Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science

First Advisor

Rita Kottmeyer

Second Advisor

Patricia Soucy

Third Advisor

Michael Wilcox


The valuation of tangible personal property donated to reduce federal tax liability is an example of one function of the professional appraiser. An equally important task related to charitable contributions involves the appraisal of donated property after it becomes surplus to the needs of the recipient institution.

This study examines controversial exchanges from the Colt Museum Collection at the Connecticut State Library in Hartford between 1977 and 1984, placing them within a broader context to trace the evolution of uniform standards in the museum profession. The central idea recognizes the need for procedural safeguards to guide deaccessioning decisions.

Precipitous decisions involving hundreds of rare firearms valued in the millions of dollars served to undercut the integrity of the Colt Museum Collection, a unique engineering archive of early American firearms technology. Questionable appraisals provided a basis for these exchanges.

Community interests coalesced in the mid-1980s to transcend individual preferences among museum staffers. This development erected reasonable barriers against arbitrary removal of shared material heritage from public collections. These procedures assign qualified appraisers key roles in this management process.

As appraisers increase their interaction with museum professionals in future assignments involving donated properties, proper valuation methods will necessitate a clear understanding of the standards operative within the museum environment.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License