• To acquire, retain, and manage collections for the uses they serve in scientific research, education, and exhibition, and to preserve the collections for such uses for future generations;


  • To require its staff to act responsibly, ethically, and legally in acquiring, accepting, labeling, and disposing of any specimen;


  • To discourage by all practical means unethical, illegal, and destructive practices with respect to collecting, transporting, and trafficking in natural science specimens;


  • To rely upon the competence and the judgment of its curators, or other experts acceptable to them,regarding matters concerning the relevance and scientific usefulness of objects in the collections, and of specimens proposed for acquisition or disposition;


  • To observe strictly the mandatory provisions that may be attached to gifts and bequests it accepts and to make reasonable efforts to follow the conditions to the extent required by prevailing law and advised by competent legal counsel.


Therefore, the following procedures shall be observed by and shall guide Museum staff, paid or volunteer, in acting in the official capacities, unless and until modified or rescinded by the Board of Trustees;


A. Conditions for accepting objects for the collections

         Objects should not be accepted or otherwise acquired for the Museumsí collections unless the following conditions are met: The objects are relevant to and consistent with the purposes and activities of the Museum subject to approval of the Executive Committee Board upon recommendation of its Curators. The Museum can provide for the storage, protection, and preservation of the objects under conditions that insure their availability for Museum purposes and in keeping with professionally accepted standards.

         It is intended that the objects shall remain in the collections as long as they retain their physical integrity, their authenticity, and their relevance for the purposes of the Museum.

         The Museumís permanent collections shall be kept in the Museum. Objects loaned shall be done so with permission from the Executive Board and be properly documented, both when loaned and returned.


B. Ethics of accepting objects

  • The Museum shall not knowingly and willfully accept or acquire any object that was illegally imported into the United States or that was collected or recovered under circumstances that would support or encourage irresponsible damage to or destruction of biota collecting sites, cultural monuments, human burial places or endangered species. However, the Museum may accept objects that have been confiscated and offered to the Museum by government authorities.
  • Curators in a position to accept or acquire specimens for the collections shall be reasonably assured that the Museum can acquire valid and legal title to them.When considering gifts or purchases, the circumstances of the transaction, the reputation of the seller or donor, and the available knowledge of the objectís provenance should leave no doubts that valid and legal title can be transferred to or obtained by the Museum.
  • Curators may consult as necessary with their colleagues. In doubtful cases, Curators should request the counsel of the Executive Board who may then request legal counsel.
  • Museum workers shall not, in their official capacity, give appraisals for the purpose of establishing the tax-deductible value of gifts offered to the Museum. Identification and authentication may be given for professional or educational purposes and complying with the legitimate requests of professional or governmental bodies or agents and estimates of value may be provided for information purposes only.


C. Acquisition of objects

  • Title to all objects acquired for the collections should be obtained free and clear, without restrictions as to use or future disposition. Where restrictions are attached to an acquisition, every effort should be made to place a 5 year limit on the time for which they shall apply and to define the conditions under which their force may terminate. Such restrictions as may apply to an acquisition must be adequately documented and should be retained as part of the records pertaining to the object.
  • A legal instrument of conveyance, setting forth an adequate description of the objects involved and the precise conditions of transfer should accompany all gifts and purchases and should be kept on file at the Museum. In the case of sales and conditional gifts, this document should be signed by the seller or donor, and by an authorized Museum officer or curator.
  • In no event, shall a Curator accept for the Museum any gift or bequest involving the acquisition of an object or an aggregation of objects whose monetary value might reasonably be expected to exceed $1,000 without receiving the express approval of the Executive Board.
  • Should evidence be presented to the Museum that any object in its possession was acquired, in violation of the principles of the Museum, the Museum will conduct an investigation into the circumstances. If justified by the results of the investigation, the Museum will return the object to its rightful or legal owner, to the extent that it is legally possible and practical to do so.
  • Disposition of material owned by the Museum of a non-curatorial nature will be determined by the Executive Board.


D. Documentation of acquisitions

  • All objects acquired for the collections should be cataloged and documented in the Museumís records to standards that are normal to the pertinent scientific discipline. These records shall include, where appropriate, the evidence that has been gathered to establish the appropriateness of the acquisition.
  • Catalogs and other records of the museum shall document the removal of objects from the collections and the conditions of their disposal. This shall be the responsibility of the departmental curators. On the Curatorís recommendation to the Executive Board, major disposition of material owned by the Museum requires no further authorization by the Board of Trustees. If the Executive Board cannot reach a decision, the matter may be brought to the Board of Trustees.
  • Objects which are being identified or evaluated must also be documented when acquired, removed and returned.



The president with approval of the Board of Trustees shall appoint Curators. Curators are 1) Malacology and Marine Science, 2) Rocks and Minerals, 3) Paleontology and Fossils, 4) Wildlife, and 5) Archeology. Other curator positions may be added with the approval of the Executive Board. Appointment of Curators shall be for an indefinite period of time until the Curator resigns or is removed. The Board of Trustees shall have the authority to remove a curator.

Curators shall be responsible, within their area of expertise for

         correctly identifying Museum specimens

         numbering and describing specimens for cataloging the assets of the Museum in the curatorsí particular field in a scientific manner

         acquiring specimens to upgrade the Museum collection

         preparing specimens

         labeling and maintaining labeling of specimens on display

         overseeing the disposition of specimens (as to display, study, trade, etc.)

         approving of any audio or visual information in the curatorís area

         directing assistant curators or staff members in the curatorís area

         planning for improvement of displays

         preparing study kits for use by school and civic organizations

         reviewing periodically the material in the study kits

         developing displays

         submitting a list of needs and projected cost for the coming year to the Treasurer to facilitate budget preparation

         making an emergency preparedness plan outlining a hierarchy of needs for protection -protection of exhibits, collections/items in storage, materials/equipment in preparation rooms. This plan includes method of preparing collections in their area in case of any emergency or disaster and method of implementing the emergency preparedness plan. A timetable for revision and updating of the plan is to be included. The plan is to be submitted in writing to the Board and filed with emergency preparation documents.

         No case or display is to be opened without approval from the curator or a member of the Executive Board. Board members should try to contact curator before giving this permission.



A.      Officers will be elected annually from nominations from the floor at the first trustee meeting of the year. Elected officers will consist of president, first vice-president, second vice president, secretary, assistant secretary, treasurer and assistant treasurer. All officers are required to man the reception desk 8 hours per year. Contact Volunteer coordinator to schedule times or training.

B.       President is the spokesperson for the Museum and is also responsible for presiding at quarterly trustees meetings, monthly executive board meetings and public programs; appointing chairpersons of Museum committees, manning the reception desk 8 hours per year

C.       Vice-president is responsible for presiding at Museum meetings and Museum functions in the absence of the president, attending monthly executive board meetings; performing other duties as assigned by president; manning the reception desk at least eight hours per year

D.      Secretary is responsible for attending and keeping accurate minutes of all Museum meetings, maintaining and storing the official records of museum activities, finances and membership using an archival method; notifying trustees and members of upcoming meetings in a timely fashion as proscribed in the by-laws; sorting mail; manning the reception desk at least 8 hours per year

E.       Assistant Secretary is, as assigned by Secretary, responsible for attending and taking accurate minutes of all trustee and executive board meetings and making them available to the secretary for archiving and/or dissemination to the officers, trustees and membership; performing other duties as assigned by president or secretary; manning the reception desk at least 8 hours per year

F.       Treasurer is responsible for documenting the financial records of the Museum, providing documentation to the secretary for archiving; making payment to museum creditors and any contributions or honoraria authorized by the trustees; submitting tax reports to the appropriate reporting agencies; presenting current financial reports at meetings of the executive board and trustees; attending monthly executive board meetings; manning the reception desk at least 8 hours per year

G.       Assistant Treasurer is responsible for maintaining the cash drawers for daily operations making periodic deposits and reporting the sources of income to the treasurer; maintaining an adequate on-site cash supply to cover exigencies and providing a stocked cash box for use in off-site functions of the museum; attending monthly executive board meetings; manning the reception desk for 8 hours per year

H.      Trustees are responsible for attending all trustee meetings, performing all duties specified in the constitution and by-laws, electing executive board, serving on committees, manning the reception desk 8 hours per year.




Museum Committees will consist of a chairperson appointed by the president at the beginning of each year. The chairperson will be responsible for staffing the committee unless otherwise specified in this document. Committees will serve for one year. Other committees may be appointed by the president. Committee chair will be provided a copy of the Policy and Procedures document.

A. Scholarship Committee: The Raymond Walley Memorial Scholarship Fund, administered by Brazosport College, was established in honor of Raymond Walley, a respected amateur archaeologist and a founder of the museum.

1.        Each year the scholarship committee selects a student from a Brazoria County High School to receive the $250 scholarship.

2.       Applications are made using the standard scholarship form available from the high school counselors.

3.       In the event that the winner is unable to use the scholarship, it will be awarded to the alternate designated by the committee.

B. Education Committee is responsible for educational programs, activities and services of the museum. The duties of the education committee are

1.        To plan educational programs, activities and services

2.       To present programs to the Executive Board for approval.

3.       To schedule events with the museum and Center staffs, notifying Center staff of set up for the event, arrange for audio-visual equipment, coordinate with the publicity committee chairperson to publicize events

4.       To provide information to persons and/or groups requesting educational programming from the museum and provide programming or arrange to have programming provided

5.       To work with area educational institutions to arrange tours

6.       To keep the museum up to date on needs of educational institutions

7.       To coordinate with curators to develop and maintain materials in the areas specific to the museum (such as Malacology, Archeology) to be available to educators

8.       To maintain and keep dynamic the Childrenís Area of the museum

9.       To coordinate with volunteer chairperson to keep docents knowledgeable about educational opportunities offered by or within the museum

C. Hospitality Committee

Duties of the hospitality committee are

1.        To plan social events for the museum

2.       To schedule events and event set up with museum and center staffs

3.       To provide refreshments and manpower for events at the museum

4.       To coordinate with the secretary and/or publicity chair to issue invitations to museum members to events involving the membership

5.       To coordinate with the publicity committee chairperson if publicity is needed

6.       To provide manpower for social events

7.       To provide decorations

8.       To clean up after the event.

9.       Maintain an inventory of supplies in hostess closet and replace items as needed

D. Awards Committee

Duties of the awards committee

1.        To provide awards specified in this document

2.       To keep records of volunteer hours in coordination with Volunteer chairperson

3.       To keep records of accumulative totals for each volunteer

4.       To keep records of years served by volunteers

5.       To consult with Secretary and Treasurer for donor and memorial awards

E. Finance Committee

Members will be appointed by the president

Duties of the finance committee are

1.        To obtain funding for the museum in accordance with Museum and Center requirements

2.       To work with the Treasurer to prepare funding requests and reports

F. Publicity Committee

Duties of the publicity committee are

1.        To publicize by submitting in advance upcoming events of the Museum to local media sources

2.       To provide media coverage for Museum sponsored events

3.       To prepare an annual report for the membership

4.       To maintain current museum calendar

5.       To submit advance schedule information for the bi-monthly BFAC newsletters

6.       To maintain a current events display in the exterior window closest to driveway

7.       To represent the museum on BFAC public relations committee

8.       To send invitations for functions if requested by committee chairpersons with 2 weeks advance notice

G. Historian

Duties of the historian

1.        To photograph events of the Museum

2.       To maintain a permanent archival record of Museum activities in the Museum scrapbook, a collection of published articles and photographs that record the yearly activities of the Museum

H. Building Maintenance Committee

Duties of the building maintenance committee

1.        To be responsible for museum maintenance by maintaining a list of necessary repairs to the museum facility

2.       To implement repairs or contract the repairs with the Center staff

3.       To inventory Museum equipment and furnishings

4.       To coordinate new construction and renovation

I. Membership Committee

Duties of the membership committee

1.        To keep records of all new memberships and life memberships

2.       To retrieve memberships from Center office when contacted

3.       To send memberships cards and thank you letters to members as provided by secretary

4.       To update electronic membership files and index cards in museum office of current and expired members

5.       To provide mailing labels when requested

6.       To report memberships to Board of Trustees when requested

J. Museum Tour Committee

Duties of the tour committee

1.        To schedule requested tours

2.       To place tour on calendar

3.       To confirm tour with requesting group

4.       To notify Volunteer coordinator of needs for staffing

5.       To report visitor/tour numbers to Trustees

K. Volunteer Committee

Duties of the volunteer facilitating committee

1.        Recruit volunteers to staff front desk

2.       Schedule volunteers to keep museum doors open

3.       Review background check for new volunteers

4.       Coordinate with educational chairperson and museum tour committee to have staff available for tours

5.       Keep a current list of desk staff

6.       Assign adult volunteer to supervise youth volunteers under 18 years of age

7.       Provide for volunteers to have a temporary name tag and a jacket or vest to be worn on duty.

8.       Maintain the volunteer handbook

9.       Train volunteers in

a)      Routine assignments such as welcoming visitors, serving as guides for tours, selling and stocking merchandise for the Museum store, answering the telephone, taking messages, recording in the daily record book and ledger and keeping watch of the Museum.

b)      Use of the volunteer handbook for explanation of procedures and routine assignments of the Museum.

c)      Completion of their volunteer time cards.

d)      Dressing in a manner presentable to the public

L. Store Committee

1.        Maintain store stock, order items as needed

2.       Inventory store stock as of January 1

3.       Package items for sale

4.       Price items for sale

5.       Maintain packing materials such as bags, tissue paper

6.       Maintain records of purchases made for store

M. Acquisition committee

Duties of the acquisition committee

1.        Maintain index of items acquired and de-acquisitioned by the museum

2.       Maintain inventory of items loaned by museum and check in items upon return to museum

3.       File loan out, return, release forms

4.       Ensure that donation forms are correctly filled out and signed and filed

5.       Report acquisitions and de-acquisitions to treasurer

N. By-law committee

Duties of the by-law committee

Members appointed by the president

         Annually review museum by-laws

O. Theater committee

†† Duties of the theater committee

         Provide volunteer to be in the museum before and during intermission of theatrical events, volunteer receives two ticket to performance

P. Library committee

         Processes new acquisitions to the library

         Organizes acquisitions according to Dewey Decimal System


The affiliate groups of the museum are Sea Shell Searchers of Brazoria County, Brazosport Archaeological Society and Birders and Naturalists.

1.        The museum will provide a meeting place for the organization.

2.       If member groups use hospitality or office supplies, the member group will reimburse the museum $75 a year.

3.       All activities of the organization should be consistent with the goals of the museum.

4.       A membership list and list of officers (with addresses and telephone numbers) are to be given to the museum by the first of October each year.

5.       A written schedule of monthly meetings and all other activities is to be given to the museum president by the first of October. Set up for the meeting can be arranged by Center staff if given one week in advance.

6.       A report of the groupís activities is made to the Board of Trustees at the quarterly meeting.

7.       No live specimens are allowed except when being used for educational demonstrations or scientific research. These specimens must be caged or contained, except during the presentation. Live dangerous specimens are not allowed without prior approval of the Executive Board.

8.       The affiliate group may not use the museumís resources to further its own purposes.


1.        The types of membership for the museum are: Individual, Family, Patron, Benefactor, Sustaining, Life, and Honorary Life

2.       The number of voting members per membership, except for individual, is the number of immediate family members, qualifying as voting members according to the by-laws, who live at the address.

3.       No member may cast more than one vote due to dual membership.

4.       Members receive 10% discount on items over $5 purchased from museum store



1.        A name badge will be awarded for 200 hours or one year of continuous service

2.       Charms will be awarded for additional 100 hours

3.       A plaque will be given for 5 years of service

4.       A volunteerís name will be added to the Service Plaque for 500 hours of service

5.       Names of Major Donors (persons who have donated money or items valued $500 or more) will be placed on the Donor Plaque

6.       The name of each person for whom a memorial gift is made will be placed on the Memorial Plaque

7.       Nominations for names to be added to the Service Wall should be given to the Executive Board for approval.



1.        Member organizations, Sea Shell Searchers; Brazosport Archaeological Society; Brazosport Birders and Naturalists; Nature Center and Planetarium; Brazosport Art League; Center Stages and the Center business office, may purchase from the regular store supplies at a 10% discount.

2.       Items from the reserved collections, those not priced for store sales, are sold at book or relevant value with permission from the appropriate curator and the Executive Board.

3.       Special orders of merchandise made by the store for member organization or others will be valued at cost plus 10%.

4.       Direct gifts, up to $50, to any person or organization are to be approved by a curator or committee chairperson. Gifts exceeding $50 are to be approved by the Executive Board after a recommendation from a curator or committee member. (Recipients may include guest speakers, foreign visitors or representatives of other museums.) Gifts are to be reported to the Executive Board.

5.       Special requests for contributions such as the Sea Shell Searchers auctions or Brazoria County Fair are to be approved by the Executive Board.



1.        Flowers to be sent to volunteers for long term hospitalization or funeral at the discretion of the president

2.       Get well and sympathy cards to be sent to volunteers



1.        Disbursements over $1500.00 are to be approved by the Executive Committee before payment by the Treasurer or other authorized officers.

2.       All checks are to be signed by two officers from the following: President, First Vice President, Treasurer or Assistant Treasurer.

3.       Entry to Safe Deposit Box requires signatures of two officers designated above.

4.       Proof of purchase, such as original invoice, sales slip or cash register slip must accompany request for payment or reimbursement from the Treasurer. This document is needed for the Museum files.

5.       Requests for reimbursements must be submitted to the Treasurer within six months from the date of purchase.

6.       The Treasurer shall maintain such checking and savings account as are necessary for the orderly transaction of Museum business.

7.       Procedure for payment of expenses incurred in the operation of the Museum:

a)      All purchases must be authorized by a Museum officer, curator, or committee chairperson.

b)      Signed receipts for purchases are to be placed in the Treasurerís box.

c)      Receipts shall show:

1)       Amount of purchase

2)      Purpose of purchase. Be specific as to which area or project

3)      Name of person making purchase

4)      Name of person authorizing purchase if different than [c] above

d)      Only authorized persons may charge purchases to the Museum accounts

e)      The Museum is tax-exempt and does not pay sales tax on purchases




1.        Housekeeping: it is the responsibility of all workers to clean up after completion of the job or the end of the work session. Areas under construction should be left presentable until work is completed.

2.       Telephones: personal calls should be kept brief. Long distance calls made for the museum should be recorded and given to the Treasurer. Calls made on home phones can be reimbursed.

3.       Mail: the museum address is not for personal correspondence. Mail addressed to a specific officer or individual is placed in that personís box. If a letter appears important, the individual is to be called and informed about the letter.

4.       Use of museum equipment is limited to museum members only

5.       Liability insurance: The Brazosport Fine Arts Council liability coverage is the liability insurance for the museum.

6.       An emergency preparedness plan to be developed and kept on file in the museum







Approved by the Board of Trustees, October 14, 1980




October 17, 1985

November 19, 1986

October 13, 1987

March 15, 1988

July 24, 1989

January 9, 1990

January 14, 1992

January 12, 1993

April 20, 1993

July 20, 1999

October 19, 1999

January 8, 2006