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U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary - Public Affairs - History Program

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Collections Management Policy of the 
Virtual Museum of the Coast Guard Auxiliary

Download PDF copy of VMCGA Collection Policy 


The purpose of the Virtual Museum of the Coast Guard Auxiliary (VMCGA) is to create a virtual institution in the form of a National Museum honoring the history and members of the Coast Guard Auxiliary through the interpretation and presentation of said history via static as well as audio-visual displays based in a vibrant, interactive digital-learning environment. This will be accomplished by developing a robust digital repository of digitized Auxiliary artifacts including awards, mementos, photographs and uniforms as well as audio-visual records of members' experiences in their own words. 

In addition to the VMCGA, a digitally formatted archive would be available via a password-protected site to scholars, researchers and Auxiliarists interested in the vibrant history, people, faces and events that define the Coast Guard Auxiliary. By working in cooperation with the Public Affairs Directorate and History Division staff, the Special Collections Department of the Joyner Library at Eastern Carolina University, academia and the United States Coast Guard, and by reaching out to Auxiliarists across the country as well as the Coast Guard’s various museums, it is the hope that within five years’ time, a quality digital collection covering the history of the Auxiliary and its members would be available for research.



The Vision of the VMCGA is to share the stories, history, and artifacts of the Coast Guard Auxiliary through a digital medium accessible to Auxiliarists, members of the Coast Guard at large and the general public.



The Mission of the VMCGA is to serve as the digital focal point of institutional history, sharing the stories and impact of the Coast Guard Auxiliary while establishing a digital archive to identify, select, acquire, and make accessible images of artifacts and records related to the heritage of the Coast Guard Auxiliary.



In the spirit of the Scope of Collection of the United States Coast Guard (USCG) Curatorial Services Program (CSP), the VMCGA’s Scope of Collections contained within this document will guide the VMCGA’s mission and vision to collect and preserve the history of the Coast Guard Auxiliary by setting criteria for items that are appropriate for inclusion within the museum’s permanent collection either for display or as part of the digital archive. Furthermore, it will provide an outline for supporting documents correlating with the CSP’s standards for inclusion in the USCG Coast Guard Heritage Collection. The Scope of Collection document also will determine the guidelines for periodical review of the collection’s items for refinement of organizational “best practices.”

The VMCGA is aware of the challenge to thoroughly and completely secure the essence and true historical significance of the Coast Guard Auxiliary. For this reason, the VMCGA acquisition efforts will comprise of a judicial approach. Specifically, the collection will initially focus on noteworthy persons, places, items, and events that illustrates the history of the Coast Guard Auxiliary.   

In accordance with the CSP’s own standards, items selected for inclusion in the collection should in most cases be significant to the Coast Guard Auxiliary. A Collections Committee, to be comprised of at least the VMCGA Curator/BA-AHMC, Branch Chief, Museums, and the Division Chief, History, shall focus efforts on judicious selection of materials with a complete provenance as well as related to noteworthy persons, places, facilities and events that illustrate the history of the Coast Guard Auxiliary. 

The identified goals of the VMCGA will be consistent with those of the CSP for continuity of approach, which will aid in efforts to properly maintain and groom our collection in a manner similar to the Coast Guard Heritage Asset Collection:

  • Establish and maintain an effective set of guidance documents (Scope of Collections, Collections Management Policy, Standard Operating Procedures, and Exhibit and Loan policies) and establish a five-to-ten-year review process.
  • Work with available scholars and the CSP to ensure significance of items accessioned into the Collection are within established, well-defined parameters.
  • Identify initial broad collection needs and specific gaps based on planned interpretive themes and continued historical and material culture research.
  • Establish the collection in a manner that reflects professional museum-industry standards and processes.
  • To inform and foster a sense of ownership of Auxiliary history among members of the Coast Guard Auxiliary.



Because of the unique history of the Auxiliary and in consideration of the number of predecessor agencies wherein the organization’s parent entity existed, the VMCGA’s collection will strive to reflect the historical, cultural, scientific, and social themes from both a modern and historical context by including the following general categories: 

  1. Maritime and aeronautical equipment/gear: small boats, search and rescue equipment, Lyle guns, lanterns, bells, and name boards. 
  2. Aids to Navigation: sextants, azimuth circles, binnacles, radio and other communications gear.
  3. Uniforms: Service and dress uniforms, flight suits, head gear and accoutrements. 
  4. Heraldry: flags, plaques, medals, badges, and patches. 
  5. Cultural and Material History: Personal items/gear, jewelry, awards/plaques, decorative arts, architectural features, significant diplomatic gifts that denote the international reach of the Coast Guard Auxiliary, and other unique ephemera.
  6. Models: Relevant, Auxiliary-related maritime and aeronautical examples, as well as unique training aids and mock-ups.
  7. Artwork/graphic depictions: wartime-related art, maritime-themed paintings, folk art, drawings, sculpture, posters and training aids.


Artifact Collections Note

The VMCGA will only collect artifacts as digitally formatted copies in keeping with the digital/online presence. All incorporated records will seek to provide the most complete picture of the Auxiliary from photographic stills that capture significant events, individuals and day-to-day missions; to audio-video for the preservation of sight, sound and movement; and finally, high-resolution copies of documents integral in representing the Auxiliary’s policies & procedures, and the  impact that its men & women have on their communities and nation. 



The VMCGA shall have implemented a policy to guide the accepting, collecting and deaccessioning of those items which make up our collection. This allows the VMCGA to vet, and collect digitized items while understanding that it is not possible to accept everything that might contribute to the VMCGA’s collection.


Artifact Collection Criteria

Quality of Archived Records

Items that make up the VMCGA’s collection will be high-definition, digital facsimiles and will only be accepted for accession if released to the VMCGA for unrestricted, online display.

Ownership & Removal

No items will be accepted for inclusion in the Collection unless the contributor has clear and valid ownership of the item in question, being able to fully release said item for unrestricted display use by the VMCGA. At any time, the donor of items in the collection may request an item’s removal from the collection with the clear understanding that, once removed, those items will not be reaccepted at any point in the future.

The VMCGA will not permit, at any time during their ownership of digital records, the marketing and/or sale of collection items. 

Intake, Storage, and Preservation

While any item consistent with the above general guidelines may be accepted for appraisal, only those items deemed fitting and appropriate to the vision and mission of the institution by the Collections Committee of the VMCGA or the Archivist of the VMCGA Digital Archives will be processed for inclusion, accession, and preservation following initial appraisal. Once an item is selected for inclusion and accessioned into the collection, it will be permanently preserved unless removed by the donor or deaccessioned due to digital space limitations of the collection at some future date.        


Deaccessioning shall be restricted for the time when the VMCGA digital storage capabilities become limited with no way of being broadened. Items deaccessioned at that time will be those items which have received less traffic, those which are more obscure in nature and those with less historical significance.


Collection Appraisal Criteria

As a digital institution, the VMCGA consists solely of digital copies of artifact images, original significant documents, recordings, photographs of individuals or historic events, videos, certificates, etc. As such, only those items that can be effectively stored, accessed and finally made available via a digital interface (website) will be accepted for appraisal.

Historical Significance 

The VMCGA strives to include within its collection those items whose historical significance best exemplifies the VMCGA vision of immortalizing the history and impact of the Coast Guard Auxiliary. 

Documentary Heritage

All records contained within the VMCGA collection will represent the most complete documentary heritage available of the Coast Guard Auxiliary.

Quality of Record

Items deemed appropriate for inclusion in the VMCGA collection are ideally high-definition facsimiles contained in a modern medium of digital storage.

Donated Status

Only those items freely donated to the VMCGA without any expectation of financial compensation on the part of the institution will be considered for inclusion in the collection.

Scope of Collection

The Scope of Collections shall guide the general areas of focus of the items selected for inclusion in the Archives.