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Subject: Ethics


From: Jane E. Klinger <jklinger>
Date: Monday, July 6, 1998
In response to Barbara Appelbaum's question of whether the AAM Code
of Ethics requires that institutions honor the codes of the
professionals employed there, I read the AAM booklet entitled
"Museum Ethics."  This was first published in 1978.  The closest it
comes to mentioning the codes of ethics of professional
organizations can be found in the chapter three, entitled "The
Staff".  In the first section, "General Deportment" it says,
"Employment by a museum, whether privately or governmentally
supported, is a public trust involving great responsibility.  In all
activities museum employees must act with integrity and in
accordance with the most stringent ethical principles as well as the
highest standards of objectivity."

In the same chapter under the section "Outside Employment and
Consulting"  it says, "Certain types of outside employment,
including self-employment and paid consulting activities, can be of
benefit to both the institution and the employee by stimulating
personal professional development."

While the first quote does not specifically refer to the codes of
ethics of the various museum professional organizations, one could
read a strong support for those codes into the statement.  The
second quote does not relate directly to professional research and
dialogue, but can form a basis for an argument in favor of those

At this point I am going to claim ignorance on two fronts. The first
is that I do not know if I have the latest edition of the AAM
publication (the one I have is dated 1981) nor do I know if the AAM
Committee on Ethics is still extant and working on an updated or
more detailed version. The 1978 revision was produced 53 years after
the previous code was published, so I do not suspect they are in any
hurry to produce a newer one.

                  Conservation DistList Instance 12:9
                  Distributed: Thursday, July 9, 1998
                        Message Id: cdl-12-9-007
Received on Monday, 6 July, 1998

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