Date of Award

Summer 8-22-2022

Degree Type


Degree Name

MA Museum Professions


Communication and the Arts


Gregory Stevens, M.A.T.


Renee Robinson, Ph.D.

Committee Member

McKenna Schray, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Ruth Tsuria, Ph.D.


deaccessioning, proceeds, collections, code of ethics, standards, best practices, public trust


At the beginning of the pandemic, museums were forced to close, resulting in significant losses in earned revenue. To address budgetary shortfalls across the museum field, the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD) temporarily relaxed their deaccessioning guidelines to allow museums to sell works of art from their collections and use proceeds to support the direct care of collections. This project utilized a qualitative multi-site case study and textual analysis to examine deaccession decisions of four art museums in the United States that deaccessioned works of art during the pandemic. Textual data was collected from online newspaper articles, press releases, auction house lot information, and collections and deaccession policies on the case museums’ websites. Findings demonstrated that museums were taking advantage of the new relaxed guidelines, while also following pre-pandemic best practices for deaccessioning. Recommendations for the museum field are discussed within the conclusion with particular emphasis on transparency and accountability to the public trust.