Valuable/Vulnerable Materials Policy


This policy establishes a process by which archival documents, fine arts objects, and other collection items or Rockefeller Archive Center (RAC) property are identified as Valuable/Vulnerable on a master list of such materials. The resulting Valuable/Vulnerable List will be used to secure, monitor, and track the items through an annual inventory designed to prevent loss or theft. The Valuable/Vulnerable List also enables the RAC to implement additional security measures to protect the materials and to allocate resources for additional preservation or conservation measures to maintain the integrity of the items listed.


For the purposes of this policy, the term “Valuable/Vulnerable” applies to an item or group of items known or presumed to be of high intrinsic, historical, or monetary value or of such size, format, or uniqueness as to have an increased risk of loss through misplacement or theft, thus requiring additional security and preservation measures above and beyond standard RAC procedures and practices.

Valuable/Vulnerable List

  • The Valuable/Vulnerable List will be maintained by the Collections Management team and will include all information necessary to identify and locate the item listed, including physical description, measurements, provenance, and storage location.
  • The initial Valuable/Vulnerable List will be developed by the Collections Management team and approved by the Director of Archives and the RAC’s President.
  • Any member of the RAC staff may propose additions to the Valuable/Vulnerable List.
  • Additions or removals from the Valuable/Vulnerable List require the approval of the Director of Archives and the RAC’s President, and any such additions or removals must be documented in order to maintain the integrity of the list.
  • Materials on the Valuable/Vulnerable list will be included in the RAC’s Disaster Plan for the purposes of removal and salvage of holdings in an emergency. The Disaster Plan will be updated as revisions to the Valuable/Vulnerable List are made.
  • The full master Valuable/Vulnerable list will contain sensitive information about the items listed, including description, location, and, in some cases, estimated value. All safeguards should be taken to secure the master list, such as storing it in a secure environment with password protection, implementing notifications, and limiting access to authorized persons. Excerpts from the list may be produced to facilitate the inventory process, to indicate priorities for salvage in the RAC Disaster Plan, and for other legitimate purposes, but the full list should not be made widely accessible.

Annual Valuable/Vulnerable Inventory

  • To ensure the safety and security of the RAC’s Valuable/Vulnerable materials and the prompt identification and reporting of any loss, a full inventory of the items listed on the Valuable/Vulnerable List will be undertaken once per year during the month of March.
  • A team of two RAC staff members will perform the annual Valuable/Vulnerable inventory. The team will always include one member of the Collections Management team who will lead the inventory, plus an additional RAC staff member from another archival team or program area, such as Research and Education, Administration, Operations, and Information Technology, who volunteers for the inventory with the approval of their supervisor.
  • To safeguard the integrity of the inventory process, participation in the inventory team will rotate in the following manner: no individual staff member from the Collections Management team should participate more than once every three years; no individual staff member from outside the Collections Management team should participate more than once every five years.
  • Using the configuration described in this policy, the inventory team will be proposed by the Head of Collections Management and approved by the Director of Archives each year prior to the start of the inventory process.
  • Listed items that are determined to be in the incorrect location or that cannot be located during the inventory must immediately be brought to the attention of the Head of Collections Management and the Director of Archives. If a subsequent search for a missing or misplaced item fails to locate the item, the matter will be immediately reported by the Director of Archives to the RAC’s President for further action and investigation.
  • At the conclusion of the annual inventory, the inventory team should complete and sign a Valuable/Vulnerable Inventory Certificate affixed to a paper copy of the current Inventory List. The completed Certificate confirms that all material on the list has been located and that the information related to each item is accurate. The Certificate also can be used to note any anomalies discovered during the inventory process. The Certificate should then be reviewed and signed by the Head of Collections Management, the Director of Archives, and the RAC’s President.
  • All completed Valuable/Vulnerable Inventory Certificates will be filed and maintained in accordance with the RAC’s Records Retention Schedule.

Special Notes

  • The special handling procedures and protocols articulated in the Procedures for the Access and Handling of Chagall Artworks and the Textiles Policies and Procedures policy documents should be followed when inventorying such materials.
  • Established key control procedures must be followed at all times during the course of the inventory process.