or are deductible gift recipients within the meaning of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 (Cth)
69.2. The decision as to the charity or charities to be given the surplus assets must be made by a special resolution of members at or before the time of winding up. If the members do not make this decision, the company may apply to the Supreme Court to make that decision.
69.3. If the company’s deductible gift recipient endorsement is revoked (whether or not the company is to be wound up), any surplus gift funds must be transferred to one or more charities that meet the requirements of 69.1 (a), (b) and (c), as decided by the directors.
69.4. For the purposes of this clause:
(a) ‘gift funds’ means:
(i) gifts of money or property for the principal purpose of the company
(ii) contributions made in relation to a fund-raising event held for the principal purpose of the company, and
(iii) money received by the company because of such gifts and contributions.
(b) ‘contributions’ and ‘fund-raising event’ have the same meaning as in Division 30 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 (Cth)
69.5. Subject to the Act any court order made under section 133 of the Act, in the event of the Association being wound up the collection shall be dealt with as follows:-
• Any item that has been loaned shall be returned to the lender.
• Any item that has been released as a loan shall be returned to the company.
• Any surplus collection items assets remaining shall be transferred to another organisation with similar objectives to which income tax deductable gifts can be made.
• Any other associated items such as records, files equipment and electronic data shall be given or transferred to a similar institution.


Types of loans entered into and conditions under which material or an object is lent and borrowed.

• The Museum will lend and borrow material and objects to help meet its purpose.
• The Museum holds separate forms for inward and outward loans.

Managing inward (incoming) loans.

An inward loan form should include the period of the loan and conditions of the loan.

• Inward loans should only be accepted for specific exhibitions or research and for fixed periods of time.
• Inward loans shall be recorded in a separate Loan Register.
• A representative from both the Museum and the lender will be required to sign an agreed loan inward form/letter. Each party will retain a copy of this form/letter. The form/letter will record conditions of the loan and the period of the loan.
• The Museum agrees to exercise the same care with respect to loans as it does for its own collection.
• Loans shall remain in the possession of the Museum for the time specified on the form/letter.
• The Museum can request to renew loans if required. Documentation recording renewal must be signed by a Museum Officer and the lender.

Managing outward (outgoing) loans.

• The Museum will lend objects to other Museums and organizations holding collections/displays. The Museum will not lend to private collectors.
• Borrowers and a representative from the Museum will be required to sign two (2) outward loan agreement forms/letters. Each party will retain a copy. The form/letter will record the condition of the loan and the period of the loan.
• The borrower must exercise care in the handling, storage and display of the loaned object and must be prepared to meet the conditions outlined in the outward loan agreement form/letter.
• The borrower will provide a secure display and/or storage area.
• The preferred maximum loan period is twelve (12) months unless otherwise agreed in writing by the Museum General Manager. Applications for extension of the designated loan period must be made prior to the initial loan expiry date.
• Objects cannot be treated or altered in any way without the written permission of the Museum.
• Loans will remain in the possession of the borrower until returned to the Museum.

Conditions applying to the collection of oral histories.

The Museum collects oral histories.
• An oral history agreement/letter is signed by the person interviewed which clearly states the purpose and intended uses of the interviews and the copyright conditions, if any, may apply.
• The Museum abides by the Guidelines of Ethical Practice of the Oral History Association of Australia found at

Providing access to the collection and collection records to researchers and the general public.

The collection is accessible to the public through regular opening hours and by appointment. Access to collection records and images for research purposes is also available by appointment.
Increasingly, images of selected collection items will be accessible through the Museum web site
This Collections Policy was endorsed by the Board on Wednesday 29th August, 2018.

The Museum will review this Collection Policy every three (3) years. To be reviewed in June 2021.