The San Diego Natural History Museum’s mission is to interpret the natural world of southern California and the peninsula of Baja California. The Museum is permanently removing 12 fossils from our collection (called deaccessioning) that are unrelated to our mission.
Following American Alliance of Museums (AAM) guidelines, with whom we are accredited, and our own collections policy, the funds from the deaccession will be used only for the acquisition of scientifically important fossils from our region as well as gems and minerals from southern California and Baja California. These will be strong additions to our collection while enhancing our mission.
As part of this thorough and multi-year process, we approached other museums we felt would be interested in the fossils, but no institutions expressed interest to acquire these specimens for their collections. Once the fossils were listed for auction, we received interest from an institution on a particular specimen, at which point we removed the specimen from the auction, and it is now being added to that institution’s collection.
The deaccession was fully vetted through a process involving several steps, including review of our internal collections and deaccessioning policies, input from the American Alliance of Museums, and approval from the SDNHM Board of Directors.
While these fossils have historical significance in that they were collected by Charles Sternberg, and it is our hope that they remain in the public trust, it is our opinion that they do not add significantly to the evolutionary and scientific history of these groups of organisms.
The sale of these fossils is scheduled for public auction on November 19, 2013.