Principle of respect des fonds (Provenance)
This principle, described in relation to archival collections,
is also applicable to architectural fragment collections, and
the assessment of original context and construction.
The Getty Research Institute defines the respect des fonds
or provenance, noting:
It is the formal expression of the principle that
an archivist must respect, and reflects the origins of the assembled
materials as an integral and organic corpus of documentation.
Respect des fonds/Provenance provides the
cultural context in which the records become intelligible.
It also serves as the basis for authenticating and assuring
the reliability of the contents of the records
of respect des fonds/Provenance in Introduction
to Archival Organization and Description:Access to Cultural
"Contents, fixtures and objects which contribute to the
cultural significance of a place should be retained at that
place. Their removal is unacceptable unless it is: the sole
means of ensuring their security and preservation; on a temporary
basis for treatment or exhibition; for cultural reasons; for
health and safety; or to protect the place. Such contents, fixtures
and objects should be returned where circumstances permit and
it is culturally appropriate."
Article 10, Australia
ICOMOS Burra Charter, 1999, Australia
"While having an artifact in the collection is a good
start, there is so much more that needs to be done to ensure
that museums are not collecting for merely a collections
"All too often there have been occasions when a curator
kept information in his head instead of putting it in writing,
and that information was forever lost when the curator left
his position. Having never created a record that addresses the
ownership or lineage of an artifact results in irreparable loss
of information, if anything should ever happen to the curator.
It also creates work for future curators and researchers, and
may render the worth of an artifact nil if there is no history."
Bailey, Michael. Artifact
information important to help preserve true history. Brazoria
County Historical Museum, Angleton, Texas, Newsletter,