For more than twenty years, accounting standards from the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) have been out of alignment with both the AAM Code of Ethics and AASLH’s Statement of Professional Standards and Ethics with regard to the use of proceeds from the sale of deaccessioned collections. FASB is now proposing a change to its definition of “collection” that would fix the discrepancy.

AASLH has responded with a letter stating its support of the proposed change as has AAM. AASLH members and history organizations nationwide are encouraged to also submit comments by August 10 on this important change.

The proposed change to the FASB master glossary would alter the conditions upon which the word “collections” is defined by allowing proceeds from deaccessioning to be used for direct care of collections. Here is the FASB definition with the proposed change:


Works of art, historical treasures, or similar assets that meet all of the following criteria:

  1. They are held for public exhibition, education, or research in furtherance of public service rather than financial gain.
  2. They are protected, kept unencumbered, cared for, and preserved.
  3. They are subject to an organizational policy that requires the proceeds of items that are sold to be limited to direct care of existing collections or the acquisition of other items for collections.

Comments will be accepted until August 10, 2018 and may be made by:

  1. Using the electronic feedback form available on the FASB website at Exposure Documents Open for Comment
  2. Emailing comments to [email protected], File Reference No. 2018-250
  3. Sending a letter to: Technical Director, File Reference No. 2018-250, FASB, 401 Merritt 7, PO Box 5116, Norwalk, CT 06856-5116.